The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 1693–1704 | Cite as

Life cycle carbon footprint of the packaging and transport of New Zealand kiwifruit

  • Kimberly Robertson
  • Malcolm Garnham
  • Wymond Symes



The aim of this study is to assess the life cycle carbon footprint of the New Zealand kiwifruit packaging and transport supply chain to retailers in two major markets (Japan and Germany). Results of this study have been used to identify areas of the New Zealand kiwifruit packaging and transport supply chain that contribute significantly to the carbon footprint and to identify options for reduction.


This study is based on the ISO standards for life cycle assessment (namely, ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006). The PAS 2050 also provided further methodological guidance. Primary packaging data were sourced from Zespri’s suppliers. End-of-life data were sourced from the market and waste statistics of the relevant countries. Gabi 4.4 was used for upstream material information and modelling.

Results and discussion

The carbon footprint of the packaging and transport of kiwifruit ranged from 0.33 to 0.67 kg CO2e per kilogram of fruit delivered to a store depending on pack type and market. Shipping accounted for the majority of these emissions (58–82 %), and Zespri is actively working with shipping companies to reduce this. There are also opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint through reducing the amount of fruit repacked in the market, using trains for long-distance transport and increasing packaging recycling rates.


There is a range of options for reducing the carbon footprint of the New Zealand kiwifruit packaging and transport supply chain. These will tend to be incremental (i.e. a number of small gains) and would involve working closely with partners in the supply chain. Options include increased efficiency in shipping, use of trains for land transport, reductions in the addition of structural packaging in the market, managing the product mix to minimize those supply chains with a higher carbon footprint, identifying alternative material for components of the packaging, replacing the use of polystyrene clamshells with alternative materials or plastic bags and maximizing recycling rates along all stages of the supply chain.


Carbon footprint Climate change Greenhouse gas emissions Life cycle New Zealand kiwifruit packaging 



This study was funded by Zespri International Ltd. Our thanks go to Alistair Mowat at Zespri for his constructive feedback throughout the project. Glen Arrowsmith and Janet Clendon at Zespri provided us with information on supply chains and packaging specifications. Zespri packaging suppliers and upstream supply chain businesses were great at providing data. We also appreciate the advice received from Babara Nebel and David Drysdale at PE Australasia.


  1. BSI PAS 2050 (2008) Specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services. Downloaded from
  2. DEFRA (2011) Guidelines to Defra/DECC’s GHG conversion factors for company reporting. 50 pgs. Downloaded from
  3. Fitzgerald WB, Howitt OJA, Smith IJ (2011) Greenhouse gas emissions from the international maritime transport of New Zealand’s imports and exports. Energy Policy 39(3):1521–1531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gaudreault C, Vice K (2011) Summary of the literature on the treatment of paper and paper packaging products recycling in life cycle assessment. NCASI Technical Bulletin No. 985, May 2011. Downloaded from
  5. Google Maps (2009) Directions. Accessed at
  6. ISO 14040 (2006) Environmental management—life cycle assessment—principles and frameworkGoogle Scholar
  7. ISO 14044 (2006) Environmental Management—life cycle assessment—Requirements and guidelinesGoogle Scholar
  8. McCallum D (2009) Carbon footprint. Nelson Forests Ltd. pp 25. Downloaded from
  9. McLaren S, Smith A, Mithraratne N, Cleland D, Marquardt M, Frater G, Barber A, Rothman M (2008) Carbon footprinting for the kiwifruit supply chain—report on implementation. ZESPRI Contract ReportGoogle Scholar
  10. Mithraratne N, Barber A, McLaren S (2010) Carbon footprinting for the kiwifruit supply chain. Report on Methodology and Scoping Study Final Report. Downloaded from
  11. Paper Recycling Promotion Centre (2009) Paper recycling in Japan. Downloaded from
  12. Plastic Waste Management Institute, Japan (2011) Plastic products, plastic waste and resource recovery (2009). PWMI Newsletter No. 40, 2011.5. Downloaded from
  13. Portworld (2009) Distance calculator. Accessed at
  14. Sandilands J, Nebel B, Hodgson C, Hall P (2009) Greenhouse gas emissions of the Forestry Sector in New Zealand. Scion, Rotorua, New Zealand, pp 40. Downloaded from
  15. Wild Ing. Yves GmbH (2008) Environmental aspects of the transport of Reefer containers, 3rd Reefer logistics conference. 24–26 June 2008. Antwerp, BelgiumGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly Robertson
    • 1
  • Malcolm Garnham
    • 1
  • Wymond Symes
    • 1
  1. 1.Catalyst LtdChristchurchNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations