Liberty Global is committed to improving the sustainability of our products, at each point in their lifecycle. We use our Product Sustainability Scorecard tool to measure and manage this process. You can read more about the Scorecard here.
One element of product environmental impact which can be overlooked is the packaging. It is a key customer touchpoint and can often be costly from both financial and environmental perspectives.
During the distribution of set top boxes in Belgium, we discovered several ways to improve our existing packaging. Together with Telenet, we decided to start a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Life-cycle Assessment (LCA) for new and existing packaging options. These assessments took into account several factors, including design, material, logistics, labour, storage, and end-of-life possibilities.
After reviewing a number of options, we chose an inner packaging tray made of 100% organic pulp, sourced mostly from waste materials, making it completely recyclable. Due to the highly engineered design, which utilized both the material and the air around it to provide a buffer for the product, the packaging is now almost 40% lighter than its predecessor. This reduction in weight helped us improve resource efficiency, making the packages more efficient to transport as more boxes could fit on a pallet for shipment. Coupled with the use of organic waste in the raw material, the end result was packaging with a reduced environmental impact of over 30%.
From a financial perspective, the TCO assessment highlighted the true cost of packaging across the whole life cycle, allowing us to make decisions that can maintain the customer experience while reducing the cost compared to the previous solution.
The new packaging solution was piloted in four markets, including Ireland and The Netherlands. This more environmentally friendly solution was so successful that the new packaging was rolled out in full. The LCA-TCO assessment is now part of our standard tools for assessing all product packing as it helps to protect our business against the increasing costs of materials and other resources, while also helping us to make the best decisions for the environment.
As a result, in 2016, almost 1.3 million set-top boxes with the new packaging were distributed across 6 markets, with more than 450 tons of unnecessary packaging material avoided, proof that the multi-stakeholder LCA-TCO approach is helping us to cut waste and cost across our operations.