Barilla and Metsä Board, sustainable paperboard packaging

Barilla and Metsä Board – good for the future

​The collaboration between Barilla and Metsä Board began in 2007. It is no surprise that the companies share interests related to sustainability.

​The Italian food company Barilla says it is "Good for you, Good for the planet" to indicate commitment to the wellbeing of both people and the Earth. The collaboration between Barilla and Metsä Board began in 2007. It is no surprise that the companies share interests related to sustainability.

Barilla is perhaps best known for its pasta and blue brand colour. But there's more to Barilla than meets the eye. Producing pasta, ready-to-use sauces, bakery products and crispbread are Barilla's business, and thus issues such as nutrition are of great importance to Barilla.

Barilla's nutritional guidelines are reviewed regularly by international experts to keep them updated and in sync with international recommendations. For instance from 2010, in total 219 Barilla products have been reformulated with a considerable reduction of the levels of sugar, fat and salt, as well as an increase in fibres and whole grain flours.  The company is also encouraging the inclusion of all people through programmes for access to food, educational projects and the promotion of diversity. For example, one of Barilla's 2020 goals is to improve equality between women and men in leadership positions inside the company.

Sustainability throughout the production chain

The shared interests of Barilla and Metsä Board are most visible in Barilla's actions that promote sustainable production and supply chains. Barilla's new guidelines for the sustainable packaging were published in 2015.  

Barilla's guidelines for sustainable packaging aim at reducing the quantity of material for packaging, using recyclable packaging, using materials originated from responsibly managed forests and validating packaging choices with a careful analysis of their life cycle.  

Metsä Board helps Barilla operate in accordance with these principles by supplying lightweight paperboards that are even over 30% lighter than competing boards – of course without compromising quality, consistency or performance. By reducing the amounts of energy and water needed to produce each tonne of board, Metsä Board minimizes the carbon and water footprints of its products. Barilla has been doing lifecycle assessments since 2004 and has found that, as far as packaging is concerned, the weight is one of the main drivers of the environmental impact of a product. At the end of their life cycle all Metsä Board's products can be recycled.

Wood from responsibly managed forests

But back to the very beginning. Metsä Board uses advanced information systems and digital maps during harvesting, enabling the whole wood chain to be traced back to the tree stump. This aspect is key to guarantee the packaging raw materials full traceability all along the sourcing chain.
Metsä Board supplies its wood from Northern European forests where the annual forest growth exceeds the amount of wood harvested. Future continuity of supply is guaranteed for fresh fibres. For instance in Finland four new seedlings are planted for each harvested tree.

Sustainable forest management is good for the planet – just like Barilla's goal by 2020 to offer only products at the bottom of the environmental pyramid, meaning that their environmental impact is low.

For Barilla and Metsä Board there is only one way of doing business, and it's the way that takes into account the wellbeing of present people and future generations in our planet. So why not eating something that's good for you and the planet – packaged sustainably? If you are buying Barilla's pasta in Europe it is most likely that you are also holding Metsä Board's Simcote in your hands.

Barilla is one the biggest food companies in Europe with 29 production plants and revenue of 3,383 million euros. Its history dates back to 1877 when Pietro Barilla opened a bread and pasta shop in Parma, Italy.

Barilla sustainability report 2016.jpgGood for you, good for the planet: 2016 Report (Barilla’s latest report focusing on sustainability)

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