According to 58 per cent of branding, packaging and marketing professionals, environmental issues have become so mainstream that consumers now automatically assume packaging will be environmentally friendly, putting the responsibility firmly in the hands of the manufacturer.
The study of 500 of the UK’s leading branding, packaging and marketing managers was commissioned by easyFairs, organisers of the trade show PACKAGING & PRINT PORTFOLIO 2013.
It found that consumers are so likely to expect the issue of environmental packaging to have already been addressed at source that only 3 per cent of the respondents believe a consumer’s buying behaviour will be significantly influenced by the fact an item is packaged in environmentally friendly packaging.
However, those surveyed do not feel all the onus should be just on manufacturers. For instance, 45 per cent said the retailer should be taking the lead when it comes to sustainable packaging, while just 19 per cent think it is the manufacturer’s duty to ‘green up’ the packaging supply chain.
When asked to name which of the top ten retailers in the UK has the best environmental approach to packaging, Marks and Spencer comes well ahead of the pack with 32 per cent of the votes, followed by John Lewis/Waitrose with 22 per cent, and then the Co-operative Group, nominated by 15 per cent.
Even when respondents were able to nominate any FMCG or retail brand that should be more responsible in its approach to packaging, the focus went back onto retail with Tesco being the most spontaneously nominated by 9 per cent. The second most frequent suggestion was Amazon, with 4 per cent of marketing professionals saying the online retail giant should be doing more.
However, when it comes to recycling, the respondents think the responsibility then shifts. Only 14 per cent think retailers should be responsible for packaging waste and recycling; the majority feel the onus should lie with the local council (28 per cent) or the consumer (23 per cent).
Sustainability remains a hot topic for many businesses, and with this in mind PACKAGING INNOVATIONS, taking place on 27 & 28 February 2013 at the Birmingham’s NEC, will be holding the BIG Packaging Debate, where a panel of packaging professionals will be debating the topic that ‘consumers don’t buy sustainable packaging’.
Matt Benyon, Managing Director at easyFairs UK Ltd, says: “We hope the debate will shed some light on consumers’ perception of how their goods are packaged and how their buying behaviour is influenced by environmental concerns, especially with the Government’s recent legislation for increased statutory packaging recycling targets from 2013 to 2017.
“If the majority of packaging professionals are dubious whether sustainable packaging actually sells, as consumers are more concerned about price or the product they are buying rather than the packaging, then what should they be focusing on and how can they communicate better to consumers about their initiatives to reduce their environmental impact? Whatever the outcome, I am sure it will be a heated one!”