Consumers have become increasingly aware of the negative impact the global packaging industry has on the planet and oceans as a result of documentaries and social media. In research carried out by Forbes, 60% of consumers buy products and services from companies that are socially and or environmentally responsible. This has led to interest in sustainable products growing over time with consumers willing to pay more for eco-friendly products.
With this in mind, customers tend to choose brands that align with their core values and beliefs and sustainable packaging is just one of the many ways brands can help to build a level of trust. If the company a customer is buying from is acting responsibly, they reinforce a commitment to the environment making their brand more credible. Furthermore, using recycled materials or less packaging, a brand automatically removes the guilt and problems customers face associated with plastic waste when they receive their products in the post.
Many brands today are concerned with the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they are producing. The Center for International Environment law indicates that packaging accounts for 40% of the global demand for plastics. It has been shown that recycling plastic saves between 30% and 80% of the carbon emissions that virgin plastic processing and manufacturing generate. If all plastic were recycled this could result in annual savings of between 30 to 150 million tonnes of CO2.
By using sustainable packaging materials, such as paper based products, brands can lower their carbon footprint. This works through carbon offsetting as trees can be replanted, negating the effect of CO2 in the atmosphere.
With eco-conscious brands becoming increasingly popular with consumers, retailers have a responsibility to meet these expectations. With large corporations such as Nestlé, Unilever and Coca-cola coming up with sustainability goals to encourage a circular economy. Whether it’s by developing non-virgin plastics or incorporating a higher percentage of recycled plastic in their bottles, packaging is one of the easiest ways for a brand to reduce their environmental impact.
For example, Puma introduced the ‘clever little bag’ to support its initiatives to a greener future. Using 65% less cardboard than a standard shoebox, no laminated printing and no tissue paper meaning that it is lighter, takes up less space and replaces the plastic retail bag. The tens of millions of shoes shipped in their new, reusable and recyclable bag reduces water, energy and diesel consumption on the manufacturing level alone by more than 60% per year.
A focus on corporate social responsibility means a business is committed to enhancing the environment and society. This dedication to improve with CSR allows companies to reduce waste, use environmentally-friendly materials, save electricity and create a better working environment for everyone.