A new survey by paper-based packaging leader Smurfit Kappa has revealed sustainability is transforming the innovation agenda as businesses rethink products and packaging solutions in an effort to tackle environmental waste. The Sustainability and Profitability Survey, which was conducted among 200 senior business executives in the UK, showed that sustainability is driving all R&D and new product development in more than a third of companies.
The research also showed how businesses are focusing on packaging specifically as a key innovation opportunity with seven in 10 businesses citing materials in packaging as their biggest sustainability challenge, followed by collection and recycling and the materials used to manufacture products. Furthermore, almost nine in 10 businesses have included used or recycled material in products / packaging as part of their sustainability strategies.
“This research highlights that businesses are now having to address sustainability in a challenging economic environment and consumers will continue to drive the sustainability agenda,” said Arco Berkenbosch, vice president of innovation and development, Smurfit Kappa. “As the shift to sustainable packaging intensifies, it is critical that businesses continue to invest in innovative solutions in order to respond to consumer demand, improve brand perception and deliver successful sustainability strategies.”
The survey, which also examined consumers’ views on sustainability and how they are adapting to create a more sustainable future, found that 37 percent rate packaging design as important when making a purchasing decision. Further signalling consumers’ awareness of brands’ packaging, the research showed more than half of customers have purchased a product specifically because it had reusable or biodegradable packaging in the past six months.
The Sustainability and Profitability Survey showed eight in 10 businesses view sustainability as a long-term investment rather than a cost with consumers continuing to drive organisations’ attitudes towards sustainable practices.
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