How to Uphold Sustainability During the Cost Crisis
Sustainability has been at the forefront of business strategies these past few years. Trends in corporate sustainability have been consistent, with some saying 2021 was when sustainable business went mainstream. Expanding climate crisis, growth in CleanTech, and rising pressures from stakeholders and Governments were some of the major influences in businesses tackling environmental and social issues. Now faced with the cost crisis and one of the highest inflation rates for around 40 years, will sustainability be placed on the back burner?
How Sustainable Are We?
Businesses are actively integrating sustainable practices, that go far beyond reputation management. Companies have noted that their positive contribution has seen savings in energy, retaining and motivating employees, value through growth and return on capital. So far 376 of the largest companies around the world have signed the climate pledge.
It doesn’t just stop at businesses though. Consumers’ demand for sustainability isn’t wavering. In the past year, consumers have been adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, whether that’s choosing brands that have environmental or ethical values and practices, or no longer purchasing from brands that are simply doing nothing tangible. Consumers are embracing circularity and 64% are actively reducing their consumption of single-use plastic. The majority of consumers consider if a product has minimal or recyclable/biodegradable packaging as being sustainable and 31% consider this when purchasing a product. Consumers’ top five most important environmentally sustainable and ethical practices are:
- Producing sustainable packaging and products
- Reducing waste in the manufacturing process
- Committing to ethical working practices
- Reducing carbon footprint
- Respect for human rights
Why Upholding Sustainability During the Cost Crisis Matters
At times of rapidly increasing costs, businesses need to focus on how they can control costs through sustainability. A common misconception is that sustainability comes with an extra price tag, which might be the case in the short term, but in the long term can deliver incredible cost benefits. Turning to sustainability can help manage costs whilst reducing your carbon footprint. But what is the key to making sustainability and cost savings achievable? It can be hard to imagine where to even get started.
Sustainable packaging is good for your bottom line and your consumers. The use of eco-friendly packaging can cut costs and reduce waste. We’ve put together our top sustainable packaging tips to get you off to a green start!
1. Understand the lifecycle of your packaging
Packaging comes into existence in one of three ways – virgin materials or partially or fully recycled materials. Choosing lightweight sustainable packaging can help you cut carbon emissions and costs during shipping. You should consider the end of life of your packaging. The best sustainable materials help the end-user sustainably dispose of packaging by recycling or reusing it.
2. Choose sustainable materials
Understanding the lifecycle of your packaging can help you choose a sustainable material. Keeping an eye on costs will be at the top of your agenda right now, but it doesn’t mean buying the cheapest products. The cheapest packaging isn’t always the best quality or fit. Using standard sized boxes, filled with bubble wrap counteracts the good that was intended, but from a sustainability and cost perspective.
Reducing excess packaging and choosing a sustainable option will result in lighter and smaller shipments, helping to minimise emissions and cost.
Corrugated cardboard packaging is a durable, yet lightweight option that protects the contents of your package. Sourcing good quality corrugated cardboard means you can use less, whilst reducing your transportation and inventory storage costs.
3. Create a bespoke design
Every inch of your packaging that doesn’t contain your product is costing you money. The visible costs of standard packaging often cloud the hidden ones. From the surface, you can see the cost of your packaging material, but beneath those the effects could be costing you damage, storage, transportation, product/pallet rejection, time, efficiency and company image.
Choosing a bespoke packaging design could revolutionise your packaging operations. The initial investment of a bespoke design will quickly pay off, creating an enhanced operation, reduced costs and long-term benefits:
- Reduced damages and returns
- Improved productivity
- Easier returns and disposal of packaging
- Reduced transport and storage costs
4. Avoid unnecessary packaging
Everything you put inside your box is a cost. A few things you can do to reduce packaging waste and costs is choose sustainable alternatives, eliminate void fill and remove plastic wrap. Not to mention the Plastic Packaging Tax, which could be placing unnecessary costs on your production line.
5. The hidden savings of a packaging audit
A packaging audit is a foundation for saving you money whilst increasing value. When it comes to packaging, financial impacts can be hidden throughout your supply chain. Spoiled or damaged loads, production downtime, packaging waste and plastic packaging tax could be costing you the earth (quite literally). Working closely with a team of packaging experts, that have extensive knowledge to help you refine processes, optimise your packaging, and create cost savings, whilst being more sustainable.
The Bigger Picture
The cost of doing business during the energy crisis is a big expense right now. However, the cost-of-living crisis shouldn’t cause companies to stop their sustainable practices. Looking at consumer expectations and the invaluable benefits that practising sustainability brings, will help save money in the long run, strengthen your bottom line, and help you weather economic hardship.
It goes without saying that the cost of being unsustainable is detrimental to the environment and your business. If you are looking for sustainable packaging options that will save you money, please get in touch!