Today, consumers increasingly demand so much more than just a quality product. As shoppers increasingly embrace social causes, they’re seeking products and brands that align with their personal values. While it might seem that sustainability is just another trend, in the face of our ever-changing climate, consumer demand for sustainability is here to stay.
Across industries, sustainability is one trend that just keeps growing. Recent research revealed that more than seven in 10 global consumers would change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. Of consumers who say sustainability is very/extremely important to them, over 70% reported they would pay a premium of 35%, on average, for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.
Brands in the luxury retail space cannot escape this reality any longer. Sustainability is no longer nice to have — minimizing the environmental impact is crucial to the success of any business. And one of the simplest steps retail brands can take to improve their sustainability efforts and meet the demands of increasingly environmentally conscious shoppers is to implement sustainable packaging into their operations.
The Rise of Sustainable Packaging
Packaging is a very visible, tangible and branded experience for consumers. As the shopping public becomes more aware of the environmental harm caused by excessive, wasteful packaging and fillers, careless brands are being called out — and consumers are demanding more sustainable solutions. In fact, more than 60% of consumers say it is important to buy products in environmentally friendly packaging.
The retail brands that are falling behind when it comes to environmentalism are still managing to their expense line, asking themselves whether it’s cheaper to buy sustainable packaging goods versus those that aren’t. Because unsustainable packaging tends to be less costly, the challenge is bringing sustainable packaging options into the market at the same or a lower cost than those that are harmful to the planet. For years, there were simply not enough sustainable options on the market, but that is slowly beginning to change.
Fortunately, with material science and packaging engineering rapidly developing, there are more eco-friendly packaging options for a wide range of products on the market than ever before. From plant-based packaging and biodegradable plastic packaging to recycled corrugate packaging and much more, it’s become easier than ever for brands to reduce their carbon footprint through sustainable packaging options.
Our Approach to Sustainability through Packaging
For us at Wrap & Send, the question is “are the packaging and shipping solutions we offer guilt-free and are they the responsible choice?” We made the conscious decision several years ago to lessen our environmental impact to the greatest extent possible because it’s the right thing to do not only for our business but for the environment.
To that end, we’ve been using 100% recycled corrugated material for our boxes since 2011. When considering sustainability, corrugated packaging is truly a guilt-free and responsible choice. Ninety percent of corrugated packaging is successfully recycled to make new products — and that has been true for several years. As the corrugated recovery rate consistently exceeds that of all other packaging materials, the industry’s overall environmental footprint also continues to improve.
While retailers have played a leading role in recovering corrugated material for recycling to an amazing 90% of production, which is enormously better than any other packaging material on the planet, we believe simply talking about recycling is not enough. The conversation needs to move beyond recyclable materials to the creation of a circular economy for packaging in order to extend its lifecycle and usability.
Our biggest challenge today is taking all of the other aspects of our packaging material to that level. From the inner packaging that goes in a box to fill space to the newsprint, tissue, bubble and tape we use to create the professional, organized, cost-effective and stunningly beautiful packages Saks and Bloomingdale’s shoppers have come to expect, ensuring sustainable design in our packaging remains top of mind.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Emerald Brand, the leading innovator in sustainable everyday disposables and retail packaging made from unique rapidly renewable materials, to deliver sustainable packaging solutions to the national luxury retailers we work with. Emerald’s mission is to produce everyday products from sustainable alternative materials, such as bagasse, wheat, clay, corn and plant starch, at affordable prices in an effort to combat deforestation and climate change. Whether using sustainable packaging material or simply using less material — regardless of what that material is — can make a significant difference.
To us, those figures represent so much more than just one more tree in the ground, one more gallon of water for the planet to use and so on — it illustrates that we’re doing our part, however small, to help save the planet.
Driven by the change in consumer shopping habits, sustainability is no longer a hip trend for retailers — it’s a necessity. Consumers, especially Generation Z and Millennials, are more environmentally conscious than ever before — and retail brands are under increasing pressure to respond. A powerful value proposition to increasingly conscious consumers, leveraging sustainable packaging solutions shows that you are aware of the environmental issues facing our world — and that you want to do something about it. As our climate continues to change, sustainable packaging is only going to become more important.
Let us know how we can meet your sustainable packaging needs!