Sustainable by design

Sustainable by design

By Kathy Illingworth, Head of Sustainability & Consulting

Every brand should ask itself what it thinks sustainability means.

We are approaching a critical mass embrace of sustainability. Huge numbers of brands are rising to the occasion out of concern for the environment and to align with consumer demand.

Beyond the strong moral and existential arguments for significantly improving the sustainability of consumer products and packaging across the board, it’s now also simply good business; sustainability is cited as a key concern to consumers, so it must also be to companies.

Along with increased scrutiny of green credentials, those same consumers also demand great-looking packaging, and businesses can’t risk their heads being turned by another brand by compromising the look and feel.

Staying relevant means authentically aligning with more responsible, eco-friendly values, and creating thumb-stoppingly, good-looking packaging.

The question is not whether brands and packaging manufacturers should be on a path to demonstrably better outcomes but how they get there. This is a complex matter, especially when manufacturers operate across markets and categories, relying on the scale to make their environmental shift effective and profitable.

READ MORE: Rethinking packaging strategies and enhancing material performance to protect goods is a difficult challenge in the journey to circularity.

Direction more important than speed

Gone are the days when a company’s job was done once a customer had a satisfactory product. And for those with a formal sustainability plan already in place, the bar for being ecologically and socially accountable is rising.

With packaging continuing to feature in new legislation, the news, NGO campaigns and public opinion, companies are increasingly under pressure to ensure they understand minimum expectations. Ecoveritas is therefore introducing its ‘Packaging Compass’ to help businesses move towards a more sustainable packaging portfolio.

While having talented designers is a part of the process, it will not get the job done alone. You must systematically research, design, and test to create the best packaging designs from a form and functional perspective.

At Ecoveritas, we believe that sustainability should be at the heart of every business decision, and being socially conscious can go a long way in building a strong brand reputation. No bells, and no whistles, just brands quietly doing their thing towards a more sustainable business. Buyers want to see organisations doing the right thing. But to ensure your product gets where most commerce happens, you need a packaging design that performs, too.

A combination of beautiful, impactful, and premium looks and significantly more environmentally friendly executions are not at odds. Improvements in materials, processes, and the innovation workflow make it eminently achievable.

Green, durable or just pragmatic solutions – what does your consumer want? We can help you provide data-led, evidence-backed solutions.

It could be time to plot your future course with our Packaging Roadmap Service.

We use your packaging compliance data and review current strategies and KPIs to develop a baseline for improvement. By leveraging competitor data, we benchmark you against industry averages and top quartiles for key metrics. We work to engage key stakeholders to ensure engagement and plot a route forward for you.

We work with your team to develop data-driven KPIs and actions, assign responsibilities and monitor progress. We firmly believe sustainable packaging starts with accurate data and by helping you understand your current packaging sustainability and how you compare to others and then direct you on optimising your packaging performance.

Another perspective

Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple. Ecoveritas prides itself on being at the forefront of sustainable packaging solutions that benefit customers and the planet.

The opportunities and challenges sustainability presents are something every business needs to consider. Yes, it’s a minefield in which new legislation governs, but companies like ours can be a handy toolkit in these pivotal times.

It typically starts with developing a corporate sustainability journey grounded in an understanding of the broad material impacts of the business. This needs to come first, avoiding the pitfalls of the past where brands undertook consumer-facing sustainability work disconnected from an understanding of their business and supply-chain impact.

When we commit to discovering them, there are effective solutions that deliver value and uphold our responsibility to the planet. And that’s where we come in, bridging brand, operations, and marketing – synthesising years of data, partnering with technical experts, and developing a roadmap.

The choice of materials, more broadly, is just one consideration in innovating for sustainability. There are many more that receive fewer headlines but are just as vital. For example, using some inks and hot glue, such as foil, can harm recycling. Lamination and glitter can render material unrecyclable. How different materials are put together can also make separating materials for recycling harder or easier.

But there’s still more to think about, such as minimising the sheer volume of packaging by using no more components or material than necessary and designing ready-to-ship packaging that doesn’t require eCommerce platforms to box the box for shipping.

We help brands and producers who are still learning and experimenting about credibility and authenticity when high scrutiny means brands can fear getting it wrong. It’s an area where curiosity, listening to audiences, testing, and seeing your mistakes as opportunities to learn are essential. Quite often, with our client base, we learn together.

READ MORE: See what others don’t. At a time when self-awareness matters more than ever, data can help you see what others don’t. But the influence we can have is just as great.

Good design is sustainable design

We’re entering a new phase in design — one that places experience and know-how at the core and considers the wider societal issues we’re facing. The design media is awash with hero stories, but sadly, it’s still just a drop in the ocean.

When brands connect with customers’ emotions, the payoff can be huge. Because now more than ever, people want products and experiences that are frictionless, purposeful, and designed with their aspirations in mind.

This level of real transparency, accuracy and credibility is vital to help consumers make informed, sustainable choices at purchase.

Ultimately, making green choices has to make business sense for brands. In this era, unlocking value will require a deep understanding of the evolving needs of consumers, stakeholders, and your supply chain.

More and more businesses are taking a data-driven approach to sustainability. By analysing their actions and making data-based decisions, they can make a real difference in the fight against climate change.

Remember, that move you are scared to make might be the game changer.

If you have any questions on how to supercharge your packaging portfolio or our Packaging Compass service, please visit our website or speak to one of our advisors today on +44 (0)1865 721375.

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