People are aware that individual efforts must be made, but they also think that companies have a great deal of responsibility in the shift towards sustainable development. According to a survey (Baromètre de la consommation responsable), 75.2% of participants believe that any change in consumer behaviour must come from companies and brands.
Adopting eco-friendly practices is a good way to show consumers that you are socially engaged, and to position yourself as a leader in the movement. Today, there are more and more ways to change our habits and adopt new behaviours that have a positive impact on the environment.
Are you wondering where to start when it comes to adopting green practices? Here are five simple, accessible ways to reduce your environmental footprint and make an impact.
1. Review your packaging
In our opinion, packaging is key, since it is the first point of contact with consumers. Making your packaging eco-friendly represents a concrete environmental effort that they can notice when they look at your product.
One idea is to remove any technical vacuum in your packaging. A technical vacuum is an unused space in packaging that often gives the impression that the quantity of product in the box or bag is larger than it really is (e.g., bags of chips that are always only half filled). Eliminating this useless space reduces the amount of packaging material required. Another option is to simply reduce the number of layers in your packaging.
Continuing with the idea of simplifying, consider eco-friendly inking, a printing optimization method to reduce the amount of ink used, thereby reducing the use of non-renewable resources, such as mineral pigments and solvents. Don’t forget to use non-toxic ink if you want to develop compostable packaging.
You also have the option of using more eco-friendly materials such bioplastic, recyclable resin containers to replace Styrofoam, molded pulp, or recycled paper. Progress is made in this sector every day, so you have plenty of options to choose from!
Another point not to forget is to clearly indicate if your packaging is recyclable, compostable or not. There aren’t very many people who understand recycling logos, so your labelling informations will be appreciated.
2. Reduce your in-store displays
Without telling you to eliminate all point-of-sale (POS) advertising efforts, we believe that it is nevertheless wise to reduce the frequency of these types of campaigns and the quantity of materials used during each. Not only is this advertising approach not very eco-friendly, it also represents enormous costs for short-term campaigns and promotions. Think about investing more in digital advertising to replace certain POS elements (e.g., discount coupons and recipe books can easily be offered in digital format).
3. Offer product refills
In an ideal world, or, at least in a greener one, all food products would be available in bulk, without compromising their accessibility or brand recognition.
However, let’s be realistic; we are not there yet. The bulk approach is gaining in popularity, but only a few stores offer this option, and grocery stores are not equipped to sell their products in this way. The majority of the population would also have to be educated adequately in order to change their habits and adopt this purchasing method. As well, let’s not forget that without packaging, it is hard for brands to differentiate themselves and effectively communicate their promise and benefits.
An alternative solution is to offer refillable formats. All you need to do is offer your product in a large format with quality packaging that consumers can keep and repeatedly refill. Remember to offer refills in minimalist packaging made of eco-friendly materials.
4. Optimize your packaging for transport
For fear of seeing their products damaged during transport, many companies fall into the trap of overpackaging, which is neither environmentally friendly or profitable. Several specialists, such as Cartier Packaging, offer solutions to optimize your packaging. The process consists of finding the best way to protect your products with the just right amount of materials.
Another interesting and economical option is to stop using single-use transport boxes and replace them with reusable ones. Why not try resistant plastic bins and recyclable pallets? You could also use fabric instead of foam packing peanuts or bubble paper.
5. Join a cause or an association
Supporting an environmental or social cause is an excellent way to show people the values that matter to your business. Here again, we are talking about concrete efforts that consumers can see, which will increase your goodwill capital and enable them to identify with you because you share the same values. In some cases, companies can even benefit from the profile and reputation of the organization with which they associate.
You can join an existing foundation or a research and development program, or create your own in your chosen sector. We have several important environmental organizations in Quebec, such as Éco Entreprise Québec, Équiterre, Jour de la Terre Québec, Association québécoise Zéro Déchet and Greenpeace Canada. There are several other local organizations, so don’t hesitate to find one that works in your area.
In closing, you should never overlook the importance of communicating all the sustainable development efforts you make. The efforts themselves are important, but the impact that you are looking for from consumers can only be achieved if they know about the changes you are making. So go ahead and talk about them on your packaging, on your social media on your blog and in the media.
Would you like personalized advice from our food marketing experts about how to improve your brand image and effectively communicate about the efforts you are making for the environmental? Contact us!