It’s time to get serious about sustainability – to unlock trillions of pounds worth of commercial opportunities and create a positive human future.
As the perception of plastic has shifted from a wonder material to a public scourge, the forces of opportunity present leaders with a chance to drive positive societal change that makes business sense.
Our pioneering research project examines how CPG companies and retailers are delivering sustainable plastics and packaging solutions.
Based on insights from change leaders in world-leading organisations and best practice case studies, our report identifies the risks and rewards associated with sustainability initiatives and provides three strategies to sustainable plastics and packaging: less plastic, better plastic or no plastic.
Those operating in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail must now meet entirely new expectations, driven by:
A suite of national, regional and international legislative developments necessitate awareness, compliance and horizon scanning
Fuelled by mass media, more publicity has led to deeper sentiments, which in turn has encouraged greater consumer awareness
A host of technologies are available to those looking to improve their sustainability approach - the trick is deciding which to pursue and why
There are three categories of response to sustainable plastics and packaging: less plastic, better plastic or no plastic.
The path that’s right for you will be guided by the organisation’s size, capacity, audience, product, industry – and by a delicate balance of ambition and realism.
Using less plastic sets a strong foundation for making incremental changes over time without committing to a complete product overhaul. It’s a good starting point for organisations that want to take measured steps towards more sustainable solutions, laying the foundations for steady improvement.
“We educate consumers and work with [them] so that they understand first of all what they should do with the packaging once they have consumed the product, and what is the right way to recycle or dispose of it”
Jay Gouliard, Vice President of Global Packaging, Mondelēz
A better plastic strategy ranges from seeking out more durable, thinner or lighter plastic, through to better educating consumers about how to reuse or appropriately recycle plastic packaging and products. Organisations should also consider the wider recycling system and how ‘waste’ can become part of the circular economy.
“If an organisation is going to sacrifice laminate for the modern material where they know it will increase weight, they’ve got to be sure the increased weight of material is going to be recycled”
Ruan Jones, Sustainability expert, PA
Completely abandoning plastic is a particularly ambitious approach to sustainable plastics and packaging. While some startups have shown the way, many incumbents prefer to eliminate plastic in a sequence to incrementally reap the rewards of sustainability.
“I don't think it will be long before those that don't use compostable magazine wrappers follow the National Trust. It's a big step in the right direction and it's the right thing to do”
Jo Lucas, Head of Business Development at Advanced Direct Mail