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Consumer trends show It’s no longer optional, eco-friendly packaging is now a ‘must’ for brands around the globe

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Consumer trends show It's no longer optional, eco-friendly packaging is now a ‘must’ for brands around the globe 1

By Graeme Young, Director of Packaging Works

Have you had a chance to catch up on ‘Our Planet’ on Netflix? If not, grab a box of tissues and be prepared to experience The Attenborough Effect: the global phenomenon fuelling the ‘war on plastic’ and bringing packaging decisions into the consumer eye.

Consumers are paying more and more attention to their purchasing decisions when it comes to packaging. According to a recent survey of consumers from the US & UK by Globalwebindex:

  • 42 per cent of consumers said that products that have packaging made from recycled and/or sustainable materials are important in their day-to-day shopping.
  • The percentage of consumers globally who have said they are willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging has grown from 47 per cent to 59 per cent in just seven years.
  • More than half of people surveyed said they’re now making a conscious choice to use less disposable plastic than they were doing a year ago.

It’s not just documentaries that are fuelling this step-change in consumer trends, it’s also due to viral trends on social media. Images of heaps of rubbish piling up on islands and videos of animals being injured or even killed by plastic packaging are evoking strong emotional responses from the public. Twitter users slam e-commerce brands by posting photos of excessive delivery packaging. All brands are facing consumer scrutiny about their packaging choices in ways not possible before the days of social media.

So, where do brands stand when it comes to packaging trends?

Brands’ responses to packaging scrutiny

Companies opting to commit to recyclable packaging are making headlines daily.

Guinness and other beer brands have finally decided to abandon those dreadful plastic rings to opt for plastic-free alternatives like gluing beer cans together. A supermarket in Thailand has gone viral after creating ‘banana leaf packaging’ for fruit and vegetables. And Aldi has committed to selling only recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025.

It’s not only selling recyclable packaging that matters, however. Coca-Cola was recently slammed as being the most common source of packaging pollution on UK beaches, even though they recently announced that 98 per cent of their packaging is recyclable. Now, campaigners are calling on the British government to toughen packaging laws and make companies 100% responsible for the cost of the waste resulting from their packaging.

How can your company make adjustments to satisfy consumer demands for eco-friendly packaging?

Customers in the US and UK are becoming more aware of environmental issues and how companies work – from production to delivery to disposal.

Whether you’re selling clothing, food, tech gadgets or cosmetics, online or in-store, your company needs to reassess your packaging strategy in order to maintain a market position in today’s eco-friendly world. Sustainable packaging is no longer a USP: it’s a must.

Affordability and brand trust are typically the most important considerations for consumers, which is why it’s important to choose a packaging option that won’t break the bank but that is still sourced responsibly.

Keep in mind that almost half of consumers are trying to buy products that use recycled or sustainable materials – an upward-growing trend. 61 per cent of consumers recently surveyed said that if they realised their current brand is not environmentally friendly, they’d be likely to switch to one that is.

Companies around the globe are working on improving packaging standards. It’s not a simple process, however: there are many factors to consider that are of importance to consumers:

  • Is your packaging manufactured responsibly? For example, is the paper and cardboard sourced from sustainable, managed forests? Are materials made from renewable resources?
  • Could you be using packaging that is reusable instead?
  • Is the price point right, in accordance with the materials used?
  • Does the size of your packaging fit the product? Is it over-packaged?
  • Are instructions for recycling included on the packaging? Is it simple for consumers to separate the different materials for recycling and/or disposal?

By not only switching to sustainable packaging materials, but by also promoting your brand’s commitment to the environment and providing details on packaging about your commitment, you can create a shared experience with consumers.

Brands redefining eco-friendly packaging

Scores of consumers are joining the ‘zero-waste’ movement and committing to only buying from brands that don’t use excessive packaging or those that offer recyclable packaging – or even brands that don’t use packaging at all.

Organisations taking their environmental commitment to the next level could be redefining the future of packaging.

Waves of bulk-buying stores are offering new ways to think about packaging: consumers simply reuse jars and containers to purchase items like spices, lentils, pasta and even laundry detergent. These are popping up across the US & UK and could inspire supermarkets and other shops to clone their model.

Loop, a new ‘zero-waste platform,’ is a delivery service that is launching pilots in New York and Paris this year. The scheme relies on reusable, stainless steel packaging for items like food and cleaners. The containers are sent back to a sterilisation facility after use and resold to other consumers to repeat the process.

The bottom line: eco-friendly packaging is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have.’

Brands not adopting new eco-friendly practices will face consumer criticism sooner than later. Big steps must be taken but investing in a switch to environmentally friendly packaging will only help companies retain their market share.

Business

Sunak to raise business tax to pay for COVID-19 support – The Sunday Times

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Sunak to raise business tax to pay for COVID-19 support - The Sunday Times 2

(Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak is set to increase a tax on business to pay for an extension to COVID-19 support schemes in the budget next month, The Sunday Times reported https://bit.ly/3ujaBcU.

Sunak, in his speech on March 3, will announce he is increasing corporation tax from 19 pence in the pound and will outline a pathway where it rises to 23 pence in the pound by the time of the next general election, the report said. The move will raise an expected 12 billion pounds ($16.8 billion) a year, the report added.

According to the report, at least 1 pence is set to be added to the bill for business from this autumn, at a cost to business of 3 billion pounds, with further rises in subsequent years.

Allies of Sunak clarified he would not increase corporation tax higher than 23%.

These measures will be helpful in paying for an extension to the furlough scheme, VAT cuts and business support loans until at least August.

Unlike the 2010 Conservative-led government, which pursued spending cuts to rebalance the economy after the global financial crisis, Sunak is expected to defer most of the toughest decisions about how to pay for that support in his budget speech.

“The corporation tax hike will be higher than expected and the extension of the support schemes will be longer than most people expect,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.

Insiders indicated the stamp duty holiday on property purchases would also be extended in line with the other coronavirus support measures, the report said.

Britain’s economy had its biggest slump in 300 years in 2020, when it contracted by 10%, and will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021, the Bank of England predicts.

($1 = 0.7136 pounds)

 

(Reporting by Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

 

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Foxconn chairman says expects “limited impact” from chip shortage on clients

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Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 3

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Apple Inc supplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects his company and its clients will face only “limited impact” from a chip shortage that has rattled the global automotive and semiconductor industries.

“Since most of the customers we serve are large customers, they all have proper precautionary planning,” said Liu Young-way, chairman of the manufacturing conglomerate formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd

“Therefore, the impact on these large customers is there, but limited,” he told reporters.

Liu said he expected the company to do well in the first half of 2021, “especially as the pandemic is easing and demand is still being sustained.”

The global spread of COVID-19 has increased demand for laptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics. This caused chip manufacturers to reallocate capacity away from the automotive sector, which was expecting a steep downturn.

Now, car manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have cut output as chip capacity has shrunk.

Counterpoint Research says the shortage has extended to the smartphone sector, with application processors, display driver chips, and power management chips all facing a crunch.

However, the research firm predicts Apple will face a minimal impact, due to its large size and its suppliers’ tendency to prioritise it. Apple is Foxconn’s largest customer.

Foxconn is looking at other areas for growth, including in electric vehicles (EVs), and Liu said their EV development platform MIH now had 736 partner companies participating.

He expected it would have two or three models to show by the fourth quarter, though did not expect EVs to make an obvious contribution to company earnings until 2023.

Liu also said the company was still looking for semiconductor fab purchase opportunities in Southeast Asia after not winning a bid to take over a stake in Malaysia-based 8-inch foundry house Silterra.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao; Writing by Josh Horwitz; Editing by William Mallard and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 4

By Sabine Siebold and Kate Abnett

BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and the United States should join forces in the fight against climate change and agree on a new framework for the digital market, limiting the power of big tech companies, European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen said.

“I am sure: A shared transatlantic commitment to a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050 would make climate neutrality a new global benchmark,” the president of the European Commission said in a speech at the virtual Munich Security Conference on Friday.

“Together, we could create a digital economy rulebook that is valid worldwide: a set of rules based on our values, human rights and pluralism, inclusion and the protection of privacy.”

The EU has pledged to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, while President Joe Biden has committed the United States to become a “net zero economy” by 2050.

Scientists say the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The hope is that a transatlantic alliance could help persuade large emitters who have yet to commit to this timeline – including China, which is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060, and India.

“The United States is our natural partner for global leadership on climate change,” von der Leyen said.

She called the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol a turning point for the discussion on the impact social media has on democracies.

“Of course, imposing democratic limits on the uncontrolled power of big tech companies alone will not stop political violence,” von der Leyen said. “But it is an important step.”

She was referring to a draft set of rules unveiled in December which aims to rein in tech companies that control troves of data and online platforms relied on by thousands of companies and millions of Europeans for work and social interactions.

They show the European Commission’s frustration with its antitrust cases against the tech giants, notably Alphabet Inc’s Google, which critics say have not addressed the problem.

But they also risk inflaming tensions with Washington, already irked by Brussels’ attempts to tax U.S. tech firms more.

Von der Leyen said Facebook’s decision on a news blackout on Thursday in response to a forthcoming Australian law requiring it and Google to share revenue from news underscored the importance of a global approach to dealing with tech giants.

(Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robin Emmott and Nick Macfie; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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