The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) has created a new infographic that illustrates why brand owners need to more effectively communicate the environmental benefits of flexible packaging to consumers.

The infographic helps to summarize the recent FPA sustainability report, Perspectives on the Meaning of Sustainability in Flexible Packaging. The report explores how flexible packaging lends itself to brand owners’ ability to establish a reputation for environmental stewardship. FPA conducted a 2018 Sustainability Study to better understand perspectives on sustainability and packaging among both consumers and brand owners. The study integrates insights from brand owners surveyed online in June 2018 by Packaging World and insights from an online survey of U.S. consumers conducted by The Harris Poll in July 2018. Both surveys were conducted on behalf of FPA.

The survey results indicate that consumers are already talking about sustainability, but there’s still an opportunity to inject specific sustainable manufacturing processes and supply chain concepts into the conversation. That’s where brand owners come in.

Although consumers are most likely to associate sustainability with familiar terms like “renewable” (59 percent) and “recyclable” (56 percent), some recognize the importance of business-to-business (B2B) terms like “transportation efficiency” (24%) and “circular economy” (13 percent) when presented with them. Twenty-four percent of consumers say transportation efficiency describes sustainability, while 81 percent think it’s at least somewhat important that product packaging has been transported efficiently.

The beneficial lifecycle impacts and sustainability advantages of flexible packaging are more likely to resonate with consumers, ages 18-44, who represent the next wave of buying power in the U.S. Brand owners who promote these messages can take advantage of the opportunity.

Younger generations are more likely than members of older generations to believe flexible packaging is sustainable, and are less likely than older generations to think glass or corrugated are sustainable. Millennial consumers ages 18-34 are more likely than older consumers to say they support/buy from businesses with sustainability initiatives.

Brand owners, in general, are in tune with consumers’ viewpoints of sustainability, yet disagree on their understanding of the concept. This skepticism on behalf of brand owners suggests an opportunity to inform consumers on the complete picture of sustainability.

Eighty-three percent of consumers say they understand the meaning of sustainability, but 60 percent of brand owners think consumers understand the meaning of sustainability. Only the brand owners can bridge this gap.


FPA sustainability report


For More Information

For more information on the FPA and the sustainability benefits of flexible packaging, contact us at or 410-694-0800, or visit our website,