Those organic, locally-sourced ingredients that you purchased from your supermarket may fill you with pride concerning your green credentials but if they come wrapped in environmentally damaging packaging, then, unfortunately, your sustainability efforts only go so far.
Many FMCG companies and consumers are now realizing the importance of sustainable packaging. In fact, a report published last year found that 74% of consumers were willing to pay more for sustainable packaging, with a quarter of respondents indicating that they would accept a price increase of as much as 10% if it meant the packaging around their products was sustainable. Evidently, this is a trend that could boost company profits, as well as help the environment.
It’s worth remembering that there are valid reasons why many brands continue to use non-sustainable materials in their packaging. Plastic, for example, is affordable, durable, and lightweight when compared with many of its alternatives. But its environmental impact is pushing FMCG brands to explore other options.
A transformation within the packaging space is being driven by organizations that view innovation as a way of protecting and labeling their goods while meeting their environmental responsibilities. Circular supply chains, package redesigns, and experiments using glass and metal within returnable systems are just a handful of the methods currently being explored by FMCG firms.
Across the world, FMCG brands are using entrepreneurship to drive more environmentally friendly practices - well aware that it could also deliver significant growth. In the Netherlands, for example, Schoeller Allibert recently created a new transit packaging unit to reduce waste in the meat and poultry supply chain. Similarly, A TOP Packaging won the European Packaging Innovation Award for its compostable, stackable Re-Fruiter trays that keep fresh produce in peak condition.
The most forward-thinking FMCG brands are not simply looking at ditching plastic or making their packaging more lightweight. They are taking a holistic approach to sustainability, looking at energy efficiency, waste reduction, and their entire packaging supply chain, from their natural resource supplier right the way up to the vendors that ensure their packages end up in the hands of customers.
The future starts now
Although many FMCG brands genuinely care about their environmental impact, there are other factors driving the rise of sustainable packaging. Regulatory shifts, for example, including the New EU Directive for Single-Use Plastics and the enforcement of Extended Producer Responsibilities in several markets, are having a major impact. Technological developments are also making it easier for brands to look beyond commonly used materials and existing ways of working.
In addition, a rising consumer trend of greater ethical decision-making is forcing FMCG brands to future-proof their business. Whether it's through recyclable packaging, plant-based foods, or boosting energy efficiency in the supply chain, businesses can no longer take a short-term outlook concerning their environmental impact. Shoppers are demanding that sustainability is considered for all products - both on the inside and out.
As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, sustainability should no longer be viewed as a trend but a key part of your business model. For FMCG brands, environmentalism and entrepreneurship should go hand in hand.