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Pragmatic Approaches

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: June 22, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 9

Achelpohl: We’ve seen strong movement in the sustainability efforts of beauty companies. Much of this effort has been in the lightweighting of bottles, as new technologies allow manufacturers to produce the same product package with less material than before. Not only is this an environmental benefit, lightweighting can also produce cost and manufacturing advantages for companies.

A great example of integrating sustainability in cosmetic packaging that comes to mind is Plant Love lipstick from Cargo Cosmetics. The product comes in compostable tubes made from corn, a renewable resource, and the paper packaging is infused with flower seeds allowing you to plant it. It is efforts like these that clearly demonstrate how far sustainability has come.

GCI: Can consumer demand still be considered the greatest driver of sustainability efforts? How has the economy impacted both consumer demand and efforts, generally speaking?

Abramowicz: Retailers, such as WalMart, are playing as large a role as consumers in driving the evolution of sustainability in packaging. By trying to stay ahead of the curve, they helped boost the efforts of packaging materials suppliers in creating packaging that is more eco-friendly and cost-efficient. However, consumer demand still plays a significant role in driving sustainability efforts.

Achelpohl: It is difficult to say that consumer demand is the sole driver in sustainability efforts. In fact, it is retailers who continue to push these issues, and they are primarily for economic reasons. Any change to packaging always impacts the consumer directly, but the lightweighting of packaging, as noted, simply lowers the overall cost of goods, and improves a company’s bottom line.