Consumer goods firms are increasingly implementing sustainability initiatives into their packaging strategies, amid mounting pressure from consumers, investors and governments, a new study by GlobalData has found.
A recent poll by GlobalData found that close to 35% of companies have changed their behaviour in the past 12 months to better achieve their ESG goals, with many doubling down on offering ethical, sustainable purchase choices to consumers.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover
“As we step into a post-COVID-19 pandemic world, consumers are reassessing their purchases and manufacturers are aligning their products to the 4Rs of sustainability – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover – given the target date for various ESG standards edge closer," commented Kiran Raj, practice head of disruptive tech at GlobalData.
"Sustainability seems to have outgrown corporate social responsibility (CSR) tokenism to stand at the top of manufacturers’ business agenda, thus accelerating the shift towards a circular economy.”
Among the recent initiatives flagged by the group include Coca-Cola teaming up with O-I Glass, Inc. on an initiative to recycle glass bottles; Nestlé investing in the Italian venture capital Eureka! Fund to accelerate the research of innovative packaging solutions; and PepsiCo and Carlsberg coming together to reduce reliance on single-use packaging.
'Not The Ultimate Solution'
“Although recycling is a step that companies are heading in the right direction, it is not the ultimate solution to sustainability as many recyclable plastics are simply not recycled and considerable energy is required to turn those used products into new ones," added Shagun Sachdeva, project manager of disruptive tech at GlobalData. "As plastics remain in circulation and recycling waste ends up in landfills, the focus is shifting more towards green packaging materials.”
Sachdeva added that even though a number of key FMCG players have sustainable goals in place for the next five to eight years, many are still facing complexities in terms of scaling, long-term planning, and slow market adoption.
"However, in the long run, it will be interesting to watch how companies will make impactful changes on a global scale in the sustainability game," she added.