Tag Archive | packaging

Commitment to the Consumer

“The cosmetic industry is in the perception business. The environmental industry is in the reality business,” said Bob Lilienfeld, editor of the Use Less Stuff Report. “It’s perception versus reality.” Understanding how commitment to sustainability can be communicated as part of the overall quality commitment is key.

The personal care and cosmetic market is one of the leading categories making green claims on products. The products in the cosmetics industry are intimate, causing consumers to have a heightened sensitivity and awareness of products that are going to be safe for their use, but consumers also expect results. However, most claims are based on a single attribute, usually raw material sourcing (organic or natural) or the lack of animal testing. Green Seal developed specific standards for the personal care industry with rigorous criteria that comprehensively address the lifecyle impact of a product—from manufacturing through packaging disposal. The GS-50 standard provides a tool for companies to improve the sustainability of their products and to earn certification and a way for consumers to know that their personal care products are safer for their families and the environment, while delivering the performance they expect.

The standard comes in response to the FTC’s finalization of its “Green Guides,” which provides marketers guidelines for labeling and promoting their sustainable products. Basically, the FTC was looking to do away with greenwashing, whereby companies and industries awarded themselves certification. The new guidelines call for transparency and urges certification from independent third party sources such as Green Seal.

Green Seal’s mission as a nonprofit is to increase sustainability in products and services. “We write the standards, but if the market doesn’t pick them up because it can’t make a decent product by following them, companies won’t get their products certified and we won’t have achieved our mission,” said Linda Chipperfield, Green Seal’s vice president of marketing and communications.

Green Seal spent a lot of time researching the impact of packaging and the ripple effect once it’s exposed in order to develop the GS-50 standard and conducts audits to provide independent confirmation that criteria are being met.
It’s all for a very specific reason: consumer confidence. “If the consumers do not have certainty that the product that they are buying is indeed going to enhance not only protection of the environment but the health and safety of themselves and their family, they are not going to buy it,” said Chipperfield.

Read more about green packaging in the July/August issue of GCI magazine.

Packaging for your manly man

bulldogModern men are much more sophisticated than some brands think they are and will ultimately see through a superficial, cookie-cutter approach.

“Most brands ‘for men’ are not connecting with men,” said Ben Grace, Bulldog marketing director. “Men are put off by imagery and language that is too elaborate.” Instead, Bulldog, the third largest men’s skin care brand in the UK, steers away from “pseudoscientific” terms that overcomplicate an uncomplicated category. The language used is simple and to the point. “We talk to men the way they talk to each other,” explained Grace.

Bulldog packages feature a short description along with what the product does and the key ingredients. “Some men’s brands seem to struggle with arranging their messaging, so they throw all the information on the package,” said Grace. On the back of each product, the brand encourages people to find out more about the listed ingredients by visiting the web site for full information. The brand lists every single ingredient that it uses. Not only that, it outlines the source of the ingredient and its primary function in its formulations. “We try to be as transparent as we can,” said Grace. “We want people to care about what they put on their skin as much as the food that they eat.”

Competing with huge global companies with significant marketing budgets, the brand knew it had to use the shelf as its billboard. “The packaging deliberately disrupts the category, by being different,” Grace continued. “When we looked at the category as a whole, we found a sea of sameness.” Bulldog packaging inverts the usual visuals, featuring an over-sized dark logo on white packaging.

Brands that are light-hearted also resonate with the consumer, especially men. Like using humor in marketing campaigns, such as Benefit’s tongue-in-cheek vidoes and Lynx’ and use of a double entendre, packaging that doesn’t take itself too seriously breaks down a barrier created by some men’s continued discomfort in discussing personal hygiene.

This is reflected in all Bulldog’s communication and on the packaging, where the brand injects a bit of humor that shares its personality with the consumer. While competitors use good-looking models with chiseled jaws and six-packs, Bulldog, primarily uses its namesake mascot. “It’s not nature’s prettiest beast but he’s man’s best friend,” said Grace.

Avoiding the cookie-cutter approach by purpose-building the brand for men, Bulldog was able to expand to 13 different countries worldwide since its launch in 2007.

Read more about packaging for men in the March 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

Intelligent design

God’s creation is one of the best R&D labs we know. Using technology to emulate nature has resulted in revolutionary innovations that make our lives easier, healthier, and more sustainable: from phones, whose loudspeakers were inspired by human eardrums, to entirely new approaches of creating color inspired by the color-shifting properties of a butterfly’s wings. Called biomimicry, there’s potential for replicating nature’s intelligence to produce packaging that decomposes and is not harmful to the environment.

According to the newly formed conglomerate Biomimicry 3.8, the biomimicry field has changed at a stunning pace over recent years. Biomimicry provides a strategy for practical applications that emulate years of brilliant designs. From durable but biodegradable packaging such as sea beans, large bean pods that ripen to become woody and heavy, or the coconut palm, which dispatches its seed inside a hard shell that contains everything it needs to survive, many of nature’s containers can serve as inspiration for the future’s innovative packaging ideas.

Think of the possibilities if technology of a pelican pouch that scoops three gallons of seawater then returns to shape could be mimicked. A flexible bottle design that fills up like a balloon only to collapse when emptied would provide options for consumers on the go or for easily returning containers for recycling hundreds at a time.

What if we could store precious liquids in a cellular matrix like fruits and vegetables, which are often times more than 90% water but don’t slosh because it’s stored between cells. Or, if we could use a cellular matrix for the skin of a bottle; once emptied it could be eaten like an orange slice or dissolve in the bath tub instead of a landfill.

Nature is filled with wonders that tote, store and protect its treasures from a treacherous world. If we take the time to seek sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns, we can learn from nature that has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with.

Read more about packaging innovation in the December 2011 issue of GCI magazine.

Eco-friendly idea: Upcycling

Until the day comes that all products are packaged in affordable, durable, biodegradable or recyclable packaging, all we can do is make the best of things. TerraCycle has turned this idea into a very profitable business. Co-founders Tom Szaky and Jon Beyer take packages and materials that are challenging to recycle (such as newsprint, plastic bags, juice pouches and chip bags) and transform them into affordable, high-quality goods, including tote bags, kites, umbrellas and even office supplies like pens and pencils. The upcycling process requires far less energy than recycling and yields much higher amounts of usable material, according to Terracyle’s Albe Zakes.

You can get involved by signing up for free. They will pay you to collect plastic bags, wrappers and packages and send them to TerraCycle using their free shipping bags.

In addition to partnering with Frito-Lay and Mars, Terracycle is just signed deals to develop programs that upcycle packaging from Kimberly Clark’s Huggies and Scott brands and re-purpose material from Aveeno.

While not the solution to the garbage problem, it just goes to show you are only limited by your creativity.

Related links: Aveeno launches recycling partnershp with Terracycle

Greener fragrance packaging

Packaging can be a real waste. How many times have you opened a box within a box or a plastic package within a box, with extra cardboard material inside? This is particularly the case in fragrance packaging. I can understand that the fragrance, usually housed in glass, needs to be protected. However, with consumer awareness continuing to rise, companies are beginning to take some responsibility for their effect on the environment.

Brands like Modern Organic Products and Aveda reinforce an eco-conscious philosophy through their packaging, not just in the colors and labels, but in the materials used. With a diverse range of new sustainable and biodegradable materials that has become available in recent years, the packaging of cosmetics and personal care, including fragrance, finally has a chance to not only look the part but embody a green brand identity, without sacrificing a luxury look. But I believe any brand can make a difference by using some type of premium uncoated paperboard made with post-consumer waste (commonly 80% although some believe the industry eventually will be able to develop a high-quality 100 percent PCW package using a natural binder that allows virgin raw materials to be omitted). Read more about it in GCI‘s February issue.

The “trend” toward sustainable materials has become a necessity, which will lead to further technological advancements for biodegradable packaging that will not sacrifice performance. As consumers, we shouldn’t have to choose between products that do or don’t care about the environment, when options are available. And, for luxury fragrance brands, offering more eco-friendly packaging is a great way to reduce the company’s overall environmental impact and give themselves the opportunity to market an environmental message consumers who are more eco-conscious than ever.