Every month, we will cover trends in the packaging industry. This month we are focused on the future of sustainable and eco-friendly packaging. In 2014, Smithers Pira published a market report, The Future of Sustainable Packaging to 2018. In this post, we highlight some of the major points from the report and a few examples of sustainable packaging industry leaders.
Consumer Conscience Drives Demand
“Environmental awareness among a growing population of consumers is fueling demand for sustainability and the reduction of the impact of packaging on the environment. Consumer attitudes toward sustainability have changed dramatically in the last decade, and this is set to continue in coming years. This greater environmental consciousness and concern for the general good of society, as well as the well-being of future generations, is leading to ethical purchasing behavior.”
Smithers Pira predicts the global sustainable packaging market to reach $244 billion by 2018. This market increase will be led by the Asian markets and the recyclable paper packaging segments. A great example of a company leading the way in sustainable, paperboard packaging is Ecologic. Check out the photos below of our how their packaging works and looks.
The outer shell can recycled up to 7 more times and it is compostable. The inner pouch uses 70% less plastic than plastic jugs. The future of sustainable packaging.
Government Legislation has a Proactive Effect
“Government legislation around the world is one of the leading drivers for the sustainable packaging agenda and is putting considerable pressure on manufacturers to up their game. The concepts of reduce, reuse, and recycle are being embraced as much by government agencies as consumers. Examples of legislation aiming to reduce the environmental impact of packaging are the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive implemented in 1994 and the Plastic Bag Ban in China in 2009.”
Sustainable Practices = Lower Costs and Higher Profits in the Long Term
“For many companies, the link between recycling and profitability has not yet been made, and sustainability initiatives have yet to be integrated into their day-to-day business practices. Interestingly, a survey of 141 top companies that are part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development found that companies that used sustainable strategies performed better in almost every market segment than their respective counterparts. On average, the sustainable companies returned about 4 percent higher margins.
Increasing recycling also carries the potential for creating and expanding new recycling and secondary materials markets. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic has the highest commodity value, an estimated $2.9 billion, followed by high-density polyethylene (HDPE), aluminium, and paper, all of which are worth over $1 billion.
Sustainability programs are increasingly being seen as a source of innovation that can help in differentiating a company by appealing to the consciences of consumers. These programs also serve as a platform for new product and market development. There are definitely opportunities out there for companies to gain competitive advantage through the development of an environmentally friendly strategy without sacrificing product quality or consumer convenience.”
Sustainable packaging will evolve in the 21st century. It is matter of time before the costs of producing sustainable packaging are lower or equal to current solutions. We are interested in measuring the consumer attention to these types of packaging with eye tracking. It would be interesting to see if millennials actually value sustainable packaging like so much of the qualitative research suggests. Overall, sustainable packaging is good for the world, and we are excited to see all of the innovations that take place in this space.