Thinking outside the box
Achieving breakthrough improvements in sustainable packaging is more difficult than simply substituting one material for another. In fact, for many, the mere mention of the term can bring to mind flimsy plastic water bottles and noisy chip bags, designs with laudable intent but a high potential for detracting from the customer experience. Many companies are seeking to improve product stewardship, achieve waste-reduction goals, and save money through sustainable packaging. However, simply changing the materials or design without considering the ramifications up and down the value chain can result in packaging that falls short of its primary purpose — preserving the integrity of a product as it makes its way to the customer.
Sustainable packaging requires a healthy dose of creativity, strategic flexibility, and coordination across multiple functions of the organization. Companies who can embed sustainable packaging considerations throughout their supply chain management processes, from demand-and-supply planning to delivery and returns, can realize substantial environmental and economic benefits.