Moore and Buckle packaging passes first Arctic test

23 Apr 2019


Moore and Buckle are proud to be a St Helens company that manufactures flexible packaging for a global audience – they’re particularly proud of their involvement in securing the future of global agricultural supplies.

Moore and Buckle have been asked to participate in a fascinating project that aims to protect the world’s agricultural supplies in the event of international or global catastrophes.

The Global Crop Diversity trust’s Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic Circle which opened in 2008, stores and protects the seeds of a million different varieties of crops to ensure that global food supplies are not threatened by events such as political instability, climate change or natural disasters.

The vault based in the heart of an arctic mountain on the remote island of Svalbard, Norway. Surrounded by man eating polar bears, the remote island only inhabited 3 months of the year, was the perfect site because of its natural PH storage conditions below ground.

The vault which was constructed by the United Nations which was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, stores seeds from third world countries across the world who do not have their own seed vault. The seeds are stored in heat-sealed, laminated, moisture-proof foil packages that are specially designed by Moore & Buckle.

Stored at a constant temperature of -18ºC, the seed has to remain viable for at least 25 years. After months of trialling, Moore & Buckle developed the right pouch material – four layers laminated together, including heavyweight foil providing a vital moisture barrier.

For obvious reasons, Moore and Buckle call it the Svalbard Laminate and ship the converted pouches to different organisations across the world who fill them and send the seeds to the vault for long term storage.

The project was originally supposed to run over a five year period but with the change of borders and re-naming/creation of new countries, new additions arrive on an annual basis and are still producing small amounts of laminate today.

The technology has been put to the toughest test, as seeds stored for years in Moore and Buckle pouches within the permafrost vault have been successfully retrieved for re-planting by the Crop Trust in Morocco and Lebanon. This is to increase crop diversity in the region and create seed to replenish the stock at Svalbard.

On arrival at their destination, the pouches were opened and the seed was inspected and described as in ‘perfect’ condition. The shipment contained over 38,000 samples with a rich mix of beans, cereals, pulses and chickpeas – crops that are vital for food supply across the Middle East.

Marie Haga from the Crop Trust commented: “It would be preferable if we never had to retrieve seeds from the Seed Vault, as it signifies there is a significant problem elsewhere in the world. However we can now see that the vault is the ultimate failsafe and works as intended.”