5 June 2023

For The Future: Sustainability In The Packaging Sector

Investing in the sustainable markets

Sustainability is not only on the agenda of every consumer, it’s also becoming an integral part of brands as they look to building the future of their businesses. In the packaging sector alone,  between 2018 and 2028 the global packaging market is set to expand by almost 3% per annum, reaching over $1.2 trillion

Targets such as this are great at changing the statistics on the packaging sector’s sustainability reports…but are they actually doing anything positive for the environment? 

The technology being created is aimed at cutting emissions and reducing the sector’s overall carbon footprint. For example, the creation of pouches to hold liquid products rather than plastic or glass bottles. Although the pouches are made of plastic – emissions are cut on shipping products in this form because more pouches can be held per lorry or shipping container than glass bottles. This means more products with less shipping, cutting costs for companies in their distribution which leads to lower sales costs in store. Cheaper materials, cheaper shipping and cheaper manufacturing means a lower price for customers at the end – improving customer retention and brand loyalty.

In 2022 the UK introduced a plastic packaging tax, aiming to reduce the country’s plastic footprint on both imports and waste – to achieve the government’s 2025 targets. When governments put economic pressure on companies to change, this is often when large shifts happen in business because it is more financially viable to change than not. However it can also lead to loopholes being found and companies moving their market elsewhere – it all depends on how much return the brand will get from the customer. And is it worth it? For most companies it is, and this leads to increased innovation.

More than 4.5 billion SIM cards are produced each year across the globe. This creates 20,000 tonnes of plastic which is the equivalent of 40 Airbus 380’s when they’re about to take off. CO2 emissions could be cut by 60,000 tons if all SIM manufacturers created SIM cards with recycled materials. And that is just physical SIM cards. Digital SIM cards (known as eSIMs) have an even more impressive range of statistics that contribute to making them eco friendly and sustainable in the long term. Using an eSIM which is hardwired into the mobile phone in its manufacturing, means that no physical SIM card needs to be made or shipped out. This cuts not only manufacturing costs but also shipping costs and material costs – for example one eSIM produces 46% less CO2 throughout its life cycle than a physical SIM. e-SIMs can be activated via QR codes which can be printed onto sustainable materials and sold in-store as part of a brand’s up-sale aims. Not only does this make the e-SIM more attractive to individuals concerned with climate change, it also means that the CO2 footprint of companies is drastically reduced.

Packaging innovations can improve not only the life cycle of a product but also the reputation of a brand and the environmental credentials of a business. Find out more about the different packaging materials you can use in your packaging to improve your environmental rating in the BPAK article New Groove: Sustainable Packaging. Sustainability is something which is becoming more and more integral to the survival of companies but also opens the brand up to collaborations, certifications and new audiences. 

There has of course been a growing social understanding of the impact and importance of sustainable solutions. Damning images of plastic floating in the ocean, the garbage patches of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans have caught the attention of not only environmental watchdogs but also civilians. The most famous of these garbage patches is the one located in the North Atlantic, (it is an island of human debris estimated to be hundreds of kilometers in diameter with 220,000 pieces of debris per square kilometer.) and Great Pacific Garbage Patch which has helped consumers to understand the knock-on effect of their purchase decisions, leading to increased climate activism and pressure on companies to do something about the products they are selling. 

Not only is a more sustainable approach an ethical move for companies to make, it is also the best business move. Most countries are now employing a Net Zero aim into their legislation, for example the UK’s aim is for Net Zero by 2050. These political aims mean that companies are being pressured into making contributions to the aims of the countries under which their businesses are listed. However as well as improving the image of the country, it also improves the image of the business. Companies that have an ethical, sustainable image do better in the public eye – especially with younger generations such as Gen Z (spending power $23 to $143 billion). 

Caring about the environment and having sustainable aims as part of your brand’s strategy is going to pay dividends, not only financially but also in terms of your image and reputation. Sustainability is not just a fad, it’s impacting everything including the packaging sector, and making changes such as remote network connectivity in the telecommunications sector for e-SIMs is only going to help.


For sustainable packaging options you can get in touch with the BPAK team today, find solutions that fit your brand. Contact BPAK today.