JTPP: Green Packaging Leads to Greener Bottom Line
By John Walsh
Through a special
arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article
from The Journal of Trading Partner Practices (JTPP), the official online
publication of the Vendor Compliance Federation (VCF), Trade Promotion
Management Associates (TPMA), and the Federation of Credit and Financial
buy into the warnings about climate change or dismiss it as a bunch of
hot air, trading partners recognize that green initiatives offer a chance
to build their brands and drive cost savings. As a result, new strategies
aimed at reducing waste and conforming to environmental best practices
in packaging are taking root.
At the VCF VisionSync
2009 Conference in Tampa, FL, June Anderson, partner at the Packaging Knowledge
Group, said the business case for sustainability was given a major boost
from the world’s biggest retailer. Walmart is leading the way with its
sustainable packaging initiative and its plans to develop eco-ratings for
the products it sells, which she said will force other retailers to boost
their sustainability efforts. “Walmart will be asking all of you to help
it meet its packaging and sustainability goals."
Ms. Anderson said organizations
should start by developing their vision and goals around sustainable packaging,
gather data and identify key metrics that will help them measure and assess
performance. Some of the metrics currently being measured in many organizations
include reducing emissions and waste, cutting back on water and electricity
consumption, and utilizing alternative resources in making products and
identified six steps to achieving sustainable packaging that makes sound
- Eliminate Materials: Optimize the design of packaging that reduces space
and eliminates unnecessary materials.
- Change Materials: Utilize virgin materials from renewable sources and
design for recycling and re-use.
- Reduce Materials: Use only the amount of material necessary and optimize
- Improve Cube Utilization: Redesign packaging for optimal cube utilization
and easier transport.
- Change Energy Sources: Use renewable energy sources for manufacturing
and distribution and participate in renewable energy credit programs to drive
- Change the Product: Optimize product design for less packaging need.
also cited the case of Nike, which introduced the Nike Trash Talk line
of basketball shoes made entirely from manufacturing waste. The upper shoe
is pieced from leather and synthetic wastes from the factory floor and
the mid-sole uses scrap-ground foam from factory production.
Today, Ms. Anderson
noted, materials and converting processes are mostly fossil fuel based,
although some cutting edge companies are making the conversion to renewable
energy sources. “In the future, you will see more and more companies making
the transition,” she said. Ms. Anderson cited the examples of wind turbines
on top of the exterior lighting at some Walmart stores. In determining
carbon footprints, “it is a well known fact that nearly 75 percent of the
impact comes from the supply chain and is unreported.” Ultimately, many
changes in business practices will be required.
Questions: To what degree do you see any momentum toward sustainable
packaging gaining ground in 2010? What will support the trend? Which
steps or solutions around sustainable packaging make the most sense for
brands and retailers?