The key to packaging sustainability? Traceability.

November 1, 2022

Many packaging companies are missing origin information for key materials such as aluminium. Raw material traceability in the packaging industry is a major issue.

According to a recent Sustainable Packaging Center survey1, fewer than 30% of packaging companies possess clear metrics on the materials they use.

Without transparent metrics, setting and achieving sustainability goals such as net-zero carbon emissions becomes nearly impossible.


68% of executives view traceability as very or extremely important.

Source: Source: Global State of Traceability survey featuring 150 supply chain leaders, conducted by Bain & Company

Packaging’s traceability problem

In our first blog covering sustainability in packaging, we explained how consumers are pressuring packaging producers for sustainability credentials.

This pressure isn’t isolated to consumers. Investors and regulators also want sustainability proof across the packaging value chain—from mine to converters to food and beverage manufacturers2.


Legislative efforts are quickly evolving and changing. Concerns over packaging waste, recyclability rates, and carbon footprint will require unprecedented traceability to prove sustainability progress. Soon, you must be able to measure the impact of your entire supply chain and demonstrate how you’re contributing to important initiatives such as decarbonization.

In Europe, recent legislative efforts are placing renewed focus on packaging waste reduction and increased recycled content in packaging. For companies to stay compliant, better raw materials traceability is needed.

Full traceability and collaboration between value chain partners is essential for compliance and assurance. START can help you streamline this data.


Sustainability attracts investors3. They know consumers will pay a premium for sustainably packaged products. Sourcing lightweight, low carbon aluminium for packaging lowers operating costs and reduces CO2 emissions. All help lift profit margins4.

Slow response

Unfortunately, ESG data collection and reporting in packaging is lagging. Why? Because outdated, inefficient methods remain pervasive5.

It’s common for packaging companies to collect this data manually, asking supply chain partners upstream for material provenance data and associated metrics. If this isn’t available, industry averages may be used instead.

Take beverage can manufacturing, for example. Top companies source aluminium can sheet from multiple suppliers because diversification ensures more supply security. That makes it difficult to track provenance information on the aluminium used in their cans, as a percentage may come from a responsible producer and a portion may come from a supplier with a higher environmental impact.

START simplifies traceability, sustainability

START is setting a new traceability and transparency standard to improve sustainability in packaging.

Easier reporting and tracking

START enables you to see material provenance and production data—providing traceable environmental, social, and governance (ESG) insights across our three pillars of Planet, People, and Progress.

On each START sustainability label, you’ll see 14 ESG metrics, including those especially important in packaging, such as CO2 output and recycled aluminium content.

START, built on a digital blockchain model, is designed to help you navigate new regulatory requirements and compliance frameworks. It simplifies supplier data collection and streamlines information exchange between value chain partners.

Smarter decisions

START can help you track material that runs through your processes, giving you a better understanding of the ESG impact your sourced materials carry. Equipped with that insight, your team can make more informed choices, including sourcing sustainable aluminium produced by a responsible partner.

With START’s transparency and traceability, you can measure how ESG friendly your supply chain is, assure stakeholders of sustainability progress, and address future regulatory requirements.

Gain better visibility—join START

When you join the START programme, you gain access to transparent, traceable insights on how aluminium, a key raw material in packaging, is produced responsibly. Eliminate the guesswork of tracking your packaging materials’ ESG impact. Contact us today.

1Sustainability in packaging: Five key levers for significant impact | McKinsey & Company

2Sustainability in packaging: Global regulatory development across 30 countries | McKinsey & Company

3PwC’s 2021 Global investor survey | PwC / 79% of investors surveyed consider ESG risks and opportunities an important factor in investment decision making.

4PwC’s 2021 Global investor survey | PwC / 79% of investors surveyed consider ESG risks and opportunities an important factor in investment decision making.

5What will it take to make sustainability measurable? | Deloitte Insights