Sustainability is now a competitive advantage
In the modern, interconnected marketplace, customers are increasingly aware that relatively little plastic packaging is recycled (just 14 per cent globally), while a significant amount ends up in landfills (around 40 per cent) and in the ocean (around 30 per cent).
Even in New Zealand, customers have a more in-depth understanding of and exposure to the local and global impacts of socially irresponsible practices – poor water and air quality, resource scarcity, pollution, poverty etc.
Many have adopted sustainable behaviours in their own households and expect the same from the brands they purchase.
Despite this reality, many businesses are yet to prioritise sustainability in the design, use and disposal processes associated with their products.
The majority of packaging is still single-use and non-recyclable, and an ever-increasing number of individual and, more significantly, enterprise-level customers globally are now making purchasing decisions that avoid perpetuating these practices.
The rationale for a sustainable approach to all business processes is, therefore, one of opportunity – for reduced costs, increased competitive advantage and a more compelling brand proposition.
Whether shelf-to-doorstep eCommerce or direct to consumer, a sustainability focused rethinking of product and package design can not only deliver an optimal outcome for display and delivery, but also a provably enhanced first impression for customers.
The benefits of strategic reductions in resource use, increased efficiency in operations and supply chains, and 'designing out' waste from business cycles are equally significant for service-oriented business – as are the competitive advantages.
In this large and highly competitive sector (services now account for nearly 65 per cent of the New Zealand economy), sustainability is increasingly seen as not only a key differentiator, but a strategic imperative.