How to Start Integrating Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging continues to generate headlines all over the world: the latest food waste prevention, biobased packaging materials, and the recent adoption of eco-friendly labels to encourage consumers to recycle packaging. But if you’re just a regular business owner, chances are you’re still struggling to incorporate sustainable packaging into your design process.
Let’s face it: achieving sustainability means to implement changes, and that might seem like a scary thing to do, especially if you’re dealing with a tight budget. But as several studies have pointed out, sustainable packaging can become a great way to increase a company’s profits.

Determine your Objectives

Before you start figuring out which innovative materials or designs you might include in your new strategy; determining clear objectives is a crucial part of starting your sustainability efforts. It translates in defining what exactly does sustainability means to your organization. Without this vision in place, it’ll be complicated to determine where to focus your resources or if your work will actually add value to your business.

It may sound simple, but here are a few key questions you need to answer:

  1. What are the social and environmental impacts of your company’s packaging throughout its lifecycle?
  2. How does that compare to your product’s impact?
  3. What issues do your stakeholders and customers care about?

With this input, you’ll be able to assess which issues are essential to your company and start outlining your primary goals.

Brand, Cost, Revenue, and Risk

Brand, cost, revenue, and risk are the core parameters you need to consider for sustainability. Which of these drives your efforts the most? And how do these objectives fit within your own company’s vision related to profitability and growth?

Plenty of business owners don’t realize that integrating sustainability into your design process can reduce transportation and material costs and even increase the performance of your product. First, consider which of these values is driving your business’ overall strategy and then start to shape your own company’s objectives and language for sustainability.

Long-term Goals

Think about what will be your position in the event of market changes and stakeholder’s concerns. Will you be reactive, or will you encourage innovation to achieve big, audacious goals? These long-term objectives must reflect how you envision your packaging in the future. Bear in mind that there are no right or wrong ways to set these goals, as they just need to be the best fit for your business.

Execute your Sustainable Packaging Strategy

Most companies fail to integrate their sustainable packaging strategy successfully due to incomplete execution. The following recommendations are critical in doing so:

Build internal confidence and knowledge by allocating resources

If sustainable packaging is new to your business, you can start by assigning new people, new tools, additional time and budget. A big part of your success will rely on identifying the right people within your company to do the job – or even hire them – and provide them with the proper time and training to learn how to do the work.
Once you count on a capable and skillful workforce, it’s time to focus your resources on the packaging design phase. Again, invest heavily in both tools and training to reassure your packaging engineers about the big impact their designs will have on your ability to meet your objectives.

Establish Incentives

Investing in resources alone is not enough to achieve more sustainable packaging. Incentives must be set to encourage workers to use these tools and training to your advantage. Think of new ways to excite them, such as making sustainability part of your annual performance review or even creating a sustainability metric within the packaging design process. All these efforts are necessary to drive change and successfully integrate sustainable practices into the packaging design.

Quality Control to Maintain Sustainability

Sustainability is a wholesome concept. It’s not just about changing your designing process or using less packaging material, but also to reduce the amount of wasted packaging. A big part of this can be achieved by preventing product recalls; therefore, quality control measures can also contribute to achieving sustainability.
As countless studies have already pointed out, automated quality control processes are transforming the way we prevent errors in packaging not only because they provide lower error rates, but because they also constitute the only way to produce consistent and repeatable results. GlobalVision, as a pioneer in this industry, offers a quality control platform capable of inspecting both digital and printed components to ensure errors never get to see the light of day.