Communicating sustainability through packaging
Packaging is a first and last potential means of communicating your brand’s efforts in sustainability, as consumers “meet” the product on shelves, and dispose of them at the product’s end of life. View this slideshow from The Hartman Group to understand how consumers understand sustainability and what they're looking for on your packaging.
Consumer involvement with sustainability is influenced by a very broad array of factors, and for consumers sustainability is more than just "green." As literal "consumers" they also consider the social, economic and personal ramifications for adopting certain products, not just the "environmental" consequences.
Yet while it's these factors and the product contents that ultimately influence their perceptions of quality (which may in turn influence notions of sustainability), packaging and packaging communications are the first and last impression consumers have of many brands today.
The social life of products has increasingly taken on greater significance as consumers seek the stories behind product origins, content, production materials, and how easily a product can be used, stored or disposed of. Sustainably oriented packaging (e.g., packaging that makes use of recycled materials, can be repurposed or shows a reduction of packaging) is quickly becoming a consumer expectation - yet it isn't a primary purchase motivator.
Ultimately a product's essential make-up (such as ingredients) most strongly influences perceptions of its sustainability and motivates purchase. However, in fast-moving CPG categories, such as beverages, high frequency packaging use and disposal has translated into increasing consumer awareness of brands and companies embracing - or not embracing - what are now viewed as first steps in sustainability practices....