Over the last few years, sustainability has often been classed as an ‘add-on’. Something to aspire towards or something to include if the budget allows. But such outdated ideas have started to change. The beginning of 2020 was celebrated as the year sustainability was set to take off. Unfortunately, a global pandemic and subsequent lockdown brought more pressing concerns and sustainability was forced to take a back seat. A ban on plastic straws was due to come into force in April 2020 but due to the pandemic, Defra pushed back the start date to October 2020. The COP26 UN Climate Conference, due to be hosted in Glasgow, has also been pushed back almost a year to November 2021.
The corporates putting sustainability first
But within the corporate world, businesses are beginning to prioritise sustainability. Research published by Circular Online found that 79% of consumers are changing their purchasing habits based on social responsibility, inclusiveness and environmental impact. In short, consumers are more likely to buy from companies that they see as more sustainable and companies are responding. Danone’s Evian has recently released a label-less water bottle made from 100% recycled plastic (except the lid). By 2025 they intend to halve the amount of virgin plastic they use worldwide while aiming for 100% recycled PET in Europe.
For consumers who wish to reduce single use plastic in their weekly shop, Tesco have partnered with Loop to enable their customers to buy their weekly essentials in reusable containers that can be dropped off or collected after use to be cleaned and reused. Like a deposit return scheme, customers pay a small deposit for each piece of packaging which is then fully refunded on return or collection of the packaging. Brands that will soon be available from the Loop platform include Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Coca-Cola, Danone, Nivea and Persil.
What about greenwashing?
Greenwashing refers to a company using misleading information to make themselves look more environmentally friendly than they really are. Greenwashing accusations are becoming more common and as a result consumers are less likely to trust the sustainability claims of corporations at face value. For example, a number of corporates are able to refer to themselves as carbon neutral. Carbon neutral means no net release of carbon into the atmosphere has occurred, usually achieved by off-setting carbon emissions through projects such as tree planting. Whilst a company striving towards being carbon neutral is commendable, the phrase itself can be mis-leading. It is commendable to plant trees but those trees will take around 30 years to grow and begin absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. So it seems somewhat unethical for a company to claim they have off-set their emissions when many other factors need to be taken into consideration. To avoid greenwashing it’s important to be as honest as possible with your customers. More consumers are becoming educated on environmental matters and you need to ensure you are transparent regarding your sustainability claims.
How do I incorporate sustainability into my own business?
According to Edie Newsroom, a survey conducted by E.ON of 500 UK based business decision makers found 72% said that the pandemic has made them reconsider the environmental credentials of their business. Many businesses are looking to create more resilience in their supply chains to account for any future shocks.
Examine your product’s outer packaging
An easy way you can create more sustainability is with your outer packaging. If you pack your products in cardboard boxes, opt for once used cardboard boxes. Reuseabox can help you find the packaging solution to suit your requirements. With long term supply contracts, we have an on-going supply of once used and surplus packaging solutions that are both low cost and better for the environment. When you opt for once used packaging, you cut out all of the negative effects caused by the recycling and re-manufacturing processes.
Reusable packaging isn’t just something for consumers to get excited about. When you introduce reuse into your supply chain, you can achieve a whole range of environmental benefits including,
– Lower carbon footprint
– Less water usage
– Less energy usage
– Trees saved
Contact us today to find out more about our new surplus and once used cardboard boxes for industry, or check out our website.