Companies are under more pressure than ever to make good on sustainable packaging innovation in the face of new regulations and increasing competition. The challenge: It’s getting harder over time, not easier, as companies are forced to balance more factors across technology, policy, and consumer sentiment. There are real consequences for getting this innovation wrong as well: Regulatory penalties are beginning to ramp up, and consumer backlash and lawsuits about greenwashing are becoming all the more common. The report “Finding the sweet spot in packaging innovation” digs into these issues and uses Lux’s technology and regulatory foresight with proprietary AI Anthropology tools to uncover approaches where technology, policy, and consumer sentiment align. Three key takeaways from the report:
- Don’t underestimate the impact of the consumer: Many companies, especially those upstream, view changes in consumer sentiment as someone else’s problem. This is a mistake! Consumers’ views on sustainability are evolving quickly, and approaches like paper, which are viewed as sustainable today, may not be in the future.
- Regulation can create opportunities: Most companies’ regulatory functions are reactive, focused on identifying potential risks to the existing business and working around them. This misses the opportunity to be proactive and serve new markets. Regulations are creating opportunities for new solutions by banning existing products (like PFAS chemistries) or incentivizing alternatives (like recycled content mandates)
- Greenwashing is going to come into sharp focus: Companies are going to have to sharpen the claims they make about sustainability. In the EU, anti-greenwashing laws will hold companies liable for any false claims. Meanwhile, anti-greenwashing lawsuits are proliferating in the U.S. and the EU. Many companies have gotten loose with their messaging; innovation teams need to reign in marketing to ensure that innovation efforts don’t come back to bite them.
- Reassess constantly: Things are changing quickly — consumer sentiment can be moved by big stories in the news or a single viral story. What’s sustainable today may be considered undesirable tomorrow. What’s more, many innovation teams will write off a technology they assessed negatively in past years — but the policy and consumer environment may have changed such that there are new opportunities for these approaches.
Mastering these skills and avoiding greenwashing will be crucial for companies that want to build a lasting business with sustainable innovation. If you want to lean which technologies are aligned to consumer and regulatory trends, join our webinar “Finding the Sweet Spot of Packaging Innovation.”