How Packaging Can Address Consumers' Sustainability Concerns
The majority of consumers will pay more for products in sustainable packaging — 72% of consumers to be exact. In fact, consumers are willing to pay 10-20% more for products in sustainable packaging. Peter Malmqvist, marketing director for BillerudKorsnäs presented these findings from the company's 2017 Sustainability Report during Luxe Pack New York on May 16.
Malmqvist was part of a panel discussion focused on the issue of meeting growing sustainable packaging demands. The panel was moderated by Jamie Matusow, editor-in-chief of Beauty Packaging, and Malmqvist was joined by Dr. Sandeep Kulkarni, founder and president of KoolEarth Solutions, Inc., a technical consulting firm that helps companies develop and commercialize sustainable packaging solutions, and Anne Nelson Sanford, Founder of Lurk Beauty, a luxury perfume company focused on sustainability.
Where Packaging Fits Into the Sustainability Conversation
Malmqvist highlighted top consumer concerns that can be addressed by increased sustainability in packaging.
- Reduce Food Waste: In the whole value chain and at the consumer home
- Increase Recycling Rates
- Reduce Plastic Littering in Oceans
He then explained how packaging can address these issues:
- Advance Innovation - Malmqvist stressed the importance of experimenting with materials and working with the supply chain to implement better strategies for sustainability.
- Set Sustainability Goals - Making sustainability goals a core part of "brand strategy" can be beneficial.
- Communicate Your Packaging Story - If brands explain their goals and sustainability initiatives, "consumers will listen," he said.
- Enable Change - Consumers are concerned with sustainability and will look for packaging that drives this change.
Kulkarni took the podium next, outlining global issues and trends leading to the growing concern for sustainable packaging. He pointed to ocean and land litter, and climate change as leading causes of concern. He further explained the idea of "extended producer responsibility," or the idea that those putting packaging into the world, such as fast food and coffee shops, need to be responsible for the end life of the packaging and provide better resources and solutions for consumers.
Finally, Sanford explained the importance of "awareness of social responsibility" from a brand owner's perspective. She said consumers want to buy products that align with their personal views, so the consumer needs to be able to trust the brand.
She referred to her brand as an "indie brand" and explained that many indie brands are working to incorporate packaging into sustainability strategies, employing things such as less secondary packaging, multi-use packaging, water-based adhesives, and looking at shipping and logistics to develop packaging that is more efficient. In the case of indie brands, Sanford said they tend to be more willing to integrate sustainable solutions for packaging and they typically are less afraid of change, enabling experimentation and evolution. She also pointed out that zero waste is a big trend among indie brands.