The use of sustainable packaging can be extremely beneficial to businesses in a climate where green credentials are gaining in importance.
There are arguments that this will lead to increased costs for companies, but these can often be balanced in the long term by calculating the positive effects of building a reputation based on forward-thinking environmental and social policies. It can make products appeal more to consumers and help businesses attract more investment.
What Is Sustainable Packaging?
In its purest form, sustainability is about much more than simply using recycled material packaging, although that is always a good start. True sustainability is about promoting an increased use of both life-cycle assessment (LCA) and life-cycle inventory (LCI) in a bid to reduce the ecological footprint and environmental impact of the packaging that you make or use. It also covers the complete life of materials, from their source to their recycling.
Aside from the potential reputational benefits for business, the wider aim of sustainable packaging is the preservation of the world’s ecosystems and to ensure the improvement of human viability and life quality in the long term. In order to do this, sustainable packaging must fulfil the economic and functional demands of the current world without throwing into doubt the future of the planet and its inhabitants.
How Can You Make a Difference?
True sustainability is a complex business, and there are very few businesses, particularly SMEs, which can go truly ‘green’. There are, however, things that all companies should think about in order to at least move towards a more sustainable ethos — some that are dictated by regulations and others than come down to managerial choice. These include taking measures to reduce you company’s carbon footprint, avoiding waste of all kinds, using more recycled material packaging and other recycled materials and reusing materials where possible.
These actions can be valuable additions to your marketing material and can even be added to packaging to highlight your green credentials. Just beware of exaggerating about your efforts, as it can severely damage your business’s reputation if any claims were later proved to be untrue.
If you are looking to introduce new packaging for a product, you may want to consider incorporating ideas of sustainability into your design and general operation. This can involve a reduction in the packaging used, the use of recycled and recyclable materials, encouraging packaging reuse and the inclusion of renewable resources and biodegradable materials.