A former colleague once shared with me the fabulous metaphor: “If the house is on fire, there is no point in decorating the living room.” A statement which seems rather appropriate in the current climate (excuse the pun).
I am fortunate to be involved front and centre in the evolving conversation around packaging sustainability, brands and the consumer, and have been helping brands embark on their packaging journey for approaching two decades.
It is no longer acceptable for a brand to have just a great product (although they need that too). Authenticity, provenance, honesty, clarity and purpose all play a part in establishing trust with today’s fickle consumer. At the recent Cannes Lions Festival, Unilever CEO Alan Jope supported this notion, noting that consumers are rapidly shifting towards brands that ‘get it’, and embrace a role in society that goes well beyond what they sell.
With ever-increasing scrutiny, there is groundbreaking innovation underway across the packaging sector. This is accelerated undoubtedly by the ripple from Blue Planet; however back in your own ‘living room’, more can and must be done.
Flexo is not short of its own jargon and the education and training of staff is absolutely key to success. There is, however, a new language in which the sector needs to become conversant: EPR, SDGs, TUV, CCC, LCA, EN13432, PCR, SUP, bio, eco, circular, net zero…
There is increasing evidence that sustainability efforts don’t hurt profits, and soon they’ll drive them. Linking targets for sustainability to the economic case (ie. make improvements leading to reduced inventory usage), employees begin thinking about sustainability as more than just ‘doing good’ but also ‘doing well.’
Do you still set up a press at 300m/min, leave the lid off the solvent, use the press for proofing, leave lights on 24/7? OK, maybe exaggerated to make a point, but the war on the waste in your internal process, focus on increasing OEE and establishing sustainable practise within your own business, (read brand) is absolutely in your control.
Employee engagement, through from the cleaner to your top executive, is key to creating a vibrant and sustainable business. It is essential to your brand, and by educating and engaging, you can take the first steps towards building a sustainable culture and a workforce that ‘get it’. To help you put out the fire and choose some new (sustainably sourced) wallpaper.