Healthy societies need healthy companies that provide solutions that add value to sustainable living. Going green is no longer an option but a necessity— an obligation that conscious companies ought to make for the future of our planet. Nowadays, green initiatives go beyond the glossy PR, it is a continuous lifestyle that companies push forth for the public to follow and take action. Resources we once thought were plentiful are depleting at faster rates. Both the economic and social developments across the globe add tremendous strain to the planet’s health leading to serious consequences like unpredictable climates. The role of sustainable packaging is only one piece of the massive challenge, but an extremely important one, that companies need to tackle.

Sustainable sourcing and packaging are huge aspects to corporate social responsibility. Referred to as CSR, companies championing on CSR leads are seen more favorably in the eyes of the public. Millennials are the most vocal about returning business purpose as the heart of business. Simply put, consumers are more keen to buy products and services that stand for something bigger. More than ever before, companies not only create value for customers but capture value by involving the consumers directly in the sustainability process. Green packaging not only saves the planet but gives a sense of responsibility to the public, an attitude well worth cultivating. Over the years, meal kit companies have gained popularity and profitable growth as consumers are more keen on cooking recipes at home with wholesome ingredients delivered directly to their door. However, one of the challenges of meal kit deliveries is the amount of plastic waste that is produced once cooking is done. The ongoing challenge is exploring how these meal kit companies deliver not only customer satisfaction through the quality of food items delivered but also in sustainable packaging that boosts customer willingness to buy.

> The values of circular economy are at the heart of sustainable packaging. Sustaining the resources we have on this planet is a collective challenge that requires our immediate attention. Hence, designing a sustainable packaging system where resources are not discarded after product lifecycle but rather waste is regenerated back into mother nature promotes a lifecycle of added value to the planet. Circular economy is all about maximizing the product lifecycle. Resource efficiency is a new kind of wealth in our economy. In order for circular growth to happen there needs to be a circular supply chain of renewable, recyclable and biodegradable inputs. Instead of simply taking, making and disposing resources, companies that practice circular economic efforts exemplify strong leadership skills today by creating better relationships with customers and business opportunities.

Sustainability is a choice that impacts our daily lifestyles. It is a conscious decision from green packaging, everyday routines to big corporate strategy. Green packaging is a growing obligation, nowadays a competitive advantage, that deserves more attention, collective research and implementation across the public and private sectors. Companies already implementing and initiating such green packaging changes shoulder greater responsibility in the sustainability process. A professor once told me that business is like generating red blood cells; profit is a must in order for a business to thrive but you don’t always think to yourself, “I have red blood cells and I am producing red blood cells.” To a business, making profit is something that just happens. Hence, you cannot just chase the market but do business with purpose, goals, values, teaching and learning.

Essay by: Hye Rin Yoon
Arizona State University

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