24th Nov 2021
This weeks preceding with the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference COP26 saw the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) publish a new Green Claims Code. This is designed to help businesses comply with existing laws when communicating sustainability messages to consumers.
Compliance with the code is intended to end misleading environmental claims, signalling the beginning of the end for greenwashing.
Zoe Brimelow, Duo UK Brand Director said on the news “It’s a move that will also encourage businesses to seek out ways of further reducing carbon footprints to ensure they remain a convincing part of the sustainability considerations that influence purchasing.
This news is hugely positive and most welcome. Looking beyond sustainability, publication and enforcement of the code will also provide further benefit for customer service and the sales potential of packaging, which will drive innovation.”
What is the Green Claims Code
In summary, the Green Claims Code is based on six principles that will require companies to ensure their sustainability communications are truthful and accurate, clear and unambiguous, do not hide or omit information, make fair and meaningful comparisons, consider the full life cycle of a product or service, and are fully substantiated.
Compliance with the code will see particular focus placed on statements, symbols, logos, graphics, colours and product brand names used to communicate green credentials. Many of these marketing messages are commonplace on delivery packaging, which creates huge opportunity for mailing bags to become and even more important tool for engaging customers and building brand loyalty.
There are two key points for customer interaction for delivery packaging:
During both of these moments, packaging commands the attention of consumers and has the power to inform them, reassure them and satisfy any desire for further information.
With the code leading to more accurate and reliable green claims, this means that on pack sustainability messaging can strengthen a shopper’s perception of a brand, build loyalty and allay any potential environmental concerns or misconceptions they may have about the packaging material being used. The packaging is essentially acting in a customer service and sales capacity for retailers.
Innovation in packaging aesthetics and design
Although the code creates an opportunity for brands and retailers to utilise packaging to better connect with sustainability-conscious consumers, it won’t be without challenges.
Companies need to strike a balance to ensure shoppers aren’t bombarded with too much information on pack and might have to work harder to stand-out. Better governance of green claims could, inadvertently, lead to some standardisation of messaging, meaning it becomes more difficult to achieve brand differentiation among consumers.
These factors are likely to fuel innovation, and not just in terms of packaging aesthetics. Businesses will look for new ways to clearly communicate green claims and will also ensure that such claims are the DNA of their packaging strategies.
The latter will help inspire renewed consideration of sustainable materials like GreenPE – a sugarcane-based thermoplastic resin that’s completely renewable and recyclable. It will also encourage the rethinking of packaging functionality to maximise environmental performance.
We have already worked closely with customers to find innovative ways of optimising the aesthetic design of packaging to share sustainability messages in compelling ways – such as featuring a QR code on pack, additional glue strips to make it easier for people to return items in original packaging, and integrated handles on the packs.
Innovations of this kind really resonate with consumers, as they can physically see sustainability in practice. It provides them with a degree of substance that reinforces the green claims they see on pack and helps to achieve credibility and authenticity they trust. This can increasingly build brand loyalty, as economies and ways of living become more circular, and ultimately strengthens the role of packaging in driving sales.
As featured in Packaging News