Sustainable paperboard on display in Brussels

The seafood industry has been ramping up its sustainability efforts for years, but while companies are providing certified seafood products, it’s often arriving in non-sustainable packaging.

One company trying to change that is Richmond, Va.-based MeadWestvaco Corp. (MWV). For the past six years, MWV has been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, including a best-in-class ranking in the containers and packaging group since 2006.

“Innovation sustainability is part of our core; it’s not a Johnny-come-lately thing for us. We take it very seriously and want to lead the industry,” Chris Moser, seafood global category manager for MWV, told SeafoodSource at the European Seafood Exposition on Wednesday.

“There’s always been a lot of focus on product and sustainably sourcing the product, and we’re trying to extend that to the whole value chain,” he added. “You can’t tell me how sustainably sourced your product is and then I see it come out in a Styrofoam box or a plastic bag. To me, you’re losing some credibility when you do that.”

The company is showcasing its sustainable paperboard packaging solutions, including its latest innovation, MWare, at the three-day show in Brussels, Belgium.

MWV is a full range of paperboard solutions for primary and secondary frozen and chilled seafood packaging. MWV’s packaging substrates deliver protection, performance and portability throughout a rigorous cold chain while promoting customers’ brands to discerning consumers.

“It’s something we’re getting a lot of attention on as far as sustainability,” said Alan Giangregorio, food packaging business development director. Still in the market-testing phase, the product should reach commercialization within the next six to nine months.

The company is also working on even more sustainable packaging innovations that will completely remove plastic from its products, making them 100 percent recyclable and compostable.

“As far as our sustainability initiative, we’re always at the forefront,” said Giangregorio. “We’re certified as far as how we manage our land and forests — over 1 million acres in the U.S. and Brazil. We’re sustainable from stump to dump.

“Even though we’re harvesting trees, we’re replanting three for every one we cut down. So it’s re-growing, whereas with plastic, once it’s down it’s thrown away,” he added.

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