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Product, Service & Design Innovation
This Industry-First Online Marketplace Is Helping Companies ‘SourceGreenPackaging’

The newly launched B2B marketplace helps connect companies with vetted, sustainable, plastic-free packaging options, as well as education on materials and the evolving regulatory landscape.

With only 9 percent of all plastic being recycled and 12 percent burned, it’s no wonder the environment is suffering from the effects of plastic pollution. Companies and consumers alike have been attempting to turn away from the ubiquitous material in favor of compostable, biodegradable, sustainable substitutes.

A recent report by Drapers showed that 64 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from retailers with sustainable packaging and 50 percent are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging and delivery. Businesses aware of the urgent need to move away from plastic are searching for a platform that allows them to do so.

Enter the new, online marketplace, SourceGreenPackaging — launched in August. The first of its kind — with an oversubscribed pre-seed round — the company has hit the ground running, along with the demand for plastic-free packaging solutions.

“A few years ago, the plastic crisis wasn’t in the limelight; but now it’s something businesses need to address immediately,” co-founder Sonalie Figueiras told Sustainable Brands™. “Over the last couple of years, I have heard businesses say that they want to change but they don’t know where to look — which is one of the main reasons [co-founder Luc Des Vallières] and I decided to offer an ecosystem for businesses to effectively ‘SourceGreenPackaging.’”

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Figueiras said the pandemic — and the corresponding boom in ecommerce — helped increase people’s awareness of problematic packaging.

“There is no escaping the packaging pile up when you are stuck at home; so, people have had to face the reality of their online purchases, from food to retail,” she said. “This has led to consumers asking if businesses can do better, and businesses adapting to their requests.”

COVID-19 has also moved a lot of product sourcing virtual. This, along with a minimized need for tradeshows and the accompanying expenses for businesses, meant it was only a matter of time before the gap for an online, B2B marketplace for sustainable packaging was filled.

“We are digitising ecommerce for a B2B market. B2C gets a lot of attention and companies have gone online and been hugely successful; however, B2B still feels very dinosaur-like.” Figueiras said.

More than a sustainable packaging marketplace, SourceGreenPackaging differentiates itself through an extensive, transparency-first vetting approach, which examines suppliers’ certifications, testing procedures and materials.

“The packaging industry is rife with greenwashing — it’s a huge problem. Even some of the suppliers that we talk to don't understand their own products,” Figueiras explained. “Forget the buyers — the buyers know they need green packaging, but they don't know what that really means; so, it’s important to vet the suppliers from the start.”

The company’s vetting approach is backed by a leading team of experts in its ethics committee — comprised of activists, material scientists, toxicology specialists, packaging and circularity experts.

Figueiras rightly pointed out that packaging regulations are needed to bring about both corporate and public behavior change and enforce mass impact, reduction and revision. With the world declaring war on single-use plastic, regulatory changes seem likely to follow; however until they do, businesses will have to use their initiative to adapt to consumer needs and to be held accountable for every component of their products and their end of life.

A lack of education for businesses surrounding materials can sometimes lead to unintentional greenwashing and miscommunication. Therefore, SourceGreenPackaging is also planning a series of free community events for businesses and buyers — featuring experts from its ethics committee, to help inform participants about different materials, regulatory changes and certification issues.

SourceGreenPackaging is more than a packaging platform — it is a place for scaling the education, accessibility and innovation needed to help us achieve a world free from plastic pollution.