Big Brands Setting Lofty Sustainable Packaging Goals
April 2, 2019
Large consumer brands know the advantages of switching to sustainable packaging options. Is your organization part of the growing sustainable elite?
As environmentally sustainable business practices become more of a selling point for consumers, an increasing number of big name brands are taking notice and adopting lofty sustainability goals.
Walmart is Taking The Lead on Sustainability
Walmart has recently emerged as a leader in corporate sustainability with Project Gigaton, a pledge to reduce its CO2 emissions by one gigaton (1 billion tons) by 2030. The ambitious project aims to not only overhaul Walmart’s sustainable business practices but help other organizations do the same. Walmart is offering sustainability training, webinars, and an invitation to join Project Gigaton and set their emission reduction targets.
Walmart’s initiative focuses on several key areas where there is a substantial opportunity for organizations to improve their sustainable business practices. One of the key areas of focus is packaging, where they note, “Designers, manufacturers, and brands have a unique opportunity to help deliver more efficient, innovative, and sustainable packaging.” Walmart has specifically pledged to achieve 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging for private label brands by 2025, eliminate non-recyclable packaging in general merchandise packaging by 2020, and include the How2Recycle label on all food products by 2022.
While Walmart’s Project Gigaton is one of the more ambitious and inclusive initiatives, other major brands such as Pepsi, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé, and KFC have made sustainable packaging pledges of their own.
With so many major brands committing to sustainable packaging efforts, it should be a signal to every other packed food producer that it’s time to adopt sustainable packaging or be left behind by more forward-thinking organizations. While adopting sustainable packaging solutions is a laudable moral achievement, it is also a savvy business decision. Consumers are shifting their focus to place more value on sustainable products. In fact, 72% of customers are now willing to pay more for products that use sustainable packaging.
Can You Afford Not to Use Sustainable Packaging?
A common misconception with “eco-friendly” or “green” options is that they are too costly compared to the benefits they provide. However, the truth is that consumers’ loyalties are changing to favor organizations that implement sustainable packaging solutions. In fact, a Nielsen Survey showed that 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries said they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive environmental impact.
Sustainable packaging now has a lower overall cost, along with a significant opportunity for increased sales. This is something that big brands have taken note of and are investing in. In many ways, we are seeing a sort of “sustainable arms race” where organizations are scrambling to adapt to shifting consumer demands and government regulations.
What Are Your Sustainable Packaging Options?
Aiding the business case for a sustainable switch is the fact that sustainable packaging options no longer require businesses to choose between premium quality and sustainability, as advancements in technology now allow you to have both. Producers now have a variety of options available to them when it comes to the types of sustainable packaging they can adopt. These options can accomplish two different goals:
- Lower the amount of material used in packaging, allowing you to use less film and thus less packaging overall.
- Reduce landfill waste by either being recyclable or biodegradable.
“Biodegradable” and “recyclable” are terms that we often hear, but may not have a clear definition of. Recyclable packaging is a product where the materials used in the packaging can be reused to make other products. For example, SmartPack™ sustainable packaging avoids the most common problem with flexible packaging, which happens when it’s made out of two or more materials, making it too difficult or expensive to separate the materials to recycle them.
Instead, SmartPack™ uses a unique energy-curing technology, reducing the number of films needed to produce a package. With nearly 1 billion sold to date, that’s a significant amount of waste that has been diverted from landfills.
Biodegradable packaging, on the other hand, is a packing product that can be easily broken down in a landfill by microorganisms and essentially dissolve, leaving behind only biomass and methane gas. Biodegradable packaging such as the SmartPack-BDG™ offers the best of both worlds as it is also recyclable so consumers don’t need to worry about throwing the packaging in the proper bin for it to sustainably reach the end of its lifecycle.
Building a Sustainability Strategy
Implementing sustainable packaging solutions for your products should be just part of an overall sustainability strategy. Take it from us— Emmerson Packaging is an SPG Certified Printer (the first ever in Canada), but our facilities have also taken more steps to put our best foot forward when it comes to developing sustainable business practices, such as:
- Reduced our residual solid waste by 39%
- Lowered our water usage more than 92%
- Reduced electricity usage by 33%
- Reduced Co2 Emitted, with electricity generation, by 45%
- Become a certified SGP Printer
*These figures are correct as per our 2019 Sustainability Impact report. These figures are updated annually.
Much like Walmart and their Project Gigaton, we’re committed to helping organizations reduce their environmental impact. We help North American brands implement sustainable solutions with award-winning biodegradable and recyclable packaging for organizations in the frozen food and pet food industries (along with other industries).
Implementing sustainable solutions is also about having a transparent supply chain. With studies showing that 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to brands that are completely transparent, being open about your sustainability efforts is more important than ever. Partnering with an SPG Certified Printer means you have third-party validation that your sustainable packaging meets the highest standards. Which you can proudly display on all your packaging using the SPG logo.
Is your organization ready to join the sustainable elite, among companies such as Nestle, Pepsi, Walmart, and Starbucks? If so, get in touch with us to learn about how we can go green together.