By looking at the resource or origin of packaging material, there are opportunities for reducing the environmental impact. In some cases, it is possible to select a (more) sustainably managed source, as in the case of FSC or PEFC certified wood/paper/carton. For plastic packaging, one could consider a bio-renewable source instead of fossil-based, non-renewable.
Simply changing the provider and or allocation of the resources of the packaging, or the packaging itself can change the environmental impacts drastically due to (i) the composition of the energetic mix of the provider (ii) the distance (energy saving) between the provider and the material or packaging use (ii) the distance (energy saving) between the own resources of the provider and its location of material or packaging production) (iii) the provider's production conditions and/or transformation (cf the case of FSC or PEFC certified wood/paper/carton).
Audit the environmental performance of your providers for their production.
Evaluate the impacts of the step of packaging or material transport from providers to your location.
Assess any shift of environmental impact, e.g. from the manufacturing stage to the usage of pesticides, fertilisers, clean water, etc. (see also the point about Communicating vessels).
Paper, carton & wood from sustainably managed sources - certification via FSC or PEFC
Examples of plastics made of non-standard sources: ethanol-based (sugarcane, corn, etc), starch-based, cellophane (cellulose), fungus, etc
See this tool with overview of manufacturers
‘Prevention’ shall mean the reduction of the quantity and the harmfulness for the environment of - materials and substances contained in packaging and packaging waste, - packaging and packaging waste at the production process level and the marketing, distribution, utilization and elimination stages, in particular by developing ‘clean’ products and technology.