Raconteur

Future of Packaging 2020

Issue link: https://raconteur.uberflip.com/i/1289441

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 2 of 19

R A C O N T E U R . N E T 03 /future-packaging-2020 re-pandemic, packaging was on a roll. The global market value in 2019 was $917 billion, according to research by Smithers, with forecasts it would top the one-trillion mark by 2024. As the climate emergency loomed large in the minds of consum- ers, numbers for environmentally responsible options were strong too. A YouGov survey last year found half of UK shoppers were willing to pay more for sustainable packaging. So how has the coronavirus changed the game? In general, according to Nicholas Mockett, partner at Moorgate Capital, most packaging manufacturers have seen strong sales during the pandemic, which augurs well for funding and finance. "Investors do not invest if there is no prospect of a return on investment. Fortunately for packaging, the vital role it plays in supply chains, as evi - denced by the robust performance during COVID-19, suggests investor appetite will be sustained," he says. Inevitably, there have been win- ners and losers. It has been boom time for ecommerce, including the "recommerce" market for previ- ously owned, new or used goods, plus online shopping and direct-to- consumer models. Demand for med- ical packaging is atypically high, for obvious reasons, plus food provision for people staying home to eat, espe- cially takeaway meals, has seen a spike in unit sales. All these uplifts in end-user demand bring with them opportuni- ties for transit packaging and whole- sale business happening along the supply chain. On the downside, volumes in heav- ily impacted market sectors, such as air travel, tourism and hospitality, plus some high street retail, notably fashion, have sadly been hit hard. Where then does this leave sus- tainable packaging? The more eco-conscious end of the general consumer market has held up sur- prisingly well, even advanced in some cases. Data from more than 40,000 con- sumers in 23 countries, collected by global intelligence platform Streetbees, reveals 35 per cent of people worldwide have changed their sustainability habits, since the end of May, for the better. Naturally, the question of hygiene shot up the consumer agenda, espe- cially in the early days of lockdown when fears about the virus sur- viving on materials and surfaces heightened the risk factor associated with anything arriving at your door. In response, a new logistics lan- guage emerged, explains Amelia Dales, business development man- ager at Garçon Wines. "Contactless delivery is now a term that has become part of our vocabulary and has allowed many who have had to self-isolate to access everyday household essentials safely." Sustainable packaging pioneers able to adapt to these new criteria are pros- pering, including Garçon Wines that has seen unprecedented demand for its contactless supply of climate and letterbox-friendly flat wine bottles. "COVID-19 has redefined sus- tainability," says Kaushal Shah, founder and chief executive of sus- tainable papers specialist envoPAP. Fundamentally, though, the sce- nario remains simple. "Consumers' current top priorities are staying healthy and spending as little as possible. The real challenge is to deliver a truly sustainable packag- ing product that ticks both boxes," adds Shah. The evidence from waste man- agement is also that the pandemic has forced packaging companies to speed up decisions on sustainable solutions and bolster their green credentials. But again this view carries a caveat, according to Roger Wright, waste strategy and packag- ing manager at Biffa. "Hygiene and sustainability are by no means mutually exclusive; the bigger challenge for businesses will be controlling costs," he says. Safety and sustainability are not always an easy match though. Terms such as "single use" and "plastic" have become red-flag badges of dis - honour for a Blue Planet generation of shoppers. The fear among environmental- ists is that a reactionary shift back to a more risk-averse mindset post- COVID might see more packaging, particularly plastic, not less, with the excess meaning more resource consumption, CO2 and waste, and less sustainability. Even with single-use solu- tions designed to assuage hygiene concerns, however, there are still ways to level up the safety and sus- tainability equation a little, for instance by optimising use of recy- cled content, says Dales. "Companies that survive this challenging dec- ade will manage to balance these elements sufficiently, but those that want to excel should lead from a 'sus- tainability-first' perspective to have the greatest positive impact and odds of success," she says. Following the upheavals of lock- down, the packaging industry is also dealing with disruption of a different kind as restrictions ease. So, for instance, pubs and bars reo- pening have thrown up new pack- aging-related changes in consumer behaviour, motivated by hygiene considerations, says Adrian Curry, managing director of Encirc, a mar- ket leader in container glass. "Our research with YouGov showed people choosing glass bottles over pint glasses. Some 60 per cent of UK adults say they're more cautious about drinking from reusable glasses due to fears around contamination and four in ten people are more likely to choose glass-bottled beverages than before lockdown," says Curry. By contrast, another example of a potential trade-off between safety and sustainability sees consum - ers wanting coffee shops to resume serving in reusable cups, despite hygiene issues. Furthermore, in a sign of confidence in sustainable packaging returning, TerraCycle launched its zero-waste refillable UK shopping pilot, in July, in collaboration with Tesco. With existing operations in the United States and France, Loop had delayed its original start date due to COVID, but is now pressing ahead, with major brands, from Heinz to Nivea, signed up. Reusables also received a signif - icant show of support when more than 125 health experts from 19 countries signed a statement with Greenpeace USA assuring retailers and consumers such packaging is safe during COVID-19. Ultimately, then, the message from clients is sustainability will be the number-one priority for the future of packaging, even or perhaps espe - cially, in a post-pandemic world, says Dr Tim Breker, co-founder and managing director of reusable pack- aging-as-a-service pioneer VYTAL. "Reusable packaging and circu- lar-economy models are increasing in importance. Hygiene is a given, whereas sustainability is a differen- tiating criterion for consumers." COVID crisis puts sustainability in focus FUTURE OF PACKAGING @raconteur /raconteur.net @raconteur_london As health and safety becomes consumers' top concern, some fear the coronavirus may have halted sustainable packaging's progress Oliver Balch Journalist specialising in sustainability, business and travel, and author of travelogues on South America, India and Wales. Sarah Dawood Journalist and former deputy editor at Design Week, covering the creative industries, design and the public sector. Olivia Gagan Journalist writing about energy, sustainability and culture for titles including The Times, The New York Times and Time Out London. Mark Hillsdon Contributor to titles such as The Guardian and BBC Countryfile, writing on topics including sustainability, wildlife, health and sport. Marcus Lawrence Journalist, content specialist, and former editor of B2B publications including CSO Magazine, Business Chief and Energy Digital. Jim McClelland Sustainable futurist, speaker and writer, specialising in the built environment, corporate social responsibility and ecosystem services. Rich McEachran Journalist covering tech, startups and innovation, writing for The Guardian, The Telegraph and Professional Engineering. Distributed in Jim McClelland Published in association with Contributors Although this publication is funded through advertising and sponsorship, all editorial is without bias and sponsored features are clearly labelled. For an upcoming schedule, partnership inquiries or feedback, please call +44 (0)20 3877 3800 or email info@raconteur.net Raconteur is a leading publisher of special-interest content and research. Its publications and articles cover a wide range of topics, including business, finance, sustainability, healthcare, lifestyle and technology. Raconteur special reports are published exclusively in The Times and The Sunday Times as well as online at raconteur.net The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources the Proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher. © Raconteur Media raconteur.net Shyntartanya via Shutterstock P 80% 57% Ipsos 2020 are likely to avoid products that have a lot of packaging within the next year, to limit their contribution to climate change of global consumers agree that manufacturers should be obliged to help with the recycling and reuse of the packaging they produce said in May they had purchased products that are packaged using hygienic packaging 20% S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y Publishing manager Oliver Collins Deputy editor Francesca Cassidy Head of production Hannah Smallman Design Sara Gelfgren Kellie Jerrard Harry Lewis-Irlam Celina Lucey Colm McDermott Samuele Motta Jack Woolrich Art director Joanna Bird Associate editor Peter Archer Managing editor Benjamin Chiou Digital content executive Taryn Brickner Design director Tim Whitlock Peter Yeung Award-winning journalist with a background in social anthropology, featured in The Guardian, Wired and the BBC.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Raconteur - Future of Packaging 2020