Monday, March 12, 2007

Packaging Greenwash - Saving The Environment

Packaging News You Can Use
Tip Of The WeekIssue #1271 - March 12, 2007
Publisher: JoAnn Hines ,
© Packaging News You Can Use
By JoAnn Hines The Packaging Diva

This from Mike "Your blog is stunning. Jam packed full of useful information. Your a packaging expert par excellence! (only the best for the best!)"
I have so may requests for my articles I have decided to make the most popular ones available on a CD just for my readers.

For those of you that can read Portuguese I was interviewed for the
History of Packaging in Brazil. Read it online at

From Gwen at Design Taxi who just published my article "Baby's Got Bling- You Can Package Anything" at

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Adapted from an article I wrote for Package Design magazine

Packaging "Greenwash" - Saving the Environment
Wow, have I been flooded with a host of new "green" packaging innovations. Everyone is jumping on the environmentalist’s green band wagon. I am constantly asked if environmental sustainability is a flash in the pan. If this is any indication, the recent Sustainable Packaging Forum was sold out with attendees looking for the latest packaging news in saving the environment.

I have joked before that packaging is the true cause of "global warming." But seriously, what is the reality? What is the real truth behind companies touting green packaging for the benefit of society? Environmental issues are a hot topic right now, so people are climbing aboard. Global warming topics are on the news daily and people are looking for scapegoats as to its cause. Companies such as Wal-Mart are driving manufacturers to consider more environmentally friendly options in their packaging materials. In fact, they just unveiled their packaging scorecard to continue their commitment of reducing packaging across its global supply chain by 5 percent by 2013.

The packaging industry is often chastised for having unfriendly environmental policies. I'm not here to debate this point, but I do want to talk about using environmental issues in a positive and realistic manner.

Let's take the word "green" as an example. Obviously, we think of the color first. But what about the variations of the definition that relate to packaging? How green is your packaging world?
• Green could mean less damage to the environment.
• Green could imply producing packaging from renewable resources.
• Green could entail designing products for environmental sustainability.
• Green could connote the use of less material and recyclable and degradable materials.

So "green" can be maximized for branding purposes in a host of different ways. If you have a "green" packaging product what ways are you capitalizing on the current media exposure? (In addition to sending out a press announcement.) Here are a few points to consider:
• Did you support or promote participation in any Earth Day activities?
• Do you belong to one of the many organizations that support "green" and the environment?
• Did you orchestrate your new packaging introduction to coincide with Earth Day or other environmental events?
• Have you submitted your green product to the numerous packaging associations that offer opportunities for environmental awards?
• Have you submitted your package to any of the non packaging related organizations that have "environmental" awards?
• Do you have a plan in place for your staff to understand and utilize in order to build your "green" brand?
• Do your employees believe in being "green?" (This is a very important buy in.)
• Have you looked at any websites such as (great site with lots about packaging) to see what they are doing?

Sure it seems a bit far fetched but Treehugger lives in the blogosphere world and we all know how important blogging is to the media. Try a quick GOOGLE search for "green packaging." Yes, there are a few products listed but what is more important is what is NOT there. A huge area of untapped marketing potential is available for increasing the visibility for your packaging products.

No matter how unusual or "out there" the opportunity seems do not under estimate who will see and read about your "green" brand. The branding hot spots I want you to think about are:
(1) Is your "green" packaging product is a flash in the pan?
(2) Has there been serious brand integration of the "green" message throughout your company? (3) Are you using your "green" message in all the promotion, literature and media exposure? The reality begs this question. Are you packaging "greenwash" to capitalize on a current media trend or are you saving the environment with "true" environmentally friendly packaging?

Need insights on packaging trends that can impact your business? Get the Packaging Diva on your team. Visit to find out about the latest packaging innovations and "Consumer Trends That Can Make Or Break Your Business" or call me for more details at 1-678-594-6872.

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