What’s driving sustainable packaging development?

Linda Casey — Packaging Digest, 5/31/2011

Two primary drivers have been identified by a Pira Intl. poll for sustainable packaging development, and both start with the consumers. During a recent poll of a survey of key players across the global packaging value chain, Pira Intl. found that an overwhelming 79 percent of respondents said that consumer awareness of environmental issues and new material developments are the most important drivers in the development of sustainable packaging, as growth drivers. The growth drivers’ specific terminology used in the poll was ‘Increased exposure of consumers to environmental issues’ and ‘Advances in materials technology.”

The research group analyzes its findings in the document The Future of Sustainable Packaging to 2020: Convenience Vs the Environment . The report examines sustainable packaging initiatives from the consumers’ perspective, over the next decade. It looks at what drives consumer demand for convenient packaging, as well as the demand for environmental preservation.

Pira defined sustainability as growth that meets the needs of the present, without robbing future generations of the raw materials or environmental quality to meet their own needs. Researchers note that the packaging industry cannot help but become the sustainability focal point and primary benchmark for other industries. Not only is packaging a resource intensive sector in an increasingly resource constrained world, but tons of packaging waste are ending up in landfills daily. However, this challenge also provides an opportunity to gain competitive advantage through the development of an environmentally sustainable strategy without sacrificing the all-important needs of the consumer.

The study identifies a range of important factors that suggest a greater interest in the sustainability agenda by the business world. Other factors, however, drive the consumer’s choice when it comes to making a buying decision.

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