“Going green” is rapidly becoming the new catch phrase for American consumers, and retail industries would do well to take heed. Those organizations that don’t take steps to up their eco-cred the full length of their supply chain may find themselves losing big.
To Green or Not to Green?
Packaging fulfillment teams have a choice to make: do you go green or not? There are a few factors you must consider when deciding whether you need to up your investment in sustainable practices:
- What will be the cost of changing your packaging to be more eco-friendly? You may have a substantial investment to make.
- Are your customers or clients interested in eco-friendly packaging?
- Would you be able to expand your business by adding the value of green packaging? How much money or how many customers are you missing due to a lack of green packaging choices?
Companies that are unable to at least try to minimize their environmental impact and improve sustainability may risk losing business.
If you outsource supply chain management, you need to know that your third party provider has the same dedication to environmental sustainability that you do. When you’re looking to downsize your carbon footprint you need a partner who has an understanding of what it means to go green and a plan to reach that goal.
If you aren’t sure of the status of your current provider’s sustainability efforts, there are a few ways you can gauge the “greenness” of operations and make a move toward more eco-friendly fulfillment.
Environmentally Conscious Packaging
Retail decisions are, at their most basic level, made because a consumer wants to satisfy his needs.
While a brand’s name and reputation may ultimately be undermined by need, packaging is one of the deciding factors in whether or not a consumer will choose one product instead of another as it provides the information needed by the consumer.
For those consumers who are trying to live a green lifestyle, what the packaging is made from can be just as important as what is in the package. These consumers want to buy products that are packaged in environmentally friendly (or at least recyclable) and sustainable materials.
So what does environmentally conscious packaging look like? According to Heritage Pioneer Corporate Group, there are several kinds of materials that you can use to upgrade your packaging:
- Recycled or recyclable plastics that do not contain BPA (BPA has been a recent target of both environmental lobbyists and consumer groups)
- Corrugated cardboard that is treated with eco-safe chemicals
- Packaging materials that are recyclable; avoid Styrofoam packing peanuts or heavy materials that add weight to shipping
Once you’ve chosen the right materials, start working on greening fulfillment practices:
- Exchange paper packing slips for an electronically scanned barcode containing vital shipping info
- Choose the smallest size box possible for shipping items
- Combine orders whenever possible to reduce freight and shipping time in transit, which reduces the use of fuel and your carbon footprint
A conscious move to minimize environmental impact will require an investment for companies managing internal fulfillment operations and may mean, if you outsource your fulfillment, changing vendors.
But by utilizing environmentally sustainable resources, you up your brand equity and gain the capacity to attract another type of consumer who may not have been among your customers before. Whether or not you are currently going green with your company, chances are you’ve had experiences with customers or clients who are interested in green packaging.
How have you reacted to this interest? Are you making changes in your company’s packaging fulfillment, or do you have reasons for avoiding such change?