Driving E-Commerce Growth Through Sustainable Packaging
Brands seek sustainable packaging that also shows their organizational values.
The packaging industry’s ever-evolving landscape — from newer technologies to changing supply chain needs — means that we, as suppliers, must keep up to speed with the trends to meet customer´s demands. Brands are now looking for more efficient packaging that will not only make their product stand out at the point of purchase, but that also speaks of their organizational values, with sustainability becoming an increasingly decisive factor.
Currently, the global demand for online goods has also created new challenges for the industry: How to meet these online preferences without further contributing to waste generation and abiding the growing sustainability demands?
Smurfit Kappa packaging design experts have developed eSmart. This is an e-retail offering that is the culmination of years of experience helping e-retailers optimize opportunities in the online sales space with sustainable solutions. eSmart guides companies through 12 key areas relating to the optimization of e-retail processes, supply chain efficiency and delivering a superior consumer experience.
As online sales grow and consumer expectations evolve in an increasingly digitalized world, the pressure is on brand owners and e-retailers to stand out from the crowd. Packaging plays a vital role in helping businesses grow profitably, manage supply chain complexity and deliver the right brand experience. By bringing this e-retail offering together under the eSmart umbrella, it is even simpler for companies to find the packaging solutions that make business sense.
Today 75% of shoppers prefer sustainable packaging solutions. Designing environmentally friendly packaging made from recyclable, renewable and biodegradable materials such as paper is the gateway to a more sustainable packaging future.
Better Planet Packaging
A key part of our sustainability agenda is the #BetterPlanetPackaging (BPP) initiative, through which we reimagine more sustainable packaging solutions to address the growing challenge of packaging waste and litter that ends up in oceans and landfill. As an industry leader in sustainable packaging, we have the responsibility to respond to the challenges facing the environment and society today.
The BPP initiative seeks to reduce waste generated by unsustainable packaging solutions, thus preventing this waste from reaching landfills and oceans worldwide. To achieve this, we are applying our strength in renewable, recyclable and biodegradable materials, packaging design, packaging recycling and industry leading expertise to develop innovative alternatives.
Sustainable e-Solution Stories
One customer story is a recent development that Smurfit Kappa Brazil worked on hand in hand with our customer, Granja Mantiqueira. Located primarily in the Mantiqueira Mountains in southeastern Brazil, it started as a small family farm in 1987. Over the next three decades, Granja Mantiqueira has become the largest egg producer in South America — and the 12th largest egg producer in the world. The farm became cage-free and the portion that is currently Certified Humane produces eggs for the Happy Eggs brand and Taeq, the brand produced for Pão de Açúcar supermarkets in Brazil.
Together, our Brazil counterpart and Granja designed packaging that allows the farm to sell eggs via e-commerce through a subscription plan called The Egg Club.
The team was aware that packaging was critical to protect a product as fragile as eggs, and they tapped into the expertise and experience of the eSmart service. They identified a packaging concept that protects the product, creates a positive consumer experience, is sustainable and is driving sales growth.
Another example was developed in Colombia. There, a fresh flower grower sought expertise in e-commerce packaging. Enjoy Flowers has been growing flowers for 50 years. The company works with local farms to offer expertly designed arrangements for one-time deliveries, subscriptions and special occasions such as weddings. Enjoy Flowers sourcing comes from top flower growers in Colombia, bringing the stems to the customer’s door fewer days after cutting. Compared to 8-14 days of an average supermarket or florist bouquet, this offers about an extra week of life in the flowers.
We applied eSmart to develop an innovative e-commerce packaging solution that could withstand a complex supply chain from the farm to the United States, while preserving the quality and freshness of the flowers. Enjoy Flowers experienced a 300% surge in sales growth and gained an unmatched competitive advantage because of the customer experience it is now delivering.
We strongly believe that proper packaging design leads to sustainable solutions. This evidently benefits customers and our planet. We hope to continue inspiring our industry to drive change and hope e-retailers and consumers continue believing in the power that paper-based packaging has to reduce the use of non-sustainable waste.
Smurfit Kappa is an FTSE 100 company and one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging in the world, with operations in over 30 countries. Visit smurfitkappa.com.
Recycled Fiber: The Future of Sustainable Packaging
By Michele Bartolini | Senior Marketing Director, Sustana Group
As the packaging industry grows and reacts to societal shifts, it’s more important than ever to look at the big picture and work toward systemic change. We’re all familiar with recyclable packaging — we know to put our used paper, plastics and metals in the recycling bin. But the industry is still learning how crucial it really is to use recycled materials to create these products in the first place. That’s where recycled fiber packaging comes into the picture.
The circular journey of recycled fiber packaging begins by recovering paper from MRFs, which is turned into post-consumer recycled fiber. Then, the clean fiber is used to create new products that consumers can use and recycle again. For example, when paper cups are sorted efficiently, recycled and made into new paper cups, the original fibers used to make it are becoming useful again, instead of decomposing in a landfill.
At Sustana Fiber, the recycling mills take in 2.2 million pounds of wastepaper each day, processing it into more than 230,000 tons of post-consumer recycled fiber per year. This recycled fiber is then used by paper mills to manufacture paper and paperboard, paper cups, packaging and containers, and food-grade packaging.
The higher the percentage of recycled content, the better it can be for the environment. For example, Sustana Fiber conducted a Life Cycle Assessment, which found that EnviroLife products have a much lower environmental footprint compared to virgin (non-recycled) fiber on the North American market.
What It Means for Companies and Purpose-Driven Brands
Major brands are already recognizing that recycled content is a powerful way to reduce their environmental impact and prove their commitment to sustainability for today’s eco-conscious consumers. Coffee giant Starbucks has proven that it’s possible to recycle its paper cups, diverting 25 million of them to Sustana in a pilot project. Last year, McDonald’s – the world’s largest restaurant company — also announced it aims to have 100% of its consumer packaging made from renewable, recycled or certified sources at all of its restaurants.
Companies using packaging made from recycled fiber or other renewable materials demonstrate leadership in sustainability and prove their commitment to the environment. Simply put, sustainable practices are the future of the packaging industry.
Sustana Fiber manufactures premium, sustainable FSC-certified recycled fibers for the paper industry and food-grade packaging. Visit sustanagroup.com.