A reference model for a sustainable commitment to sustainability in packaging development

Bjorn de Koeijer*, Jos de Lange, Eric Lutters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleAcademicpeer-review

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Packaging is regarded as a major contributor to the environmental impact of products and supply chains. This is largely infused by the role of packaging in the use and post-use stages of a life cycle, which leads to packaging being regarded as superfluous or excessive. Simultaneously, within the current (product-packaging) development landscape, an erosion of the connotation of ‘sustainable development' is discerned, combatting the inherent complexities of product-packaging development. In addition, there is a mismatch between sustainability desires (the strategic level) and materializations of it (the operational level) in industry, and a lack of academic or legislative solutions to this. These issues lead to product-packaging development processes in which sustainability-related considerations are subordinate to other decision-making criteria, and which therefore yield suboptimal solutions. The main contribution of this article is the proposition of a reference model as an instrument aiming at streamlining the integration of sustainability-related considerations in decision-making in product-packaging development. This model aims for the tenable integration of such considerations by recognizing the complexity of sustainable development and multiple levels of sustainability. With this, the reference model simultaneously aims to address key characteristics of packaging development cycles in daily practice and the intertwinement of life cycles of product and packaging in the design and engineering domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-725
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia CIRP
Early online date18 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event30th CIRP Life Cycle Engineering Conference, LCE 2023 - Rutgers Academic Building, New Brunswick, United States
Duration: 15 May 202317 May 2023
Conference number: 30


  • absolute sustainability
  • development team
  • life cycle engineering
  • packaging development
  • reference model
  • sustainable development


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