Is ecological packaging the new black? Article by Lotta-Fiona Åkerfelt

Is ecological packaging the new black?

The younger generation is increasingly looking for better and more sustainable ways to consume products. Many make their purchasing decisions, not only considering the benefits of the product itself, but by evaluating the overall impacts of the product's value chain to the environment and society.

​As consumers are increasingly conscious of sustainability issues, it is important the brand owner is genuinely responsible, authentic and transparent in everything they do – including packaging of its products. If the emphasis on ecology is not true and is solely based on marketing slogans, consumers will notice that the company is imitating being ecological.

How a brand owner can communicate the sustainable packaging to consumers?

Ecological packaging design is an important and effective communication element when a company wants to demonstrate responsibility in its own business and thus promote sustainable development. With the help of sustainable materials and packaging designs, brand owners can improve their brand image.

Nowadays when consumers are more aware of everything and hungry to learn new things, they also want to know more about the company. Clearly a communicated brand story is a very central and approachable element to engage consumers. When the packaging design is successfully implemented the story may even play a bigger role as a communicative cue to young consumers about ecology than, for example, the often used green or brown colours to symbolise environmental friendliness.

The choice of packaging materials can also provide an opportunity to deepen the brand story and stand out from the competition. The importance of the role of packaging is emphasised in relation to the value of the product itself and it is also possible to express the desired image of the product and brand through the packaging.

So - is ecological packaging the new black? In the light of the findings of my study, ecological packaging is seen as a more permanent element than just a temporary trend.  In the future, ecological packaging will be self-evident and there will be no need to justify its existence.

Is ecological packaging the new black? Article by Lotta-Fiona Åkerfelt

Lotta-Fiona Åkerfelt
Aim of the Master's thesis: How ecological packaging design can be used as a company's brand image. She worked as a Communications Trainee at Metsä Board 2018–2019

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