‘GREEN’: A Tale Of Two
How to become a sustainability practitioner. By Elizabeth Abrams
t used to be that the concept of “green” was confusing: being envi- Beautify And Simplify
ronmentally friendly cost more to accomplish, and that extra cost got Forward-thinking executives realize that packaging serves dual pur-
passed on to consumers. That approach used to work; shoppers who poses. It has to be both aesthetically pleasing and transportation-friendly.
bought “green” would buy your cereal and juice regardless of price, Approach both aspects with the idea of simpliﬁcation in mind. Large
and those who wouldn’t, well they weren’t the ones wanting all-natural brands, like Tropicana and Pepsi, have undergone a total brand redesign,
or organic products. That philosophy is a thing of the past. Two-thirds swapping out cluttered, overly intricate logos for simpler, cleaner and
of retailers are stocking sustainable goods because shoppers are calling therefore, fresher designs. The theory: the more streamlined the packag-
the shots, and more of them than ever want sustainable products that are ing, the purer, more straightforward and economical the product. Purity
both healthy and most importantly, inexpensive. and simplicity equate to high quality, and more than ever, high quality is
This trend represents a broader emphasis on simplicity. Shoppers synonymous with all-natural, or sustainable.
want clean, simple products that cost less than their synthetic counter- While you are redesigning your outer packs, review your inner packs.
parts, and the concept is not limited solely to ingredients. Your shipping Remember that transportation costs are rising, contributing more and
process must run lean as well, and that means ensuring your transpor- more to the shelf price of your product with some estimates as high as 20
tation practices are sound and your packaging is sustainable. Your goal percent. It might be time to consider alternative packaging that is light-
is to reduce waste and decrease price. Packaging has a direct effect on weight and reusable.
logistics costs, so emphasize aesthetics over functionality. Reduce your Review your product. Does it take on the scents of products nearby?
packaging, use environmentally-friendly materials and focus on practical- Is it delicate, requiring several layers of packaging? What is your claims
ity. You’ll cut costs, and in the process, be more than a sustainability sup- rate? The naturally sustainable product costs less to produce and ship,
porter. You become a sustainability practitioner. so enlist key people from each point in your product lifecycle to brain-
www.foodlogistics.com • F JUNE 2010 31
storm new ways of reducing waste. Consult indus- ordering system whose technology connects you both to the warehouse
try associations with experience. The Sustainable ﬂoor and to the shipper.
Packaging Coalition endorses several packaging Such is the case with International Coffee Trading, a Miami-based cof-
methods and recently deﬁned its sustainable pack- fee distributor. Company president Lisa Bagley found a partner in Case-
aging criteria. Review the latest moves by fellow suppliers.