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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Packaging Pros Have Limited Understanding of Biz Impacts of Resource Scarcity

Packaging professionals within consumer packaged goods companies report growing awareness around the business impacts connected to natural resource scarcity, but robust knowledge and understanding is still absent, according to a recent survey by Tetra Pak.

Last month, Tetra Pak surveyed 120 sales, marketing, R&D, purchasing and other packaging professionals within the consumer packaged goods industry to explore industry perceptions around company resource management practices, especially in light of diminishing finite natural resources combined with population growth and increased consumer demand for packaged goods.

The results from Tetra Pak's survey align to recent findings from Packaging Digest's annual survey of packaging and sustainability around use and expected growth of bio-based packaging materials.

Just 41 percent of survey respondents said they were “very aware” of the impacts of resource scarcity on their business. Although respondents reported some awareness around eight attributes related to resource management practices within their companies, awareness levels of most attributes at 50 percent or less.

Survey respondents reported three top impacts to companies: 1) greater price volatility around supply/raw materials; 2) long-term shortage of supply resources; and 3) decreased ability to manage costs. Respondents also cite the following as the top reasons for using renewable materials:

  • Sustainable resource management will contribute to growth
  • Using renewable materials allows company to secure long-term supply
  • I expect demand for renewable packaging to increase
  • Using renewable resources can help mitigate climate change

Survey findings also reveal that respondents are uncertain if companies are doing the right things and following best practices. Only 18 percent of respondents report being satisfied with their company’s resource management practices and only 22 percent believe their company has a good understanding of actions to take to become an industry leader.

The survey is part of Tetra Pak’s Moving To The Front initiative to sharpen the focus on resource scarcity and its implications for the ongoing viability and business growth of consumer packaged goods companies. The initiative invites manufacturers, brand owners, NGOs, and others to expand attention from the mid and end of the life cycle to the beginning

Tetra Pak‘s 2014 Sustainability Update showed that the company in 2013 delivered 1.1 billion packages to customers worldwide featuring bio-based caps (made from plastic derived from sugarcane), nearly doubling the number sold in 2012. On average, Tetra Pak reported its cartons were already made of 70 percent renewable resources, and bio-based caps increase the renewable content of those packages by approximately 4 percent.

According to a recent survey conducted by business research firm Opinion Research Corporation International (ORC) for Asia Pulp & Paper, 35 percent of Americans are willing to pay more for eco-friendly holiday gift bags; this number is even higher for younger consumers


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