April 1, 2007
Jennifer Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief
Is thinking of going green making you feel a little green behind the gills these days? Since Wal-Mart announced plans to measure its 60,000 worldwide suppliers on their ability to develop packaging and conserve natural resources, it seems brand owners are talking of little else.
“Even small changes to packaging have a significant ripple effect. Improved packaging means less waste, fewer materials used, and savings on transportation, manufacturing,” says Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott. Wal-Mart hopes the initiative will save 667,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
Certainly this is an admirable goal, and Wal-Mart has done its part to begin the outreach and education process among its suppliers. But there remain more questions than answers about the implications of greening your brand—one reason we’ve devoted virtually an entire issue to this topic.
Our coverage begins with the cover story (just turn the page…), where senior editor Pauline Tingas has examined this complex subject from every angle. Is your brand looking at going green as a business imperative, a response to consumer demand or is it a result of pressures from retailers (or regulators)? Whatever the thought process, there are careful considerations to take.
And what about consumers? How have their views on sustainability changed? And what about the age-old question: are they willing to pay more for products in “eco-friendly” packaging? Scott Young of Perception Research Services has asked these questions—and has answers for you in his piece on “The Shoppers Perspective.”
Curious where your counterparts are in this process? Sure, brands like Aveda and Timberland are way ahead of the curve, but what about others? We’ve scoured the marketplace for a host of eco-forward brands that are successfully incorporating sustainable packaging into their offerings. See our Market Driven and International Fare sections, along with a case study on Cargo Cosmetics (p. 22) for details.
“The goal,” writes columnist Peter Clarke of Product Ventures in his “Getting it Right” article on p.32, “is to improve performance of sustainability metrics without eroding brand values. We can even take this a step further: the high-level goal is to meet the sustainability metrics and enhance the brand.”
Editor’s note: In “Package Innovation Staying Power” (January/February 2007), we incorrectly reported that the string on Barnum’s Animal Crackers packaging was eliminated as a cost-saving measure. Kraft tells us the string has never been removed from the package and also, in a colorful historical note, that it was originally attached to the top of the carton so the package could be hung on a Christmas tree. We regret the error—but delight in the fact that the string remains intact.