One of the biggest challenges today is to encourage both brands and consumers to opt for more sustainable alternatives. Collaboration and alliances with like-minded partners along the value chain can help solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
One of the biggest challenges today is to encourage both brands and consumers to opt for more sustainable alternatives. While this could be seen as a complex and slow path to achieve for an individual, collaboration and alliances with like-minded partners along the value chain have the power to solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
In conjunction with this belief, Sustainable Brands has initiated the “Pull Factor Project,” which provides a global platform for like-minded brands who aim at fueling a culture of sustainable living. Under this project, a toolkit has been developed, which provides guidance to cross-functional teams through a process of generating actionable eco-friendly ideas. The toolkit concept will be unveiled later today at Sustainable Brands’ conference in Detroit.
Even though brands have already started to collaborate to drive a better future, integrating a more sustainable lifestyle into everyday life is still challenging for consumers. One of the key challenges for consumers is to find the right balance between convenience and being environmentally responsible. Products such as wet wipes, for example, are a necessity for many households. Consumers purchase wet wipes largely because they are convenient to use. In this case, convenience can harm the environment since many consumers are unaware of hidden plastic in this product category — a finding that was indicated by a recent global Lenzing survey conducted by almost 4,000 participants: According to this study, only one out of ten consumers is aware of the plastic materials in wipes — a misperception mainly caused by lack of disclosure of fiber materials in wipes.
At the same time, more than 90 percent of the survey participants were interested in finding out more information about fiber materials in wet wipes. This result indicates a much-needed shift in today’s industry practices to better accommodate consumer requests. Some brands and retailers have already started to take actions for catering to such consumer need. For instance, the Dutch brand Sweeps® pioneers the European wipes market by featuring the VEOCEL™ brand logo on its packaging. Consumers will now be able to make their sustainable choice at a glance, since VEOCEL™ is a label of trust for products that are derived from nature and can biodegrade fully. Through processing sustainable materials from packaging to fiber, Sweeps showcases how the industry is collaborating closely to meet the needs of consumers today.
The trend towards fiber transparency in wipes will be accelerated by the European Union. In the attempt to reduce marine litter, there will soon be published an EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, which has identified wipes as one of the ten most polluting items found on European beaches. As a result, the directive calls for clearer marking requirements to disclose the presence of plastic materials in wipes. In addition to that, the directive requires manufacturers to include appropriate disposal options on the packaging. Particularly for single-use products, biodegradability offers a sustainable alternative to today’s waste management practices, which often focus on recycling of plastic.
In contrast to that, cellulose materials are based on the principle of natural circularity. Made from wood, cellulose has the ability to fully biodegrade in a range of natural environments. This inclusion in the natural cycle will be the key to success for those brands and retailers that aim to offer consumers more sustainable alternatives. In this sense, VEOCEL will continue to support different initiatives and work closely with global organizations so as to drive transparency and natural circularity in wipes — while helping to create that elusive “Pull Factor” for conscientious consumers.