Shareholders put pressure on fashion industry to move to sustainable packaging, report finds

Pressure from shareholders to use packaging which is more sustainable has increased over the past three years, according to a new report1 with board directors and senior executives who work for fashion brands and retailers in the UK, US and Australia, by Aquapak Polymers.

Almost three quarters (74 per cent) said that pressure had increased, with a further 15 per cent saying it had stayed the same, and just 11 per cent said that it had decreased.

Furthermore, 28 per cent expect shareholder pressure to switch away from plastic to more environmentally friendly materials such as paper to increase significantly over the next three years and 55 per cent expect it to increase slightly. Just 15 per cent expect it to remain the same and only 2 per cent expect pressure to decrease.

The impact on their business if the environmental performance of the packaging used is not improved is significant, with executives identifying a drop in market share, reputational risk and declining sales as the three most likely negative outcomes.  These are followed by pressure from NGOs, declining share price and missing sustainability targets.

If the business does not improve the sustainability of its packaging, what do you think the impact on the business will be?

The study also shows that executives are taking the adoption of sustainable packaging seriously, although there is room for improvement.  One fifth said it was ‘very good’, three quarters described adoption as ‘good’ and 7 per cent said it was ‘average’.   

Mark Lapping, CEO of Aquapak, said the fashion industry is under pressure from a number of different stakeholders to improve packaging sustainability, not least its shareholders. 

“Our research shows that this is set to increase over the next three years.  The consequences of not embracing environmentally friendly materials will mean a negative effect on the bottom line as a result of losing market to share greener competitors and a serious dent in sales,” said Lapping.

To help reduce plastic packaging pollution Aquapak has developed Hydropol, a polymer which is soluble and non-toxic to marine life. Hydropol can be used as an alternative to conventional plastic in a wide variety of applications.  It is currently used to make products such as garment bags, offering all the necessary features of traditional polybags: strength and puncture resistance; clarity of film; and protection from leakages and dirt.

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