23 Feb 2016, 9:14 CET

Climate-improving packaging wins innovative student competition

How will we be packaging and buying our food 50 years from now? This is the question BillerudKorsnäs put to students all over the world under the banner of the innovation competition 'Sustainergies Cup'. And the answer? Packaging will become a symbol of environmental improvements and sustainability.

The Sustainergies Cup competition sees students from all parts of the world putting forward innovative ideas intended to solve the problems posed by the participating companies. BillerudKorsnäs challenges conventional packaging, and the students were asked to do the same. They were instructed to investigate megatrends, global challenges and new technology, and to identify other factors in order to describe how food will be bought and packaged in the future. How will this affect consumers, distributors, recycling systems – and the packaging itself? A 50-year time frame was chosen in order to encourage thinking outside the box.

The winning entry came from three engineering students at Uppsala University – Alireza Hosseini Shabestari and Daniel Ismail Eriksson, who are studying Mechanical Engineering, and Anders Larsson, who is taking a Master's degree in Industrial Management and Innovation. In their vision entitled 'The BillerudKorsnäs Way', they lay out a timeline stretching 50 years into the future, with carbon-negative packaging as one of the leading innovations. With their solution, they illustrate how society can close the circuit for food production as the global population approaches ten billion. In addition, they challenge companies to develop their sustainability work from focusing exclusively on minimising negative impact to ensuring that their core business involves generating a positive net impact – with the packaging of the future serving as a symbol of the transition to a truly sustainable society.

Anders Larsson represented the winning team from Uppsala at the awards. With Maija Bigestans, BillerudKorsnäs and Markus Danell, Sustainergies. Photo: Sustainergies

“We are always looking to the future, and are keen to work with others to generate shared inspiration and creative ideas that can help us continue to drive development in the sector – and challenge conventional packaging for a sustainable future. The Sustainergies Cup fits neatly into this context. Competition entries have been submitted from all parts of the world, showing that a great many people share our commitment to these issues. We’ve seen inspiring images of what the world may look like 50 years from now,” says Henrik Essén, Senior Vice President, Communication and Sustainability, at BillerudKorsnäs.

The Sustainergies Cup was held for the sixth time, with other participants including Scania and the Swedish Transport Administration. The BillerudKorsnäs challenge was accepted by students in Albania, Austria, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Tunisia.