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Importance of sustainable packaging and shipping

Global trade keeps us connected with customers, consumers and industries around the world.. There are several modes of transport used in global trade – sea, air, land and rail..

Whichever mode of transport you use, even the most meticulously planned shipment can go awry either due to natural disasters or man-made errors..

Cargo damage is one such disaster that not only gives rise to product and financial losses, but could also affect the relationship between customers and their service providers..

In my “Essential Guide to Cargo Damage” I highlighted the different types of cargo claims in containerized cargo..

do i need cargo insurance - shipping and freight resource
Data compiled from UK P&I Club information

Physical and wet damage are examples of damages which could be caused due to lack of proper packaging to protect the cargo on its long voyage..

With the modern developments in sustainable packaging and shipping solutions currently, businesses have no excuse not to take the movement into consideration.

Making an effort to reduce your environmental impact will not only pay off in cost but will impress your consumers in our eco-centric society.

Technology has led to the creation of numerous types of sustainable packaging materials, to allow businesses from any industry to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact.

Here are some of the pressing reasons to incorporate sustainable packaging and shipping into your supply chain.


What constitutes sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging can be deemed as that which has contributed to reducing its environmental impact.

For example, your packaging doesn’t have to be made entirely from recycled materials to be classed as sustainable. It may do its part by reducing the energy needed for its production or it may be reusable, so consumers can use your packaging for another purpose rather than simply disposing of it.

When considering making the change for a more sustainable packaging type, scout around and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions to find the right option for your business’ unique products and consumer priorities.


Why should you consider sustainable packaging?

Brand image

Consumers these days are forced to be more aware of their carbon footprints, as we notice the clear negative impacts that we’re having on the environment around us taking effect.

The pressing environmental issues at hand mean that people simply don’t want to be associated with or buy from brands that don’t consider the environment throughout their supply chain.

Despite the obvious benefits that your sustainable packaging will have on the world, think about your brand’s image too. You can even use sustainable packaging as an effective PR angle and make the most of the attention that the environmental movement generates.


On top of the benefits that sustainable packaging can have for your brand’s reputation, it’s also easy to get started with.

Corrugated cardboard, for example, is arguably the easiest and cheapest material to use when shipping, and it’s eco-friendly, biodegradable, reusable and overall highly sustainable.

Corrugated cardboard boxes can even be produced in-house, allowing businesses to produce boxes on-demand to fit the size of each product, rather than having to order packaging based on estimates.

Kolbus Autobox are specialists in manufacturing box making machines that allow brands to take and keep control of their entire packaging process, including the sizes, shapes, and designs of boxes.


Despite what many businesses may assume, being sustainable doesn’t increase costs. Recycled and/or recyclable materials can be the same if not cheaper than those you currently use, with corrugated cardboard being one of the cheapest to produce, order and ship due to it being lightweight and a paper-based product.


While the look and feel of your packaging is important to reinforce your branding and provide an enjoyable unpacking experience, don’t put too much emphasis on this.

sustainable packaging and shipping

Sustainable packaging provides businesses with the opportunity to take a more minimalistic and simple route, putting the deserved spotlight on your actual product(s).

Packaging that’s cluttered with branding and colour can have an adverse effect, especially as consumers become increasingly aware of the impact that packaging waste has on the environment.

A custom-sized box with a single logo or marketing message will be far more effective than a box filled with branded up packaging fillers. Less is always more where sustainable packaging is concerned!

The less branding and printing you use on your boxes, the shorter your production process will be and your packaging will be far more reusable.


What is sustainable shipping?

While packaging is a significant issue in global warming and our impact on the environment, how you ship your products is important too. Sustainable shipping incorporates greener and more environmentally responsible means for getting your goods to your customers.

Technology is making it far easier for e-commerce businesses to prioritise sustainable shipping, with AI helping businesses to plan the most efficient and responsible routes.

Sustainability in packaging and shipping works together, as if the packaging is more specific to the size and type of each product, more packages can be shipped in one load. The fewer shipments your brand has to make, the less energy used and the smaller your carbon footprint.


How to consider sustainable shipping:

Sustainable packaging and shipping should ideally go hand in hand and here are a few ways for businesses to be more aware and responsible when shipping in terms of the methods and routes used.

Shipping times

In a world where brands are constantly competing to offer their customers the fastest shipping times, it’s easy to join in and try to win business by offering ‘next day’ or even ‘same day’ delivery, as many brands are. In an effort to be more sustainable with your shipping though, don’t offer unrealistic or unnecessarily short shipping times.

The quicker and more rushed your shipments, the less chance they will be packaged as responsibly or densely as possible. You can even offer customers the option for ‘green shipping’, where your products are shipped in the most responsible way possible, with the emphasis rightly being on the sustainability of the shipping and not the speed.

Local business

While it’s important for business growth to offer your products on a national and even international scale, making your local community increasingly aware of your products can help with a business’ sustainable efforts. The more local awareness and business you can drum up for your brand the better, as minimal energy and materials will be required to get your products from A to B.

Shipping methods

If you’re an international business shipping products overseas on a regular basis, it’s important to take into account the mode of transport for your goods. In general, the slower your shipping method, the more sustainable it is.

Where possible, try to avoid using quick modes of transport like air freight and instead opt for slower shipping modes like sea freight which have lower GHG emissions.


How do you ensure sustainable packaging and shipping of your goods.. Do you have any tips or points to add to the above.. Do share it below..


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  1. You included all the necessary information for us to make a decision and presented the information in a one-page table that was easy to read. Your work made it really easy to make a decision. Great job!


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