Amazon and Wal-Mart Promote Rage-Free Packaging

In 2008, Amazon launched its “Frustration Free Packaging” initiative which was born out of demand from consumers to have packaging that was easier to open. Nineteen items from Mattel and its Fisher Price brand, Microsoft Corp. and memory-card maker Transcend Information Inc. were used for the project. It has grown to 80,000 products this year, with more than 12 million items expected to ship under the program. Amazon wants to at least triple that number next year.

Teaming up with Wal-Mart, Amazon is pushing more manufacturers to change their packaging to cut waste and ease shoppers’ “wrap rage”. The nation’s largest online store and the world’s biggest retailer are asking large vendors like Procter & Gamble and headset maker Plantronics to do away with unnecessary and cumbersome packing materials. Such awkward packaging includes hard plastic packaging and wire ties used to secure toys to cardboard backings. Amazon is contacting manufacturers that get poor customer feedback about their packaging and sending engineers to help them improve their designs. By 2013, Wal-Mart plans to reduce packaging by 5 percent compared with 2008 levels, saving an estimated $3.4 billion annually.

While reduced packaging can boost consumers’ satisfaction, lower shipping costs and appeal to the environmentally conscious, companies are balancing those benefits with the need for packaging that still prevents theft and damage.

This year, manufacturers have been criticized for not using enough recycled or sustainable materials in their packaging. Greenpeace has targeted toy companies who were sourcing packaging materials from Indonesia that derived from the rain forests.

 

Top 3 Green Companies

The act of going green is defined as the process of changing one’s lifestyle for the safety and benefit of the environment. People who decide to go green and take on an eco-friendly lifestyle consider the outcomes their decisions have on global warming, pollution, and other environmental concerns. Sounds simple right? Well if you are a business it may be harder than you think. Those who do decide to make their business practices green have the potential to make a big impact in helping save the environment. They also set a positive attitude for their company, differentiate themselves from competitors, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Going green is an big process to tackle, but the end results are great.

One problem that arises when businesses decide to go green is green washing. Green washing is the practice of companies making unsubstantiated or misleading claims of the environmental benefits of a product or service. Those who rise above this maintain a good company name and brand, while also promoting eco-friendliness.

Here are the top 3 green companies that have made commitments to become sustainable companies:


1. Dell: Dell has made a commitment to transform their packaging by making it safe for the environment. They started by trying out different materials for their packaging. Dell worked with bamboo because it replenishes itself quickly. They also just recently turned to mushrooms as part of their cushioning for their server packaging. Mushrooms are grown, not manufactured, using less energy to produce the packaging. Dell has made many goals in becoming a sustainable company. They plan on reducing waste and making their packaging recyclable. They are constantly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

2. Wal-Mart: The CEO of Wal-Mart decided a few years ago to make a commitment to becoming more sustainable. They decided to make goals of running their stores on 100% renewable energy, implementing a zero waste system, and redesigning products so they are more eco-friendly. Wal-Mart has been successful in meeting their goals and becoming a more sustainable company. They have drastically reduced its waste, cut down on packaging for the goods they sell, improved fuel efficiency, and monitored their suppliers carbon footprint. Wal-Mart has saved millions of dollars by going green, which has helped their business as well as the environment.

3. Waste Management: When you think of this company, eco-friendly probably is the first words that come to mind. But they are taking initiative to change that. Waste Management is no longer just a garbage company, but an environmental answer resource. They are taking charge and finding advances in technology to reduce waste, increase recycling and reuse, creating safer disposal options, and developing sources of renewable energy. They have also found a way to capture methane from landfills, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has generated enough renewable energy to power 1 million homes. They are more than just a garbage company to 20 million customers and are continuing to find ways to protect the environment.

 

If these 3 companies can take the imitative to go green, so can others. These companies have done a great job at setting examples for other companies to hopefully follow.

Efficient Packaging Saves Money

We all know slimmer packaging equals less packaging waste and an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint.  But did you know that efficient packaging can also save money?

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer saved $3.5 million in transportation costs last holiday season because of efficent packaging for toys.  The company used slimmer packaging by reducing one-inch in the cardboard for individual toys going from Asian countries to the United States.  The reduction resulted in 727 fewer ocean containers, which also saved 1,300 barrels of oil.

What can we learn from Wal-Mart’s packaging solutions? As we take a step  in improving our environment through packaging, we can also recognize other benefits.  You can follow Wal-Mart’s lead with your own sustainable packaging.  There are many solutions to save money with efficient packaging apart from size.  Packaging materials can be reused for other packaging needs or used for creative innovations.  Instead of buying more packaging, save your money and use what you have.

For more ideas and tips about efficient packaging visit Sunrise Packaging’s green center!

Green Marketing in a Struggling Economy

So you want to help the environment by being more eco-friendly and increasing your green efforts, but think that it is too expensive? Many people wonder if they should cut back on green marketing and their green efforts in a struggling economy, but in fact you should do quite the opposite. I read in the September issue of Deliver, a marketing magazine, that it is actually a “hook to getting through them”. They say that green marketing improves your efficiencies, increases customer loyalty, and differentiates your brand.

Wal-Mart-Eco-Friendly-EffortsTake for instance, Wal-Mart’s green efforts. Wal-Mart’s “Earth Month” green marketing efforts included print ads for 10 different green products under $10 and “rollbacks” on environmentally-friendly products. Customers are looking for ways to save money in a tough economy, and Wal-Mart is helping them do that, while still having a positive environmental effect.

Eco-Friendly-Efforts-SunChips-Solar-EnergyGreen marketing also increases customer loyalty. Frito-Lay’s SunChips brand gained customers by showing them that green is both good for them and the environment. They started this marketing plan after seeing market research from 2006 that showed that people who care about their personal health also care about the planet. SunChips have 18 grams of whole grain and zero trans fat. Since these chips are healthier than regular potato chips, their campaigns played off this, their nature-related name, and their sustainability investments, which includesEco-Friendly-Efforts-SunChips-Compostable-Bag producing a compostable bag. They promoted their compostable bags with an online video showing them decompose, as well as print ads that included a tear-off sample for consumers to test it out themselves in their compost piles. Green marketing helped SunChips become one of the fastest-growing snack brands at Frito-Lay.

Eco-friendly-Efforts-Innovation-Thinking-Ideas-EnvironmentGreen marketing, done correctly, also differentiates your brand from the competition. IBM took a different route by connecting with the community in their green efforts. Their Smarter Planet initiative used direct mail to encourage individuals, businesses, and institutions to change the way they work. They also started a series of jams, or brainstorming sessions, that bring people from around the world together to solve an issue. Their “Congestion Challenge” collects innovative ideas to fight transportation congestion, and the winner receives $50,000, as well as the development and implementation support for the idea.

Packaging Successes

Successful packaging can lead to increased sales, monetary savings and a more positive public image. The following are some examples of packaging successes and their outcomes. Now would be a good time to take notes.

Successful-Packaging-Wal-mart-EnviroShellWal-Mart – a company that is known for attracting negative publicity but has been working toward sustainability – received positive attention recently for choosing Winterborne as their packaging provider. Winterborne was awarded a Converting 2007 Innovator Award for its EnviroShell package. EnviroShell is a 90 percent recyclable and recycled clamshell and the use of this packaging product reflected positively on Wal-Mart in the news media. The take-away? Sustainable packaging has benefits for the environment and for your business image.

Successful-Packaging-VaselineVaseline recently redesigned its brand through a packaging change. Prior to the change, the brand’s identity had been lost as it expanded. Different products in the Vaseline line had different logos and package designs and there was a lack of consistency. Blue Marlin stepped in and created a consistent, attractive, brand-cohesive logo that would stand for all Vaseline products. Blue Marlin made sure that each Vaseline product included classic blue plastic lids and they put a great deal of effort into matching the color of the logo to the blue plastic lids. Vaseline is now the fastest-growing personal care brand for its parent company, Unilever. What’s the take-away here? A strong, consistent brand combined with refreshing packaging can lead to an increase in sales for your business.

Successful-Packaging-Mrs-Fields-CookiesMrs. Fields revamped its retail packaging to reflect a design similar to the redesigned Mrs. Fields stores nationwide and to play on the nostalgia associated with the brand. Tempting shots of cookies adorn the new packaging, which is now more consistent with the Mrs. Fields brand. This new packaging has earned positive reactions from media sources, especially within the packaging industry, appearing in such magazines as Packaging World. The take-away? Refreshing your packaging can strengthen your brand image and generate recognition for your company!

Get to know the message behind your brand and whether your packaging reflects that. Not every product needs repackaging, but, as in these cases, refreshing your packaging may lead to positive consequences for your company and brand.