Companies embracing sustainable packaging will have a competitive advantage in the near future.
Industry watchers are quickly spotting companies going green with sustainable packaging. As landfills grow ever larger, public awareness about the problems of excess waste in packaging is growing as well, encouraging companies to focus on “going green” in multiple ways. After all, as public awareness about environmental issues increases, companies doing their part to preserve the environment stand to reap the rewards of their positive stewardship. In addition to positive public relations, going green also means saving the company time and money.
Companies need to consider these three aspects when investing in sustainable packaging:
In addition to obvious environmental benefits, companies using sustainable packaging can also enjoy other benefits such as various tax benefits and incentives provided by the government. Also, investors with environmental consciences often invest in companies using sustainable packaging over companies that do not follow that path. In addition, when a company highlights its commitment to the environment to consumers, it creates a positive branding opportunity.
While industry experts realize that companies going green with sustainable packaging often incur increased costs, these costs are reduced as time passes. Lighter packaging means less cost to transport products, while also reducing greenhouse gases. Using recycled material for packaging means less material winds up in the landfill, reducing the overall cost to society.
Companies already going green with sustainable packaging include:
Gap, Inc. uses sustainable packaging in all areas, including its gift cards. Gap gift cards are produced by Envi Portfolio, which manufactures cards made from fiber and post-consumer waste, rather than from plastics. The cards are made by a process that uses 100% green energy, also rendering them totally carbon neutral.
In addition to Kohl’s use of sustainable packaging in its stores for boxes and gift-wrapping, the company has undertaken an initiative to use only vendors that are highly receptive to sustainable packaging. When large companies require their suppliers to go sustainable, vendors have a huge incentive to “go green” as well.
After announcing that it was becoming a low-carbon, zero-waste company in the United States, Coca-Cola went further and declared that it intends to improve sustainability packaging goals within Europe, as well. When a corporation such as Coca-Cola makes such a broad and public statement, other global companies usually follow suit.
Burt’s Bees, always a leader in responsible manufacturing, has spent years finding the right company to make the plastic tubing for its lip balm, insisting the company use only recycled plastic materials. As always, Burt’s Bees aims to use minimal packaging and to use only materials that are both highly recyclable and highly recycled.
Jeff Giedt is vice president and general manager of Pioneer Packaging in Phoenix, AZ. Pioneer Packaging is a division of the Heritage Pioneer Corporate Group, a leading distributor of corrugated boxes, packaging materials and equipment, with 16 locations across the western United States.