Sustainable Packaging: Your Brand’s Lightsaber

4 min read

Ellen is among the 52% of new customers this week who are likely to re-order from your company that uses eco-friendly packaging. Since you use sustainable packaging, on an average – 

  • 20% of your customers never order again
  • 45% order one more time
  • 35% order two more times
  • And, let’s not forget the influence of social media – your eco-friendly packaging has inspired three of these customers to post on social media, which generates five new referred customers.

Now compare this to the stats for other companies using unsustainable packaging, where:

  • 25% never order again
  • 50% order one more time
  • 25% order two more times

 If each customer is ordering products worth $50 in a week, you are earning 13% more by using sustainable packaging than the other companies using unsustainable packaging. 

That’s a 13% increase every week, just by using eco-friendly packaging!

Incorporating sustainable packaging is a no-brainer in today’s time when attention to climate change is imperative and customers are increasingly conscious about the companies they support through their purchases. The 2021 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report confirms that sustainability connects retailers and brands with conscientious consumers. Millennials want transparency on their carbon emissions. They want to be in the know-how on whether your product is fair trade or not. And they are quick to do their part by “cancelling” companies by going as far as shaming those lagging behind in their sustainability efforts on social media.

So in light of the hyper-awareness culture, the profitability of going sustainable is no secret. But how can your brand really stand out in a sea of sameness where sustainable packaging is a part of almost every company’s brand strategy? 

How can you make sustainable packaging, your brand’s lightsaber? 


Sustainability beyond a lip service

Branding is your tool to tell the world that you care and that you care genuinely. This genuine effort is what will make your sustainable branding strategy unique to you.

When Paper Plus Europe rebranded its company to be called envoPAP—derived from ‘environment’ and ‘paper’—it was not with the intention of having a name with the buzzword environment in it just to be relevant or trendy, but rather to make a bold statement to its consumers about what they stand for. 

EnvoPAP uses agricultural waste instead of wood or plastic to make sustainable printing and packaging materials, thus saving millions of trees in the process and totally justifying its rebranding. Their logo is a woman facing sideways with leaves for hair – a tribute to mother nature. Do you see how they’ve allowed their commitment to nature to seep into their identity?

And this has gone down superbly with customers who have happily put their trust into envoPAP’s credibility – with the meteoric rise in demand for sustainable packaging post-COVID, envoPAP set out to raise £150,000 through a crowd-funding campaign. Instead, they managed to raise £381,128, i.e. 254% of their target amount. 

Consumers are willing to reward a good cause. 

But what if you don’t sell products that directly impact the environment? How then can you use sustainable packaging as an effective brand strategy?


Innovate to stand out

When Dutch beaches became inundated with paper wrappers from plastic Coca-Cola bottles, they were repurposed into chic marbled bottled caps for their Navy Rum. The flasks are made of recycled glass sealed with unique, irreplaceable caps promoting the message “waste to waste.”

Similarly, the circular economy is intrinsic to sustainability and the cosmetics brand Lush tapped into the closed-loop idea to make their product cycle sustainable. And how did that reflect in their packaging and branding, you ask? 

Well, they went…“naked.” 

35% of their products come totally package-free, which they have branded as “naked.” Their brand loyalty programs encourage customers to accumulate and bring in empty bottles in exchange for free masks, giving a rather proactive tone to their sustainable branding efforts.

And that brings me to one of the slightly trickier-to-achieve sustainable packaging strategies. 


Change making

Javyn Solomon is a design student who designed an ingenious sustainable carry bag as a project for the fashion brand H&M that transforms into a hangar once you take it back home. This innovative design is meant to bring about a positive behavioural change in consumers encouraging them to go green in how they store their latest fashion at home. 

I hope you’re reading this, H&M!

Finally, I know including sustainable packaging as a part of your brand is no easy task. But authenticity will speak to customers. And so will having fun with the process. For a last bit of inspiration, TAGMA Designs’ garment bags are made from natural cassava starch that breaks down naturally, giving them the name of ‘drinkable garment bags’. Don’t forget to dissolve the bag in a glass of hot water and drink it when you’re out shopping when you find yourself with no water fountains around. 


Feel like sharing? Here you go.

UI Trends

Going bold, brutal, and 3D with UI in 2022

. 5 min read


UX trends that will shape the industry in 2022

. 5 min read

View All