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What Makes FedEx Packaging Sustainable?

By FedEx | First published: August 31, 2020    Updated: October 6, 2020

When it comes to future-proofing the planet for generations to come, we’re all responsible for stepping up.

E-commerce just keeps on exploding in Asia Pacific – and it’s triggering a major shift in packaging trends. The e-tail and logistics industries are being shaped by growing consumer demand for eco, biodegradable packaging from sustainable and ethical sources.

Packaging can say a great deal about your company or brand’s attitude to your product - and the environment. Increasingly, it’s a way to show we care. Asia Pacific, especially, has often had a toxic relationship with excess packaging, with China and many South East Asia countries contributing towards a negative impact to the planet’s excess plastic. Luckily, old habits are starting to die out, with China recently committing to bans on single-use packaging. While it’s something that a new wave of online retailers are having to confront only recently, packaging is so central to what we do at FedEx that we’ve been thinking about it for a long time.

Check out how we’re working to create a more sustainable supply chain below…

Recycle and reduce our paper footprint. FedEx-branded packaging is 100% recyclable and composed of 45% recycled content. And the majority of our paper is forest-friendly, certified by sustainable forest programs such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). We’re even investing in more and more ‘treefree’ paper alternatives and incorporating alternative fibres into our product mix.

Experimenting outside the box! We often collaborate with partners who can help us think far more creatively about our offerings – and it’s usually a lot of fun! Check out one of our past projects combining eco-packaging with social responsibility.

Pass on packaging hacks to our customers. We want our customers to ship more efficiently and use the least packaging possible. That’s why we price dimensionally based on volume, allowing us to make the best use of space in our aircraft, vehicles, and distribution centers. For us, it not only improves loading efficiency and reduces our emissions, but also encourages customers to make conscious adjustments that maximize product density and reduce packaging materials. FedEx Packaging Services works with customers to optimize package size and design, which reduces their costs and environmental impacts.

Careful handling means less replacements. By always trying to make sure our customers’ packages are delivered damage-free, there’s less chance of returns and replacements, which come at an environmental cost.

We even have dedicated engineers on the case. (Yes – packaging engineers are a thing at FedEx!) The team assesses existing packaging and recommends more efficient designs. They also work closely with customers to meet their sustainability objectives, whether that means using less polystyrene foam, less film to wrap an item or more recyclable materials.

Naturally, some of our solutions can be used again and again – and again! Cold chain solutions such as Medpak VIoC are designed to be used many times over – with the customer essentially just ‘borrowing’ the transportation facility each time they send temperature-sensitive shipments. Plus, we’re currently testing and developing a container with a reuse lifespan of two years for temperature-sensitive and perishable items like food and wine.

And wave goodbye to extra packaging with online tools! The introduction of our automation tool FedEx Electronic Trade Documents (ETD) means customers can simply upload their international shipment paperwork electronically. FedEx ETD reduces the need to print and sign multiple copies of trade documents, saving time and money and helping you to reduce your environmental footprint.

It's true: we’re working hard to Reduce, Replace and Revolutionize – our sustainability motto. And responsible packaging supports our commitment to at least 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, from Climate Action and Sustainable Cities And Communities to Responsible Consumption And Production. But there’s so much more we can do.

For now, watch this space. And always demand more sustainability from your supply chain provider than you’re currently seeing – we should all be pushed to do better.

Are you a small business looking for tips on eco-friendly packaging? Head here for plenty of advice to get you going!!

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