WBCSD: SPHERE, The Packaging Sustainability Framework

Environmental sustainability is traditionally looked at through the lens of climate action, driving a siloed approach. However, sustainability is multidimensional and requires looking at the systems in their full complexity.

This framework aims to support decision-makers in breaking out of this tunnel vision to look at the environmental impacts of packaging from a holistic perspective.

In a context where a multitude of discrete methodologies exist to measure the environmental impacts of packaging at different life-cycle stages – production, use and end of life – decision-makers often must make trade-offs. By developing SPHERE, WBCSD has created a material-agnostic framework that provides an overview of these impacts and trade-offs. Packaging designers, product portfolio managers and sustainability managers, among others, can use the framework to guide sustainability packaging design according to their own specific context. The framework centers on the environmental impacts of packaging and delivery systems. It is designed to be future-proof and can easily be adjusted as new methodologies emerge. The design also allows for the addition of the social and economic dimensions of sustainability.

“We were thrilled to take part in the creation of the long-needed reconciliation of LCA [life-cycle analysis] metrics with end-of-life impacts and circularity. This has been a key need from the industry for meaningful decision-making and we hope it will be the giant step we aimed to create.”



EA – Earth Action

Lausanne, Switzerland

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1004 Lausanne Suisse