Businesses place packaging at the heart of sustainability strategies

NEW research has highlighted the role packaging is playing in helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint.

The Sustainability and Profitability Survey, carried out by Smurfit Kappa, polled 200 senior business executives in the UK. The findings revealed that sustainability is driving all R&D and new product development in more than a third of companies.

The research also showed how businesses are focusing on packaging specifically as a key innovation opportunity with seven in 10 businesses citing materials in packaging as their biggest sustainability challenge, followed by collection and recycling (59%) and the materials used to manufacture products (56%). A massive nine in 10 businesses have included used or recycled material in products/packaging as part of sustainability strategies.

Arco Berkenbosch, Smurfit Kappa VP of innovation & development said, “This research highlights that businesses are now having to address sustainability in a challenging economic environment and consumers will continue to drive the sustainability agenda. There are plenty of easy wins for suppliers to tackle in the global packaging industry without driving up significant costs, starting with reducing the amount of empty packaging in the eCommerce channel and the use of plastic when transporting goods in the supply chain.

“We have found that there is growing demand for the products in our Better Planet Packaging portfolio which are sustainable alternatives for single-use plastic. As the shift to sustainable packaging intensifies, it is critical businesses continue to invest in innovative solutions in order to respond to consumer demand, improve brand perception and deliver successful sustainability strategies.”

The survey also found that 37% of respondents rate packaging design as important when making a purchasing decision. More than half of customers have purchased a product specifically because it had reusable or biodegradable packaging in the past six months.