Following a tumultuous year in which the global pandemic has caused unprecedented worldwide disruption, sustainability has returned to the top of the agenda for brands in 2021, according to packaging data specialist ecoVeritas.
The company, which provides a range of tools and expertise to efficiently minimise the environmental impact of packaging, said as we enter 2021 it has become clear that environmental issues are squarely on the minds of brand owners and manufacturers.
“Throughout 2020, hygiene and maintaining supply during the peak demands of the pandemic were, quite rightly, the dominant driver for businesses,” said Josh Remi, commercial manager at ecoVeritas. “But the landscape has shifted as we move into 2021. We have noticed an influx of enquiries from brands and packaging manufacturers as they look to address the concerns of their own customers – and ultimately consumers – to ensure that their packaging conforms not just to regulatory requirements but more importantly to their own sustainability objectives.
“This demand is compounded by the introduction of the new UK Plastic Packaging Tax, which will affect most manufacturers in the UK,” said Joshua. “Any business that manufactures in the UK or imports plastic packaging into the UK will be subject to the tax when it is implemented in April 2022. As a result, brand owners are putting pressure on manufacturers to develop and supply new packaging formats to comply or alleviate the impact of the tax completely. Couple this with the still largely unknown impact of the EU Packaging Levy, which takes effect in January 2021, clearly the time to address the issue of sustainable packaging is now.”
Josh said that while considering the environment has been a part of the long-term strategy for many businesses, its importance has accelerated in recent years as a result of extensive media focus on packaging waste, as well as in changing consumer attitudes.
“What we have seen,” he said, “is that those businesses that have spent time developing and highlighting their sustainability activities are now finding themselves with a competitive edge. Brands are now recognising that consumers are returning to their pre-pandemic habits of seeking products that reflect their own values. Following a difficult 2020, they are likely to be even more resolute in their principles, creating an even greater demand for sustainable packaging formats.”
Josh added it was worth noting that, as 2021 continues, brands and packaging manufacturers are already bracing themselves for challenging market conditions ahead, and sustainable packaging is one potential weapon in the arsenal. “Businesses are aware of the benefits they can enjoy as a result of investing in sustainability efforts, ensuring they deliver against increasing and more determined consumer demands,” he said.
“The upsurge in enquiries we have been receiving would definitely suggest this fact is not lost on brand owners and manufacturers,” said Remi, “and it’s clear that the issue is now returning to the top of the agenda as we slowly move into the ‘new normal’.”