While brands fight to stay relevant in this age of rapidly increasing environmental awareness, a whole host of regulations and targets are driving change in almost every type of business.

With new worldwide environmental guidelines and recycling targets coming into play, the U.K. wants to lead the fight to remove single-use plastic entirely to help combat global warming.

But many businesses will find themselves behind if they simply follow the pack and don’t take direct action to adapt their environmental efforts, warns luxury retail packaging provider Delta Global.

The company’s CEO and Founder, Robert Lockyer, and Commercial Director, Stuart Gannon, share their advice to businesses facing the challenge of ethically adapting:

1. Revolutionize your Brand’s Thinking

Sustainability is all about pursuing economic growth while maintaining a global environmental balance. Rampant consumerism has created issues with waste – and we need to challenge people’s perceptions, or we cannot progress.

“Sustainability has got to be part of your brand’s DNA and the oxygen you breathe,” said Lockyer.

“It’s about a change of mindset for both brands and consumers. You either want to be sustainable or you don’t and we need to accept the consequences that there’s generally speaking going to be an additional cost required to do it properly.”

2. Respect and Communicate Your Brand’s Message

With a more eco-conscious and digitally led generation comes stronger expectations for businesses to be more ethical, flexible and faster to deliver. They need to communicate their values in order to retain those customers who now only want to be associated with brands which echo their own moral standpoint.

“Sustainability isn’t just a trend, it’s a crisis that requires serious commitment. With e-commerce, you don’t have the opportunity to speak to your customers at store level, so your messaging has to grip the consumer," said Lockyer.

Echoing Delta Global’s own promise to be sustainable in everything they do, the company aims to reduce and offer reusable solutions.

“It’s ironic that we are committed to a reduction in packaging — even though we are a packaging supplier,” Lockyer added.

3. Regenerate Value in Waste

Companies should give more thought into how they deal with their waste as it could hold a value in being reused or recycled rather than simply being sent to landfill sites.

“We need to create a circular economy. Nowadays, waste holds commodity value if it can be automatically recycled back into the chain. Businesses need to be considering their post-production waste and not just post-consumer waste,” said Gannon.

4. Minimize Touchpoints in the Supply Chain

Businesses need to focus “upstream” or further along the supply chain and consider what can be done to reduce CO2 emissions and overseas transportation.

“By not shipping a box full of air around the world, we are reducing our environmental footprint,” Gannon said.

“Flat-pack solutions increases storage space and lessens transportation; manufacturing closer to the end user will also dramatically impact your sustainable credibility.

“Allowing the brands we work with to have packaging stored at a local facility decreases the touchpoints in the supply chain and can reduces CO2 emissions by as much as 70%.”

5. Automate and Use Data Intelligence

Make the most of your software to produce faster and analytical predictions to help you keep up with fast-changing trends.

“Rarely do brands plan for a year’s worth of demand as one style of packaging may not be relevant for them in six months.

“The 24/7 online intelligence system (Delta Intelligence) we have incorporates auto replenishment, demand planning as well as short- to long-term trend forecasting, all of which are paramount to ensuring inventory optimization," said Lockyer.

6. Don’t Grow Complacent

“The brand life-cycle can be short lived, especially now that consumers are following fleeting influencer and social media trends. Complacency is the killer to any brand," said Lockyer.

“It’s not just about the convenience of selling cheap goods and fast delivery, it’s all about the greater balance between caring for your customer and respecting the world we live in. Our method is that together, we can do it better."

Leicestershire-based Delta Global, which also has offices in New York and Hong Kong, delivers quality solutions for a variety of sectors across the globe, including fashion, cosmetics and footwear. Specializing in luxury papers, fabrics, bags, boxes and accessories, the company also offers sustainable finishes and embossing to a luxury clientele, including Tom Ford and Estee Lauder.