Recent research has shown that more than 70 per cent of customers in western markets consider sustainable packaging a top concern when grocery shopping, ranking it even higher than animal welfare and genetically modified organisms.
Time and again, consumers have shown a measurable and demonstrable willingness to pay a premium for sustainable packaging. Given the economic and brand benefits that a sustainable approach to packaging bring, the key is to make environmental choices easier.
Consumers want to take action and empowering them to do so is a valuable brand differentiator. Smart businesses are adopting environmentally friendly strategies when designing, manufacturing and packaging products, and this is driving tangible results to bottom-line profitability.
An example of this can be seen in Puma’s 2010 innovation, the “clever little bag”. By replacing their resource-intensive, single-use shoebox, this single change saved 8500 tons of paper, 20 million megajoules of electricity and one million litres of water annually…
A number of New Zealand based organisations have signed up to the New Zealand Plastic Packaging Declaration. This commits them to using 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025 or earlier.
Several New Zealand based businesses have also signed up to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. This is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment. Signatories include the Ministry for the Environment on behalf of the New Zealand Government.
Many of the world’s largest companies and largest users of packaging are already underway with sustainable packaging:
- Mondelēz International
- Procter & Gamble
- General Mills
The world is changing – fast
The economic value of implementing current best-practice in packaging design – and empowering consumers to avoid landfill through recycling – is estimated at NZ$3-$5 billion annually across OECD countries.
Design innovations such as these, along with changing use patterns, are currently generating an additional NZ$14 billion for the plastics industry, and this is expected to grow by around 50 per cent with more ‘after-use’ advances and system improvements.
Alongside direct financial outcomes are an array of reputational benefits, which drive increased brand value. Recent research indicates that more than 90 percent of consumers have a more positive image of a company when it supports environmental causes, and 75 per cent of younger consumers are willing to pay more for a product with sustainable packaging.
Most important drivers of environmental initiatives
For global food and drink packaging companies
Source: Tetra Pak 2015