The advantages of flexible packaging with regards to design and material includes easy storage features, supports extended shelf-life, more convenient to open and carry, highly practical resealability, utilizes less material, improves cost economics, less overall weight, improved shipping characteristics, and overall better suited for e-commerce.
However despite all the up-side, end-of-life designs are being scrutinized as sustainability initiatives are outlined by retailers and brand owners alike. Let's take a look at five drivers of the push for more sustainable practices.
1. Climate Change: Climate change as a result of human activity is now widely accepted as fact by most experts. Many of the planet's natural resources, such as minerals and fossil fuels, have finite availability. Other precious resources, such as our rain forests, clean water and cultivatable land have natural limits too. Despite this, the demands from industry and agriculture are increasing year over year.
2. People: Manufacturers are now coming under pressure to ensure their processes do not adversely affect their own staff and people who live in the areas where they operate. This pressure is not just coming from governments and the regulatory authorities, but increasingly from some of the major retailing chains who are demanding better standards. Thus, there is a growing expectation on companies to exercise due regard for the health and safety of their employees and local communities, as well as treating their staff equitably and paying them fairly.
3. Business: Up until the last decade or so, the focus of the environmental impact of business was quite limited; it was restricted to the end-of-life of the product, including pollution and recycling. The sustainability agenda, however, has broadened out this agenda into a much more holistic one, following the entire life-cycle of a product and including economic and social factors. Sustainability is now a major agenda issue for governments and public opinion. As a result, industry is coming under increasing pressure to improve its sustainability footprint.
4. Consumer Perception: The packaging industry has been pushed to the forefront of the sustainability agenda, not necessarily because it is the biggest source of environmental problems but because, from the consumer's point of view, it is one of the most visible. But when considering the packaging industry's sustainability footprint, we should focus on qualitative issues as much as quantitative ones. In other words, it is not just about reducing the amount of packaging produced, but about addressing the issues such as design that we touched on in our last post.
5. Education: Understand the impact that true and transparent sustainability conversations may have with your customers and then in turn, the consumers. We need to make true effort to effectively educate consumers rather than use language that appeals to retailers while directly sabotaging real sustainability efforts.
For more information about how Fox Packaging's line of flexible packaging solutions is designed to meet your sustainability initiatives, email email@example.com.