I’ll never forget the meeting I had in Southern California when the prospect said they wanted to be “more sustainable” with their packaging. It was around 2008 or so and I was the GM for my Uncle Bob’s packaging company, Peek Packaging. I had been a pastor for 5 years prior, so this was a whole new world. It was a thrilling space, a wondrous place…and now that song won’t leave your head
What they actually were wanting was a magic carpet…something that didn’t yet exist. I’m not against dreaming at all or thinking big, but it became clear that they wanted a branding win that would set them apart without paying the cost to do so. Then they said the world’s that rocked my perception of sustainable packaging to this day:
“If we can’t be green, then how can you help us look green?”
That’s when I began to realize the drastic need to have open conversations about sustainable packaging. My pastoral instincts began to kick in and for the last 12 years I have been on a mission to bring good news to the packaging industry to help companies align on what actually is sustainable. Thus far, I have landed on these 4 buckets/questions:
1) Is it good for the product? — If the packaging doesn’t perform it’s necessary task of providing the best protection for the product, then it’s absolutely not sustainable and will cause significantly more carbon energy release through waste of the goods it’s supposed to protect. You should 100% ENGAGE A PACKAGING ENGINEERING PROFESSIONAL AT THE BEGINNING STAGE OF ANY NEW PROJECT!
2) Is it good for the planet? — This topic right here is the most debated topic and that’s OK. But we should recognize it is a relatively subjective conversation a lot of the times unless someone’s trying to say we should create flexible films from endangered dolphin skin printed with unicorn blood ink
3) Is it good for the people? — Or to put it another way, is your sustainability journey on brand and will your consumers recognize your brand if you change colors or materials or structures? Do you have a way to reach your customers and alert them of the change?
4) Is it good for your profits — Most every company I work with is engaged in the process of making money. That’s great! Making profits creates jobs, inspires innovation, creates competition, etc. So it doesn’t make much sense if you can check the first 3 boxes but your increased costs on your packaging will price you out of the market. It’s not always this way, but I’ve seen it happen before.
If you read this and think, “Hey, maybe we should have someone take a look at our companies packaging goals and objectives. This Adam guy might be able to help us!” Then let’s connect up for 30 minutes over Zoom and I can almost guarantee you that if I can’t help you out at Fortis, I probably know a few companies who can
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.