Save your customers from sustainability confusion

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Save your customers from sustainability claims confusion

Global, Market Insights, Packaging Science

Save your customers from sustainability claims confusion


There is no doubt that sustainability is here to stay. Based on Nielsen, items with a sustainability claim outperform the growth rate of total products in their respective category, and consumers are more willing than ever to pay extra for products from companies that are committed to a positive social and environmental impact.
But how do your customers know that you have a sustainable commitment?
When buying a product, the first factor which grabs customer’s attention is the packaging, so this is the place to introduce your company’s sustainability approach to customers. 92% of respondents who participated in 2017 Sustainable Packaging study by Packaging Digest, mentioned that sustainability in packaging has never been more important as it is now.  

However, there is another factor to consider in packaging. A study revealed that 92% of participants didn't notice sustainability logos on food packaging. People are confused because they do not know what sustainability labels are and what they mean; this comes as no surprise considering that consumer goods come in packaging with a barrage of logos and stamps.

So, what can CPG[1] companies do to encourage consumers to choose their products over competitors’ products while also clearly informing consumers about sustainability?


Golden rule: Cover the full scope of client interaction, including on- and off-packaging communication. Your company’s sustainability commitments should not only be reflected on packaging but also integrated in marketing campaigns to educate your customers. Why? Based on Label Insights’ study, 74% of customers who cannot find food information on packaging - conduct online research for more information.

On-packaging communication

A product’s packaging space is limited and precious, so it is important to be accurate and transparent to effectively communicate about sustainability. Do not overwhelm your customers with a lot of logos and labels and be clear on your packaging. If only part of the package is recyclable, clearly state this on the packaging along with recyclability claims so that consumers are not misled. You can also include sustainability messages in a secondary location of your packaging as a way to communicate the company’s overall message. A lot of companies consider using Resin Identification Codes, chasing arrows surrounding a certain number of particular plastics used as “recycling numbers”: do not confuse your customers with this information. Instead, use consistent on-package information and educate consumers offline. You can find additional help at strategies at How2Recycle.

Off-packaging communication

It is not enough to put a sustainability label on your packaging; customers should already know that your brand is committed to sustainability through your marketing. Be complete and provide full information on different sustainability efforts, initiatives, and corporate social-responsibility activities. The best is to start  with website and social media communication followed by traditional offline advertising: in-store spaces, printed media, etc.

Need sustainable packaging ideas? Get in touch with us today.

Want more? Take a quiz on sustainability logos for food.

[1] CPG - Consumer packaged goods