A new report by fashion retail authority Drapers, in partnership with Smurfit Kappa, has revealed that sustainable packaging is still an important factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions.
The research, which was done against the backdrop of supply chain issues, rising inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine, revealed that two-thirds of respondents stated they want to be more sustainable and more than a third have purchased a product based on the sustainability of its packaging.
In the Drapers’ Sustainability and the Consumer 2022 report 65% of respondents stated that knowing that the packaging is recycled is important, while 42% said that the use of recycled content is important.
‘Bugbear Of Many’
A further 49% indicated that using a small amount of packaging is important to them, stating that the overuse of packaging has become a ‘bugbear of many’, particularly when it comes to online shopping.
Commenting on the importance for retailers to introduce sustainable packaging, Eddie Fellows, CEO of Smurfit Kappa UK and Ireland, said, “This year’s Drapers’ report once again highlights the importance of sustainable packaging for both the retailer and the end consumer.
"Packaging is a visible and tangible signal of a brand’s commitment to sustainability. By switching from an unsustainable packaging material to a sustainable packaging material, like for example paper, you are demonstrating an active commitment to become more sustainable."
The report also highlighted consumers’ desire for businesses to validate sustainability claims.
While 62% of respondents said they generally accept the sustainability claims that are made by companies, 21% of consumers do not believe those claims and only 17% always accept them.
Commenting on the findings from the report, Garrett Quinn, chief sustainability officer, Smurfit Kappa, said, “Consumers care more and more about what a brand is ‘doing’, rather than what a brand is ‘saying they are doing’.
"This can be done through a multitude of ways, however one of the most pertinent ways is through certification and third-party validation."
However, despite the consumer desire for sustainable packaging, consumer appetite to pay for it remains less clear, the report shows.
The report found that just over half (51%) believe sustainable packaging should not come at a cost to themselves.
According to the research, the younger cohort (18 – 24 years old) are happier to pay for sustainable packaging (64%).
However, the older age cohort (55 – 60 years old) are not willing to pay the extra price associated with sustainable packaging (65%) and believe those costs should be absorbed by the retailer.
“At Smurfit Kappa, we act as a strategic partner to all our clients helping them to optimise their supply chain and this often means designing fit-for-purpose sustainable packaging solutions," Fellows added.
"While some retailers are put off by potentially higher costs associated with sustainable packaging, the lasting benefits are likely to make the investment worth it.”
Sustainability Is Here To Stay
The report clearly highlights one fundamental point – sustainability is here to stay. Nearly four-fifths (77%) of respondents now seriously consider sustainability when buying fashion, a slight increase from 2021’s figure of 75%.
Despite this increase, consumers continue to balance other priorities – such as price and quality – when considering purchasing ethically.