Strategies & Insights

Eco-design: Packaging trend to core concept?

Posted: November 6, 2011 by
Linda Casey

The global green packaging market shows no signs of slowing. According to a report from Research and Markets, consumer concern about packaging materials and waste, paired with new packaging technologies that address these concerns, will fuel sustainable packaging’s expansion through at least 2014. This growth is expected to hum along to the tune of a 14% compound annual growth rate.

This growth isn’t new, though. Sustainable packaging has been on an upward trajectory for at least five years, and the decisions of package designers all along have been behind this growth. So, at what point do we graduate the concept of eco-design from packaging trend to core concept?

Some agencies already view green packaging less as an outlier and more as an integral part of the overall design process. “Sustainability permeates everything,” says Eric Ashworth, chief strategy officer for Anthem and its parent company, Schawk. “It’s very difficult to do a project without the sustainability lens being applied to it.”

And I can’t help but wonder if the little luxuries trend cited in our trends report on page 29 will accelerate sustainability’s role as a core package design concept. Rani Tjugito, a structural packaging engineer for The Coleman Company and a consumer with a fresh-from-college budget (she graduated from Rutgers’ packaging program just last year), considers beautiful, sustainable packaged products a worthwhile luxury and is willing to pay “a little more” for them.

If sustainable packaging helps elevate products into affordable luxuries for consumers, it can help CPGs and package designers capture market share and dollars for their brands. These certainly are core goals for brand owners in all packaged goods segments.

To gain a better understanding of how some of the largest brand owners view sustainability, Package Design has invited Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, and Unilever to speak at our annual sustainability webinar, to be held December 13 at 2 p.m. E.S.T. We hope you’ll be able to join us for their presentations and for the live Q&A session that follows. Go to to sign up.

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