Today’s savvy consumers are paying more attention to not only the products they’re buying but also how their packaging affects the environment. With conscious consumption expected to increase continuously in the following years, it’s not impossible for companies that fail to practice sustainability to lose their loyal customers and fall behind the competition.
With that said, going green can be easier said than done. Luxury brands, in particular, may have some reservations about switching to eco-friendly packaging. They want to preserve the values, elegance, and aspirations their brand represents, so there are hesitations about using materials that can reduce their product’s perceived value.
If you want to explore sustainable packaging for luxury brands but are not sure where to start, this blog tackles the unique challenges they often face, plus some strategies you can implement in your own processes.
The Challenge for Luxury Brands
There has been a growing demand for luxury products that help end users lead a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. However, these consumers often want to continue to enjoy the added value and delight that luxury packaging offers at the same time.
This puts many brands under pressure to develop luxury eco-friendly packaging while striking that balance between meeting sustainability demands and preserving their image.
Sustainable Packaging Strategies Luxury Brands Can Implement
What’s worth noting is that pushing for green packaging solutions can actually help brands reinforce their identity and values. In addition, these efforts can make a positive impression on the discerning consumers in this sector – consumers with significantly higher disposable income and willing to pay more for sustainable products.
On that note, here are some strategies worth exploring when implementing sustainable packaging for luxury brands:
Use Smaller Packages
Minimizing your impact on the environment can begin with simple steps like using smaller boxes and containers for your products or fewer filler materials. Reducing packaging materials not only helps your business be more sustainable but also lowers your shipping expenses.
Try Recycled Packing Materials
Another practical strategy worth integrating into your sustainability efforts is using packaging made from recycled materials for your shipping boxes, containers, or mailers. Paperboard and cardboard are two common examples of recycled packing materials. They are lightweight and easily molded into different shapes, making them ideal for various purposes.
Choose Your Embellishments Wisely
The subtle yet elegant touch that foils, varnish, and embossing brings are essential in any packaging. Fortunately, switching to luxury brand packaging solutions does not necessarily mean you have to do away with these details. Instead, you can begin by finding ways to produce them in an environmentally friendly way.
For example, opting for recyclable foils and laminates are a sustainable alternative to conventional metalized board and lets users recycle the accompanying carton in standard household streams.
Encourage End Users to Recycle
What better way to switch to luxury eco-friendly packaging than to ensure your end users are also on the same page? It’s always a good idea to clearly label your packaging as reusable or recyclable to guide consumers on how to dispose of it properly.
Making it easier for them to recycle your packaging can also help. One approach luxury brands can explore is using mono-material packs – these are made from a single type of recyclable material, like tin or paper. This kind of packaging eliminates the need to separate different materials, making recycling easier for end users and a less energy-intensive process for manufacturers.
Consult With Sustainable Packaging Experts
Companies keen on switching to sustainable packaging for a luxury brand must collaborate with packaging consultants specializing in and value sustainability. With their knowledge and passion for green packaging solutions, they can help you achieve your sustainability goals while helping ensure your end users are pleased with the change.
Brands That Have Adopted Luxury Eco-Friendly Packaging
There’s no limit to implementing sustainable packaging for luxury brands, and here are some real-life examples proving so.
Burberry has been moving towards eliminating unnecessary plastics in its packaging. Through a modern manufacturing process, the brand produces minimalist paper packaging using recycled coffee cups. The result is a high-quality luxury brand packaging line that exudes the sophistication and elegance that the brand is known for.
It was in 2020 when Gucci started using paper packaging sustainably sourced from FSC-certified forests for its luxury accessories. At present, their packaging is made entirely from recycled packaging. Luxe cotton ribbons have also replaced the polyester handles.
The Irish brand specializing in men’s clothing has long been in the sustainability game, as their garments exclusively use GOTS-certified organic cotton and other natural materials. They use unbleached recycled cardboard boxes for their packaging, and the end product marries sophistication with the simplicity of natural materials.
In July 2020, multinational alcoholic beverage leader Diageo announced the creation of a plastic-free, paper-based spirits bottle – the first in the world. Besides meeting food safety standards, thanks to its sustainably sourced pulp, it can also be recycled in standard waste streams. The groundbreaking packaging debuted with Johnnie Walker in 2021.
PVH, the global apparel company that owns brands such as Calvin Klein, has ongoing efforts to develop products with more ethically sourced materials and sustainable packaging. Their strategies include incorporating more non-plastic packaging materials and using thinner materials for clothing packaging. With these efforts, the company’s overall packaging became 74 percent recyclable in 2020.
ASOS, a British online retailer offering affordable and luxury fashion, has been actively eliminating problematic and unnecessary packaging for the past three years. Some of their notable efforts include:
- Using the next-smallest packaging option for orders.
- Removing 75 percent of the packaging in more than 80,000 shoe boxes.
- Using 100 percent recycled and recyclable materials to make delivery boxes.
- Encouraging customers to send back their ASOS mailing bags and recycling them.
The Need for Big Brands to Lead by Example
Big companies represent desirable values and sell stories and purpose. And for many consumers, following a brand and purchasing its products is one way they express their own identity and beliefs. This is an opportunity that luxury brands can maximize to practice sustainability and encourage their loyal customers to follow suit.
Some argue that for-profit companies can’t want to do good, fulfill their social responsibility and pursue profits at the same time. However, with the right strategy and an experienced packaging provider to support them, switching to sustainable packaging options can help companies meet evolving customer expectations and reap its benefits.
As former Unilever CEO Paul Polman said in a 2017 interview with Yale Insights, “Brands that have a stronger purpose are brands that are more profitable.”
Make a Positive Impact on the Environment – And on Your Customers
The impression that your luxury brand’s packaging creates is essential in attracting new customers or keeping existing ones delighted. As such, it must reflect your company’s identity and values.
The good news is that switching to more environmentally friendly materials does not mean sacrificing your packaging’s quality or brand’s image. There are several strategies you can explore to minimize your impact on the environment, and big brands have successfully implemented green programs that worked for them and their goals.
With a well-planned approach and the right packaging partner, it is possible to create sustainable packaging for a luxury brand that meets consumer desires and helps companies be more environmentally responsible.
Let Hughes Enterprises help you discover how to protect the planet and preserve your branding. As one of the leading packaging distribution companies in the nation, we use our in-depth expertise and advanced equipment to help businesses like yours find the right eco-friendly options. Get in touch today to learn more or request a quote.