Wine packaging and distribution solutions for the Swedish and Norwegian state-owned alcohol retail monopolies ("Systembolaget" and "Vinmonopolet")

Posted by Richard Felix H...
Bio Intelligence Service S.A.S. -, 20-22 Villa Deshayes - 75014 Paris, France; Tel. +33(0)153901180, Fax. +33(0)156539990
Full LCA available on the web
Publication year: 
Package/Container (not paper specific)
Five different types of wine packages and sixteen in Sweden and Norway commercialized volumes were considered in the study - The reference scenarios include the following 5 products
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Detailed LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
Is the study compliant with ISO 14044?: 
Sponsor name(s): 
Systembolaget (Sweden) - 1/6 of costs
Sponsor name(s): 
Vinmonopolet (Norway) - 1/6 of costs
Sponsor name(s): 
Elopak (package manufacturer) - 1/6 of costs
Sponsor name(s): 
Smurfit Kappa Bag-in-Box/Vitop (package manufacturer) - 1/6 of costs
Sponsor name(s): 
Tetra Pak (package manufacturer) - 1/6 of costs
Sponsor name(s): 
Oenoforos (wine importer) - 1/6 of costs
Sponsor type: 
Sponsor type: 
Public administration
Yannick LE GUERN, Bio Intelligence Service S.A.S.
Clément TOSTIVINT, Bio Intelligence Service S.A.S.
Practitioner(s) type: 
Functional unit: 
Packaging and distribution of 1000 litres of wine
Goal and scope of the summary: 
Goal: The primary goal of the LCA study was to identify and quantify environmental impacts of alternative wine packaging solutions (reference scenario: 75 cl PET bottle, 75 cl Glass bottle, 3 liter Bag in Box; 1,5 liter Stand up Pouch; and 1 liter Beverage carton) sold at the state-managed alcohol monopolies Systembolaget in Sweden and Vinmonopolet in Norway. Other objectives were to understand the drivers determining the life cycle impacts, to identify and investigate potential improvement opportunities for each solution, and to carry out an ISO-compliant comparative assessment of the packaging systems. Scope: The study of the environmental impacts has been carried out using the CML life cycle impact assessment method (Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University, NL). However, some steps of the life cycle were neglected, such as the transport of finished goods between the retail outlet and the consumption place, as well as the consumption of energy to store the finished goods in the outlet or at the consumer’s place. Other important limitations of the study scope were that glues used to stick labels, inks used for advertising on labels and packaging systems were not considered, nor secondary and tertiary packaging systems used to transport raw materials. Finally, the production of the wine has been excluded from this study, same as the bottle formation process from fusion glass. The comparative analysis of the five packaging systems is focused on three impact assessment (Global warming potential; Abiotic depletion; Air acidification) and two life cycle inventory indicators (Water consumption; Primary energy). The data and results are specific to the five packaging systems, to the Nordic market and to the transportation conditions between the winery locations and the packaging locations.

The present work confirms results from previous studies. Most of the environmental impacts are related to the production of the raw materials used in the packaging systems, as well as to some extent distribution and end-of-life. The packaging production phase — even mitigated by the waste management phase — accounts for 50 to 75% of the total impacts.
The most important contributor is primary packaging, but the study also shows that secondary packaging and more specifically cardboard can have a substantial weight on the overall performance of systems, especially for lightweight options. The acidification indicator is particularly impacting on the fabrication stage, volumes that require less material tend to perform better.

The report has determined that Bag-in-Box® has a very low carbon footprint and is the most environmentally-sound/responsible product in all identified major impact categories. Specifically, the results demonstrated that, for the same volume of wine served, Smurfit Kappa’s 3 liter Bag-in-Box® has a carbon footprint 5 times lower than a traditional 75cl glass wine bottle.
As a general rule, when comparing a set of different capacities of the same packaging, larger volumes are associated with smaller environmental impacts (less global warming potential). This rule can however be challenged if a specific format comes with different characteristics (no closure for instance) or if secondary packaging and palletization vary significantly among the different formats.
Wine lost during distribution or because of incomplete consumption by consumers should be taken into consideration when optimizing the environmental performance of the package. For instance, in terms of global warming potential, wine may possibly represent 30 to 80% of the impact of the "wine + package" system.

Material impact(s): 
Abiotic ressources depletion
Toxicity / Eco-toxicity
Raw material impact level: 
Manufacturing impact(s): 
Water consumption
Manufacturing impact level: 
Shipping impact(s): 
Global warming
Shipping impact level: 
End of life impact(s): 
Waste generation
End of life impact level: 

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