• Introducing Duo's Future of Packaging Report

    8th Apr 2020

    One thing that we pride ourselves on at Duo is having our customers’ best interests at the heart of everything we do. Being passionate about packaging isn’t just a statement we put on our website – it’s who we are and it defines everything that we do.

    Our industry has seen a huge amount of change in recent years, and we’re faced with even more turbulent time ahead in light of Covid-19. But with challenge comes opportunity, that’s why we decided at the start of this year, and a new decade, to commission our own research into the factors that are affecting our industry to find out what will shape packaging strategies over the next decade.

    Sustainability and success are becoming almost interchangeable for companies. Founder of his global fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger declared in 2020:

    “Sustainability is something that every brand has to embrace. Because in two to three years if a brand is not sustainable, it will be out of business.”

    Elsewhere, the CEO of one of the world’s largest investment management corporations, Blackrock, warned that failing to manage climate-related risks and other harmful actions “will catch up with a company and destroy shareholder value.”

    These are hard-hitting statements, and while they epitomise the importance of being sustainable, they also provide insight on the new ‘Green Gap’ trend uncovered by our research.

    The growing urgency to be more sustainable can mean businesses do not always realise their positive and genuine green intentions. This is particularly evident in packaging – a poster child for sustainability.

    In January 2020, we surveyed 100 senior retail professionals and found there’s risk of a widening gap between packaging sustainability idealism and realism. This is the Green Gap.

    Our research found that over half (53%) of companies think reducing environmental impact will be the most important factor defining packaging strategies in the next ten years.

    However, when asked which factors will influence packaging design and development in the next decade, more than half (59%) of respondents stated ‘cost’. It ranked in the top three most influential factors, alongside ‘branding/customer experience’ and ‘end of life options’, with little difference between how influential cost is today, compared to its perceived influence in ten years’ time.

    The continued high ranking of cost highlights a disconnect between the ambition for packaging to become more sustainable, and the prohibitive constraints of expenditure.
    This commoditised approach has limited the opportunity for the wider adoption of sustainable packaging solutions. The past few years have seen a gradual shift in this attitude, with forward-thinking companies looking at the far-reaching efficiencies and benefits of sustainable packaging.

    We believe this Green Gap exists because, despite there often being a general agreement within an organisation that sustainability is important, there isn’t always a cohesive approach to putting actions into practice. Businesses are eager to make changes they perceive to be sustainable e.g. material type, without proper consideration of the impact of such changes throughout the supply chain or achieving the full value of the chain by bringing together stakeholders at the initial design stage.

    Our Future of Packaging report presents the findings of our research and identifies the trends and challenges faced by industry now and in the next decade.