17th Apr 2020
However, we are also realists. We recognise the challenges that companies face and the time that it will take to change not only government policies, but also people’s beliefs about certain packaging materials and to bring an end to the commoditisation of packaging that’s hampered sustainability.
With these points in mind, we urge companies to be decisive and to take their own action. Here are our suggestions of the next steps that we think can help deliver progress for packaging as part of your business’ environmental strategy.
Think lifecycle, rather than end of life
Scrutinise the lifecycle of your existing packaging products. Take it back to the very beginning and approach the process using insight from your stakeholders, suppliers and customers to design packaging that can deliver performance, sustainability and value back to the business.
Differentiate between pollution and plastic. Plastic can be part of the solution. If plastic is the most appropriate material to ensure your product is protected throughout your supply chain – stick with it. You could make iterations to your design to improve the lifecycle of the item.
Communicate with your customers
Be confident with your customers about your business’ rationale for chosen material types and communicate this at every opportunity. Explain exactly what your company has done to reduce its environmental impact. Don’t be afraid to make changes as new legislation and government policy evolves – doing something is better than doing nothing at all.
Make sure sustainability claims stack up
However you decide to approach your company’s packaging challenges, be mindful of inaccurate sustainability claims. Challenge consumer confusion on what materials are considered ‘good’ and ‘bad’ by providing on-pack information to educate the customer on exactly why your packaging has been designed and manufactured in the way it has. Be clear on the sustainable benefits and shout about every single one of your sustainability wins.
Work together to deliver effective change
Above all, companies want to deliver quality products and services to customers. Any changes must be commercially viable to maintain a successful business. By taking a collective approach with suppliers, and including all departments within your organisation to find ways of improving your packaging’s sustainable credentials, we are confident companies will find solutions that don’t cost the earth.
To read this article in full, along with insight from DHL, Regatta, Flourish CSR and Make UK about what needs to change to improve packaging sustainability, download your free copy of our Future of Packaging report here.