Studies have shown a direct correlation between sustainable business practices, share prices and business performance. This interconnection between financial gain, sustainable business practices and the health and livelihood of our planet is something the founding organization of Earth Day, EARTHDAY.ORG, has captured in the theme of this year’s campaign, Invest in Our Planet, in honor of Earth Day on April 22, 2022.
The Rise of eCommerce, Packaging Materials and Sustainable Supply Chains
The significant rise in eCommerce fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, when consumers embraced the necessity of shopping online, shows no signs of stopping. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, digital sales were up 9.3% for the second quarter (Q2) of 2021 versus Q2 of 2020. Subsequently, the use in packaging materials has also increased and continues to rise.
According to a recent survey, 59% of respondents said their company invested in sustainable supply chain solutions, up from 57% in 2019. The same survey cited that 47% of respondents said their company is under pressure to be more sustainable.
Why Companies Need to Adopt Sustainable Supply Chain Solutions
The higher amount of packaging materials being used to support the sharp rise in eCommerce demand has put increased focus and even pressure on companies to adopt sustainable supply chains in their standard operations. Why?
- The cost of unsustainable operations is too high to bear. One study projected that cost to be $120 billion in damages to companies’ supply chains due to deforestation, climate change and water insecurity over the next five years. This would result in higher prices overall.
- Consumer expectations are shifting toward a preference for
- A Harris Poll survey found that 78% of Americans wish more brands used paper packaging (such as cardboard boxes, paper mailers, or paper fill inside the package) instead of plastic.
- A McKinsey survey found 55% of U.S. consumers to report elevated concerns about the environmental impact of product packaging.
- A Hartman Group study confirms that consumers have an expectation for packaging to be recyclable, that they report frustration when they encounter products that fail to meet this baseline, and that they draw an equivalence between sustainability and recyclability.
In response to these trends, eCommerce shippers are increasingly choosing packaging products with higher recycled content, packaging with an emphasis on curbside recyclability and biodegradable packaging. Additionally, some shippers have included “second life packaging” features on their packaging that allow consumers to reuse it as a returnable package as needed.
Our parent company, Tension Corporation, was founded in 1886 and has been committed to sustainability for more than 135 years. Similarly, our Packaging & Automation division further illustrates commitment to our environment with sustainable paper-based consumable options and proprietary paper-based automated packaging equipment. Contact us to discuss how we can help your company attain your sustainability goals in 2022 and beyond.