Selection of packaging systems in supply chains from a sustainability perspective – the case of Volvo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this article is to develop an evaluation model for the selection of packaging systems in supply chains from a sustainability perspective.

A theoretical evaluation model for comparing cost efficiency and the environmental impact of packaging systems in supply chains are developed from literature. The model is tested in a case study of a supply chain involving Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Logistics Corporation, comparing the use of newly developed, one-way packaging with the sustainability of returnable packaging.

The model compares the environmental and economic impacts of two packaging systems in a specific supply chain. The criteria used in the model are (i) packaging fill rate, (ii) packaging material, (iii) transport, (iv) material handling, (v) waste handling and (vi) administration. In the case study, the one-way packaging resulted in fewer economic and environmental impacts, thereby indicating the importance for companies to question their packaging systems.

The model has been tested on one component in a case study. It provides a comparison of the packaging choices included using comparative, but not absolute, figures for the economic and environmental impacts.

Managers can use the model to compare packaging systems for component supply and determine the most sustainable packaging from environmental and economic perspectives. The case study indicated that the returnable packaging system commonly used in the automotive industry is not always preferable in terms of sustainability.

The article fulfils the need to evaluate the impact of packaging systems on supply chain sustainability in terms of economic and environmental criteria. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Mechanical Engineering


  • automotive, logistics, model, packaging, sustainability
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-310
JournalPackaging Technology & Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch