Pregis’ takeaways from Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s SPC Impact event: brands must be open about sustainability goals; educating the public on sustainable packaging is an industry responsibility; brands should prioritize sustainability legislation

Sample article from our Packaging Industry

May 24, 2023 (press release) –

Pregis is a proud SPC member and recently attended its spring flagship event, SPC Impact in Austin, Texas last month. We'll outline our top 3 takeaways, and explain how to get the most out of what we learned.

Sustainability in packaging should be a priority to all of us, whether you’re a part of the packaging industry, in the consumer retail business or simply a consumer of everyday products. As much as we’d all like to think we’re sustainably minded in our packaging decisions, sometimes it’s easier said than done to be proactive and accountable while making forward progress. That’s where organizations, like the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), can make a difference. Pregis is a proud SPC member and recently attended its spring flagship event SPC Impact in Austin, Texas last month. The event is a meeting of the minds for those dedicated to bringing about a more sustainable future in the packaging industry and beyond. The topics of the hour ranged from global legislative trends and shortfalls to how companies are holding themselves accountable. This event is a great opportunity for manufacturers, suppliers and brands to step outside the bounds of their every day responsibilities and focus on how they can best make an impact with sustainable packaging.

Didn’t make it to SPC Impact 2023? No need to fret. We’ve compiled our top event takeaways and the immediate actions your brand can take to make the most of them.

To be a truly sustainable brand you need to be openly transparent about your sustainability goals

Despite sustainability being a hot topic across all industries, it’s clear that there is still a bit of confusion surrounding the primary objectives companies should focus on and how and when to communicate them. It’s hard to make forward progress as a whole when everyone is aiming for a different target.

So how can you make sure your goals are on par with those around you? Talk to others. Ask them what their goals are and why. Why are they choosing to reduce carbon footprints instead of opting for zero waste? Are they considering circularity? It also doesn’t have to be your immediate networking contacts that help you get a fuller picture of where your efforts should be focused. Major initiatives such as The Climate Pledge, co-founded by Amazon, help set standards for the leading sustainability initiatives out there.

If you already have a set of established sustainability goals, it’s key to ensure they are fully understood and embraced throughout your company. To test that concept, ask yourself, “do I know what our sustainability goals are and how packaging affects those? Can I articulate the metrics that they’re measure against on an annual basis? What about others? Do your CFO and Procurement Director realize that spending a bit more on the right packaging on the front end, could mean less spent on remaking, reshipping and replacing damaged products which would ultimately help accomplish the reduction of a carbon footprint the company laid out? Does your Marketing team truly understand what goals you’re working towards so they can continue consistently articulate them to customers and beyond on your website, advertising, product packaging, protective packaging and beyond? Being a truly sustainable brand means that every decision maker in the company needs to understand their impact on your sustainability goals.

There’s no such thing as too much transparency or overcommunication when it comes to the goals you’re working towards and the why behind them. It will not only keep others abreast of how you’re making an impact but will also help to keep your brand accountable for the goals you’ve set.

Educating the public on sustainable packaging is the responsibility that falls on all of us

It’s no secret that the United States has some work to do when it comes to getting consistent sustainability education out to the masses. There’s misconceptions about which packaging material has the biggest impact on the environment. There’s confusion surrounding what packaging is curbside recyclable, what is store drop off recyclable and what should be sent to the landfill. There’s conflicting information on whether it’s more important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower water usage or drive down the number of harvested trees. It’s no wonder the collective understanding of where we stand and where we should be headed is hazy, at best. It’s going to take all of us to bring about a baseline understanding of how corporations and consumers can work together to make an impact.  

So what can your brand do to help?

Take on a part of that education. Work with your suppliers and manufacturers to gain more information about the materials that you are using in your packaging and why they are or aren’t the best option for you – they are, after all, the subject matter experts and the closest to the source.

Engage your internal advocates. Can your marketing team provide engaging blogs to educate your customers on the ins and outs of sustainable practices?  Is there room to add sustainable factoids to your product or protective brand packaging to debunk misconceptions? Can your sales force incorporate LCA slides into their pitch decks?

Commit to continuous education within your own corporation. Events, like SPC Impact, are a fantastic source of information sharing, but there are also countless workshops, white papers and networking groups dedicated to getting the message out about what’s new in sustainable packaging and how the industry can band together to make a difference.

Sustainability legislation affects us all – get involved!

We’ve all seen the recent headlines about different municipalities trying to chip away at what legislators see as a “packaging problem”. Unfortunately, when pressed politicians don’t seem to be able to articulate what that problem is. You’ve got some countries, states or even local municipalities focusing on plastic elimination without fully understanding the benefits that plastic can provide, while others are doubling down on multiple-use primary packaging. While the efforts to drive change through legislation are noble and light years ahead of where we’ve been in the past, the scattered approach to enforcing sustainable corporate behavior doesn’t seem to be moving the needle.

So what can brands do to make a difference? While very few brands have the power to move mountains on their own, there are steps yours can take to lead the way. Make sustainability legislation a key tenet in your company’s priorities. It’s important not just for your Chief Sustainability Officer to understand what’s going on in the cities, counties and states that you operate in from a legislative perspective, but your operations, marketing and revenue executives as well. Do they know what new bills are on the docket? Are there subject matter expert connections you can help make with legislators so they can have a more holistic understanding of how to best tackle sustainable initiatives? Education is going to be a major key in getting the US over the hump when it comes to making environmental strides in packaging and it’s not just consumers that need help in understanding where the biggest impacts can be made.

Starting small can make a huge difference

Sustainability in packaging is a crucial focus for brands across all verticals, and while it can feel overwhelming to pinpoint how your brand can make the biggest impact, it’s key to remember to start small and stick to it. More importantly, just remember you’re not in this alone. Pregis would be happy to talk to you about your sustainability goals, why they are important to you and what changes you can make to achieve them.   

Contact us today!

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Dan Rivard
Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

We offer built-to-order packaging industry coverage for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.

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