While brands fight to stay relevant in this age of rapidly increasing environmental awareness, a whole host of regulations and targets are driving change in almost every business.
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With new worldwide environmental guidelines and recycling targets coming into play, the UK wants to lead the fight to remove single-use plastic entirely to help combat global warming.
But many businesses find themselves on a back foot if they simply follow the pack and don’t take direct action to adapt their environmental efforts.
Our Leicestershire-based company, Delta Global, with offices in New York and Hong Kong, delivers quality solutions for a variety of sectors across the globe, including fashion, cosmetics and footwear.
Specialising in luxury papers, fabrics, bags, boxes and accessories, we also provide sustainable finishes and embossing to a luxury clientele, including Tom Ford and Estee Lauder.
Here's our advice to businesses facing the challenge of ethically adapting to a plastic-free future:
1. Revolutionise your brand’s thinking
Sustainability is all about pursuing economic growth while maintaining a global environmental balance. Rampant consumerism has created issues with waste – and we need to challenge people’s perceptions, or we cannot progress.
Sustainability has got to be part of your brand’s DNA and the oxygen you breathe.
It’s about a change of mindset for both brands and consumers. You either want to be sustainable or you don’t and we need to accept the consequences that there’s generally speaking going to be an additional cost required to do it properly.
2. Respect and communicate your brand’s message
With a more eco-conscious and digitally led generation comes stronger expectations for businesses to be more ethical, flexible and faster to deliver.
They need to communicate their values in order to retain those customers who now only want to be associated with brands which echo their own moral standpoint.
Sustainability isn’t just a trend, it’s a crisis that requires serious commitment. With e-commerce, you don’t have the opportunity to speak to your customers at store level, so your messaging has to grip the consumer.
Echoing Delta Global’s own promise to be sustainable in everything they do, the company aims to reduce and offer reusable solutions.
It’s ironic that we are committed to a reduction in packaging – even though we are a packaging supplier.
3. Regenerate value in waste
Companies should give more thought into how they deal with their waste as it could hold a value in being reused or recycled rather than simply being sent to landfill sites.
We need to create a circular economy. Waste holds commodity value if it can be automatically recycled back into the chain. Businesses need to be considering their post-production waste and not just post-consumer waste.
4. Minimise touchpoints in the supply chain
Businesses need to focus “upstream” or further along the supply chain and consider what can be done to reduce CO2 emissions and overseas transportation.
By not shipping a box full of air around the world, we are reducing our environmental footprint.
Flat-pack solutions increases storage space and lessens transportation; manufacturing closer to the end user will also dramatically impact your sustainable credibility.
Allowing the brands we work with to have packaging stored at a local facility decreases the touchpoints in the supply chain and can reduces CO2 emissions by as much as 70%.
5. Automate and use data intelligence
Make the most of your software to produce faster and analytical predictions to help you keep up with fast-changing trends.
Rarely do brands plan for a year’s worth of demand as one style of packaging may not be relevant for them in six months.
The 24/7 online intelligence system (Delta Intelligence) we have incorporates auto replenishment, demand planning as well as short to long term trend forecasting, all of which are paramount to ensuring inventory optimization.
6. Don’t grow complacent
The brand lifecycle can be short lived, especially now that consumers are following fleeting influencer and social media trends. Complacency is the killer to any brand.
It’s not just about the convenience of selling cheap goods and fast delivery, it’s all about the greater balance between caring for your customer and respecting the world we live in. Our method is that together, we can do it better.
Robert Lockyer and Stuart Gannon are CEO and commercial director, respectively, of global luxury packaging provider, Delta Global.