Packaging sustainability is still a relatively new concept for many modern-day packaging professionals, but it’s fairly old hat for packaging experts at the world’s second-largest plastics and chemicals group E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company of Wilmington, Del., whose long-running annual DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation competition has in recent years evolved into a world-class celebration of new packaging products with outstanding environmental attributes and enhancements.
Claiming to be one of the very first large multinationals to have established environmental goals and performance benchmarks for itself some 18 years ago, DuPont had in fact first recognized environmental excellence in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) back in 1989 by handing out its flagship Packaging Innovation awards for bottles and egg cartons made from 100-percent recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate)—adding an important new judging criteria to the traditional emphasis on packaging user-friendliness and consumer convenience.
This year, the competition’s 21st edition was specifically structured to “honor materials, processing, technology and service achievements that demonstrate progress toward sustainability while also meeting important market requirements for enhanced performance such as improved freshness, convenience and shelf appeal,” according to DuPont.
“We apply DuPont science in working with consumer goods companies to redesign their packaging in order to minimize packaging content and improve environmental performance, as well as to be more cost-effective,” explains William Weber, vice-president and general manager of the DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers unit.
“The industry needs to work together to achieve these kinds of innovations, which is why DuPont sponsors the independently judged, industry-wide DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation, to honor companies that are working to make their products more sustainable,” says Weber, citing recent studies showing that:
About 44 per cent of polled consumers claiming that their “green” buying habits remained unchanged despite the recession;
Among consumer goods producers, over half (55 per cent) say their commitment to sustainability initiatives have not changed despite the economic slowdown, with 76 per cent of them identifying packaging as their top focus area.