The movement toward green living has prompted the drive for sustainable business practices. After all, we all know that even the biggest brands can only expand as far as the Earth makes it possible.
Our needs, seemingly infinite, have wreaked havoc on our finite world. The recognition of this fact has driven innovative individuals and establishments to develop strategies, tools, materials, and processes meant to reduce the human carbon footprint.
Among the materials developed in our thrust to go greener is sustainable packaging. All businesses, regardless of scale or industry, use or depend on some form of packaging whether to directly or indirectly produce their products or deliver their services. Needless to say, the waste produced is substantial, so the move to sustainable packaging is long overdue.
The good thing is that innovators, inventors, businesses, scientists, and other influencers are tirelessly working on packaging solutions designed to reduce waste and our collective carbon footprint, as well as total environmental impact.
If your company is planning on transitioning to sustainable packaging, you may want to look into the following points first:
1. Sustainable packaging can mean many things
Using sustainable packaging is beneficial for branding purposes. And while there are no clear-cut standards as to what, exactly, constitutes being green in terms of packaging, the following options are generally classified as such:
• Made with renewable materials
• Made with renewable energy
• Made from recycled content
Sustainable packaging is a complex concept, but there is a consensus that for it to be truly sustainable, the entire product lifecycle needs to be monitored and considered.
2. Sustainable packaging requires study and investment
Initially, the transition phase to sustainability may hurt a company, especially if it goes into it grossly unprepared. Some things you will need to prepare for include the following:
• Cost. One of the more obvious issues during a transition would be cost concerns. As businesspeople, we know that the primary thrust of commerce is to maximize profit and reduce production costs. However, your business will need to grapple with the reality that moving toward sustainable packaging will entail investment in new equipment and materials, and perhaps even in consultation services.
• Product safety. The purpose of packaging is primarily to provide cushion and protection for products, aside from facilitating easy transport and storage. However, depending on the products to be handled by your facility, you will need to ensure that product safety and integrity are maintained when you switch from traditional to sustainable packaging. The key here is collaboration – all you need to do is to reach out to packaging innovators and design thinkers who can assist you with their expertise and help you overcome these obstacles.
• Customers may not be willing to pay more. The initial investment required in transitioning to sustainable packaging can be substantial. Part of these costs may be passed on to customers – thereby affecting product or service prices. Some customers will be all for it if they prioritize and support sustainability. Some, of course, may not. You need to prepare for such market responses as well. Marketing plays a huge role here so be sure the transition has a built-in marketing plan.
3. Sustainable packaging is good for business (and the planet)
Now, this is welcome news for all businesses, and we deliberately saved it for last. Sustainable packaging gives companies who adopt it a competitive advantage.
The general recognition and understanding of the state our planet has had consumers (especially millennials) clamoring for products and services that are green.
Adopting sustainable packaging can be the deciding factor for your market. Studies by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) have shown that companies taking an eco-friendly stance experience as much as an 18 percent increase in their ROI over those who don’t. Additionally, companies that invest in green packaging can benefit from shipping and material cost savings as well as a reduction in the waste produced.
There’s no denying the competitive edge your business can gain from a transition to sustainable packaging. More important, however, is the fact that green packaging, coupled with a strong branding strategy, has the power to affect consumer behavior in favor of not only your business but the Earth as well.
But in doing this, you will need to look into the entire product lifecycle and choose the best materials suited to your products. You may need to partner with experts in sustainable packaging as well so you can successfully balance your profit and sustainability objectives.