Sustainability in Contract Packing

 

Can Contract Packers have an influence on the materials used in the supply chain?

Contract Packing is evolving – even as we speak companies are looking at ways in which they can improve their systems, customer service, increase their volume and reduce their costs of production through efficiency measures. There’s nothing new in this you might say, but the high interest in sustainability from both the business sector and the general public gives the impression the Industry must look at its influence on companies who are interested, if not devoted to the issue of sustainability.

From a sales perspective it’s always been a case of working with your partners in order to fully understand each other’s requirements but nowadays it seems that it’s just as important to work in a consultative manner in order to incorporate the knowledge from within the Industry and identify the possible pit falls of ignoring the sustainability issue. Granted the bigger players in Manufacturing can spend the money needed to develop their own departments dedicated to focusing on the big picture but is this a realistic and viable option for the smaller more independent manufacturers, producers and retailers.

With Trade associations covering 85% of businesses involved in the supply chain supporting the code of practice for optimising packaging and minimising waste, the Industry organisers obviously work hard to raise awareness, and with manufacturers and retailers always looking to tailor the type and amount of material needed to provide the right protection for the much greater resources typically invested in products, it’s important to remember the Contract Packers role in this process.  As Co-Packers we’re primarily responsible for putting components together and bringing the product to the shelf in a saleable condition and sustainability is fundamental in helping to achieve this; but we can also use our experience in the Industry to recommend suppliers of appropriate materials, building on our existing relationships with partners and even place ourselves in position to work on a consultancy basis when the planning of product and packaging design is just in concept.

By recognising the importance of the issue and responding in a pro active manner, such as looking at our own internal energy usage and sourcing the appropriate materials for individual projects we take more responsibility within the supply chain and reflect the importance of sustainability as a whole.

Co-Packers can, and do have an influence in the materials used in the supply chain and are certainly playing their part in the evolution of packaging. As a result of working towards highlighting the benefit of sustainability – economically, environmentally and socially we can ensure we meet the needs of the manufacturers responsibilities and by demonstrating our desire to be involved in the sustainability of their products can continue to evolve as businesses whilst sustaining our own direction and development.

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