Yes, we’ve been hearing about sustainability efforts in the packaging industry for quite some time. Whether it’s a recycling program or a company initiative or a new material, it seems that it’s been around for forever. While suppliers and manufacturers continue to talk about it, it hasn’t really seemed to take broad appeal.
And I know what you’re thinking, “Hey new guy, what would you know about all of this?” Well, imaginary reader I created to serve a narrative purpose, I’ve been behind the scenes with our packaging group for about five years (the pandemic forced them to finally let me out of my hole). Before that, most of my professional career has covered environmental design and construction. And what I’ve been seeing the past year or so in the packaging industry is something that the construction industry has had to deal with for at least 20 years: visibility.
Studies point to consumers becoming more and more aware of businesses’ environmental efforts. In construction, it’s plain to see a solar panel or wind turbine. People can point to it and say, “Hey, that company’s doing what it can for the environment. I want to subscribe to their newsletter.” Owners and facility managers can also see how energy-efficient lighting or water-conservation efforts save money on their utility bills and, subsequently, their bottom line.
In packaging, the first and foremost representative of a CPG company, the package, affects the consumer’s notion of what the organization is all about. This idea was brought up after last year’s Global Pouch Forum and was brought up multiple times at this year’s event (which you can still catch on demand).
Brand owners are truly starting to realize the impacts their packaging has on a consumer’s impression of them. Consumers are taking note of a product that’s touted as being “organic and all natural,” but the pouch or wrapper it came in can’t be recycled or composted.
I highly recommend taking the time to go and catch this year’s GPF if you haven’t already. It’s a smart and deeper look into the issues.