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It's not easy going green in packaging, but there is a right way to do it!

Updated: Jun 30, 2022

By Terri Goldstein, Founder & CEO at Goldstein Group Branding

In recent years, sustainability and environmental awareness have escalated to top consumer priorities.

Now more than ever, major brands are expected to “go green,” showing some initiative of shifting to resources and practices that are more environmentally friendly. In some cases, the pressure to go green has led to the harmful phenomenon of “greenwashing.”

What is greenwashing? It is the devastatingly widespread occurrence of companies exaggerating or even fabricating their endeavors to increase the appearance of being sustainably-minded. Consumers are becoming increasingly cognizant of this deception, and when found guilty of greenwashing in the public eye, it can be the downfall of even the most well-established brands. So, how do you avoid unknowingly greenwashing your brand? You understand the three distinct levels of sustainability that may be adopted for a truly green brand:

Packaging Messaging: This is an effective method to add social value, but beware: it may be considered greenwashing if this is the only change employed!

Packaging System: This requirement brings efficiency by integrating sustainable resources with minimal usage of materials and energy; global supply chain, vendors, and relationships may be adjusted to meet the level of sustainability that company stakeholders have set as a goal.

Packaging Materials: Truly brings brands into the circular economy by becoming recyclable or compostable, which requires logistic support from engineers and global supply chain for the purposes of composition, collection, recycling, and re-use.

Because these decisions often require large expenditures in time and money, the real choice to go green frequently starts at the top. One of my favorite examples of a sustainable executive (or Chief Zero Waste Officer, as she is aptly titled) is former GGB client Shannon Goldberg, who founded Izzy, the world’s first carbon neutral mascara. Izzy offers membership plans and delivers their refillable mascaras in fully reusable shippers to eliminate the waste associated with both packaging and shipping.

Izzy follows all three levels of sustainable packaging to deliver authentically Earth-friendly products.

In a world where the pressure to go green has risen due to both consumer demand and shareholder value, brands like Izzy are leading the industry in sustainable packaging. Izzy demonstrates how to do it honestly, ethically, and beautifully, but many brands cannot achieve it all alone. Danny Schrager, who is the president of GGB’s trusted sustainability partner GearedforGreen, explains that “For brands, sustainability today may be a ‘bend in the road moment.’ Meaning, a bend in the road isn’t the end of the road... unless you miss the turn!” For this reason, brands often benefit from consulting a sustainability expert like Danny. In this day and age of environmental awareness and consumer skepticism, authenticity and transparency are the only way to go – to learn more about creating a circular economy around your brand that can truly benefit the planet while adding to shareholder value, feel free to contact GearedforGreen!

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