Number of S&P 100 companies issuing sustainability reports jumps more than a third
IDDBA outlines consumer lifestyle trends
U.S. plastics demand to reach 34 billion pounds in 2013

Number of S&P 100 companies issuing sustainability reports jumps more than a third

Nearly all companies comprising the S&P 100 produce some sort of sustainability report, says working group.

According to areport from the Sustainable Investment Research Analyst Network (SIRAN), the number of S&P 100 companies producing sustainability reports with performance data jumped 35% in the past year. SIRAN’s data further indicates that 93 of those 100 companies currently furnish some sustainability information on their websites. Those numbers support the trend that sustainability is fast becoming a center of focus for companies, including flexible packaging converters.

“For most of the past five years, in addition to sustainability reports, we have also seen a gradual increase in the number of companies adopting the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting framework,” says Sharon Squillace, RiskMetrics’ research analyst and manager of the S&P 100 Project. “Last year, however, the number of companies referencing GRI in their reporting has jumped by an impressive 25%.” Since 2004, the number of companies making reference to the GRI in their sustainability reports has more than doubled from 24 to 55 of the S&P 100, says the SIRAN report.

While the report suggests companies have made significant strides toward fully embracing sustainability, the data suggests there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Only six of the 55 firms achieved GRI’s highest, “A” level reporting. An “A” level report is one which provides data for all of the core GRI performance indicators; addresses the management approach for each indicator; and includes organizational information such as identification of key risks and a statement from the chief executive officer addressing the relevance of sustainability at the organization.

IDDBA outlines consumer lifestyle trends

Annual trend report details how economy, population changes will impact shopping habits.

Over the next five years, consumer trends will revolve around low prices, health and wellbeing, convenience, sustainability, and food safety and quality, saysWhat’s in Store 2010, the trends report from the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA).

Other key influences include:

World Consumption Slowing
World consumption is slowing-especially in developed countries-as the economic downturn has triggered a domestic and global realignment in spending habits. In order to differentiate products, the focus will shift to real value, not perceived value.

Consumer Buying Power
According to data acquired by IDDBA, U.S. buying power is estimated at $10.7 trillion for 2008 and projected to reach $14 trillion in 2013. Of these numbers, the approximately 76 million Baby Boomers have an estimated buying power of more than $2 trillion. But with the economic downturn, consumers may very well shift from being a trade-up culture to a trade-off culture.

Changes in Shopper Behavior
In the new economy, consumers may be more inclined to do their homework in advance of shopping trips or preparing meals as they take time to determine best value, compare unit prices, limit purchases of premium products, and move to store brands for a better price.

Health and Wellness Still a Concern
If current trends continue, 86% of the adult American population will be overweight or obese by 2030. Childhood obesity rates are expected to hit 40% by 2012. In Europe today, it's 35%. But many consumers are heeding medical advice and paying closer attention to their diets, and as such, health and wellness will be a significant driver of consumer behavior for the next decade.

U.S. plastics demand to reach 34 billion pounds in 2013

Gains will be driven by process and machine improvements, but currently slumping markets may stunt some growth.

Demand for extruded plastics in the U.S. will grow 2.6% annually to 34 billion pounds in 2013, valued at $23 billion (resin content only), says arecent Freedonia Group report. Resins, a major culprit in the fluctuating values impacting the flexible packaging industry, will account for 40% of the $59 billion final product cost. Machinery improvements, combined with extrusion’s cost efficiency, processing ease and high volume uses, will drive gains in the market.

However, a slumping nonresidential building construction market and maturing applications in other areas may temper growth.

Going forward, the study suggests moderating petroleum and natural gas prices will result in slow resin price increases. Extrusion will remain the highest volume plastic production process, accounting for more than 56% of thermoplastics demand in 2013.

Chemical Market Associates Inc.
DeWitt & Co. Inc.
Plastics News