2022 & beyond for the packaging industry’s CEOs: The priorities for resilience

Being green is difficult, as a wise frog once noted. However, when it comes to eco-friendly packaging choices, we're here to inform you and make it a bit simpler.

It is well said that innovation comes at a price. Plastic, a product of human innovation being lightweight, durable, decay resistant is used widely not for packaging but for many other puposes too. Plastic packaging is not only harmful for earth’s ecosystem but also wasteful. Plastic, being non-biodegradable, every piece that has been created till now is still on the earth on some or the other form.

Sustainability is all about balanced ecosystem. To keep ecosystem healthy and happy it shouldn’t be only taking but it should be more about giving. In the last few years climate change has made people head towards sustainability. In the current era, people opting for inline shopping has resulted in to increase in global packaging waste. Sustainable packaging has become more important not only for producers but for consumers too. Many bid brands have announced to have 100% recyclable packaging in coming years. It’s clear that word “sustainable packing” is more than a buzzword these days. It has become no more an option but has become necessity. Sustainable packaging happens in many ways such as ingredient should be 100% natural, the production process should not be hazardous to the environment and it should be reusable. We have been hearing about 3 R’s since childhood i.e. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, the principal of waste management.

History of Packaging

Since the beginning of the birth of humans the need to store and transport material has been always there. Packaging, however, has changed from being merely a necessity for brand statements and consumer experience to an integral part of it over the years. The concept of packaging in early days was just the basic need to transport things from one place to other. During the medieval times, there was rise in use of wooden barrels and wood boxes as packaging devices. Heading straight towards the industrial revolution, technological advancement and better-quality packaging increased. The demand of better-quality product fueled the surge in new products also noting that materials in this era were expensive. Packaging industry in late 1800s and early 1900s saw the invention of first paper bag, their carton and first cereal box as well. Talking about the modern packaging, bubble wrap was invented which was pitch to be safest option for packaging fragile products. Later, PET plastic bottles were invented for packaging carbonated drinks. Fast forward to the recent time, sustainability is major concern. In current scenario, packaging innovators are opting for new ways to reduce impact on environment. Recent eco-friendly inventions, such edible and biodegradable packaging, not only represent the nature of our society today, but also show how adaptable the packaging business is to shifting customer demands and issues. The increasing penetration of online shopping trends such as online pharmacy is one of the trending and growing which boosts the need for healthcare packaging.

Benefits of Sustainable Packaging

Opting for environment friendly products is not a new thing which industries are facing. In fact, people are gradually shifting towards sustainability. Going green with packaging leads to many benefits. Molded pulp packaging are non-toxic and convenient for manufacturing safe medical packaging. Ecofriendly packaging has many benefits in today’s world such as:

  • Reduced carbon footprint – in today’s world consumers while buying any product are more focused on the impact they have on environment. And it all affects the brands they choose to. Carbon footprint is amount of carbon dioxide emitted when consuming fossil fuels. In the minds of many consumers when it comes to packaging their products, carbon footprint is a major concern.
  • More storage and more space – with more space you can ship more products and reducing your freight costs.
  • Free of allergens and toxins – while buying any product people are concerned about the impact they have on their health and well-being. Bio-plastic is better for safety of health gives consumers more incentives to buy your product.
  • Green packaging – green packaging reduces solid waste, water usage, electricity and emissions.
  • Increased sales- as mentioned before, there are many reasons which people consider while buying any product. The environment and what your brand are doing to protect it one of the main reasons considered by consumer. Is can increase your sale if your brand is focused on reducing carbon footprint. Today’s Generation Z is highly motivated to buy ecofriendly products instead of traditional ones.
  • Save money - It is likely that ecofriendly products are packaged in more light materials, helping to reduce shipping costs. In addition, if products are lightweight and easily recycled or made of recycled materials, they will also be appreciated by your consumers.

Challenges of Sustainable Packaging

With the demand of ecofriendly and pressure of environment concerns, packaging industry is organizing. This process has been completed by evolving lifestyles and growing raw material prices. Given that this industry, which is dominated by food processing, is predicted to be worth several hundred billion dollars over the next several years, the stakes are quite high.

  • Changing technology – technology is rapidly changing in today’s world. With the focus on sustainability the consumer wants the same experience which they had in the past. This represents a big challenge as sometimes meeting consumer expectation and current standards is unmanageable and difficult.
  • Economic factors – one of the main challenges is that it could be more expensive than the traditional ones. Rising cost of goods have forced consumer to rethink about it.
  • Social factors - Consumers want to know more about the products they buy and the brands that produce them, from food shortages to ethical sourcing to responsible water and land use. Besides the achievements, it is vital for brands and package manufacturers to be transparent about their weaknesses. Compatibility with product – sustainability may not always be compatible with every product as some may have specific requirement. It may be necessary to find alternative for that.
  • Regulation – it may often require certain regulations and standards which needs to be followed and that could be complex. Companies should be familiar with relevant legislation and standards, as well as working together with experts in order to meet this challenge.

Future of Sustainable Packaging

Packaging is all over the place. There is no one on this planet that is has not touched. Everything human requires such as food, healthcare, personal care, all of it is packaged. Brands have trusted set tools and tactics to control the customer experience. There is lot which future holds for the packaging industry. Cheaper components will make smart packaging all-pervasive. Integrating ecosystem will become on of the most ideal. A detailed analysis and forecast for critical areas of change and opportunity in the packaging value chain. Insights into the changes taking place in and for packaging throughout the value chain and market A look beyond current trends at the potential for Horizon 3, transformation change in 2030, scenarios for packaging worldwide will be served. Industrial packaging is increasing with increase in E-Commerce. These are the six priority actions that business leaders can take to create resilience, capture growth opportunities and cope with changing market dynamics arising from today's era of disruption, profound change on markets or increasing volatility.

  • Sustainability: Invest where consumers and regulators are concerned.
  • Growth: To succeed, pinpoint specific areas of opportunity.
  • Strategic category: management may help you stay ahead of inflation and supply-side challenges in procurement and the supply chain.
  • Excellence in pricing: Recover inflation and utilize it to recoup margins.
  • Talent: Recruit, keep, and retrain staff while ensuring a smooth transition back to work.
  • In the front, rear, and center of processes, embrace digitization.

It is common for a change to take place gradually, then accelerate suddenly. In this era of transformational change, the chief executives of packaging companies have to accept that their markets are more volatile than ever. Companies that are not addressing fundamental issues will find themselves at a considerable disadvantage, and may go bankrupt or be acquired. The next stage of value creation is to be taken up by resilient and successful companies.


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Swara Keni

Head- Global Business Development

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