Magazine article New Zealand Management

OPINION : Thought Leaders - A Hard Wrap for Packaging

Magazine article New Zealand Management

OPINION : Thought Leaders - A Hard Wrap for Packaging

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Brosnan

Last month the Packaging Council hosted its 5th Environmental Packaging Awards evening. You might say it was the packaging industry's Big Day Out. Looking at the amazing entries, I wondered why it is that packaging gets such a hard wrap.

Ask people what they think in general about packaging and you will likely get the response that "There's just too much of it" and "It just ends up in our landfills or as litter".

However, packaging prevents far more waste than it generates and I would go even further and say that under-packaging may lead to higher food wastage. That said, we are continually learning about how we can minimise the environmental impacts of all products, including their packaging, and as an organisation we have an important role in ensuring the industry complies with its own Voluntary Code of Practice.

For most of the 27 years that I have been part of the grocery industry, packaging has been chosen to protect and preserve products from production to consumption. For marketers, packaging provides an opportunity to inform and to make their brand stand out on the supermarket shelf.

But packaging is now an integral part of every company's environmental image. It tells a story about how committed we are to reducing the impact we have on the planet. As business guru Jim Collins wrote, "Leaders are infected with an incurable need to produce sustainable results - resolved to do whatever it takes to make the company great - passionate, intense, focused".

New Zealand consumers want products which consider the resources used to make them and what will happen to them after they have been used.

When the Packaging Council first started its Awards programme, early adopters of sustainable design provided products in anticipation of the market following. This is changing at a pace. The Government's announcement of sustainable procurement criteria for paper products, vehicles and light bulbs reflects this appetite for products that literally don't cost the earth.

Sustainability was not much talked about in the 1990s but we all know it's part of the mainstream conversation we are having today in our businesses and with our customers.

I am involved with the Make a Difference campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags at our checkouts. With prominent and consistent messages and alternatives available, people are now remembering their eco bags when they go shopping. …

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