Sustainability is one of the most pressing concerns for consumers today. Their attitude towards the environment is increasingly reflected in their purchasing decisions. What do retailers and brands have to consider when responding to the public’s growing expectations to ensure economic growth? What role does sustainable packaging play in a brand’s profile? The platform The Paper Bag – an association of the leading European kraft paper manufacturers and producers of paper bags – has released a white paper which delves further into the topic and shows how retailers and brands can enhance their brand value by making paper carrier bags an integral part of their customer experience.
Today’s consumers are much more socially conscious and environmentally aware than they were a few years ago. This is also mirrored in their rising expectations that brands treat the environment in a way that does not compromise the life of future generations. To be successful, brands must not only convince with a unique profile, but also respond to the growing demand for the responsible use of resources and sustainable consumer lifestyles.
Insights into consumer behaviour
“How to enhance your brand value and do good for the environment” – the white paper looks into a number of recent studies and surveys on how modern consumers’ lifestyles and expectations have influenced their preferences and their shopping behaviour when choosing products and brands. One important aspect in consumers’ consumption decisions is the ethical conduct of a brand. They expect brands to support them in being sustainable themselves. This becomes especially relevant regarding the ascendancy of millennials and generation Z, who are particularly committed to companies that follow sustainable development goals and social calls for action. The white paper gives examples of brands that positively influenced the growth of their business by successfully integrating sustainability into their brand profile.
Packaging as ambassador of a brand
The white paper also puts a special focus on the role of a product’s packaging as an important brand ambassador that influences consumers’ decisions at the point of sale. With their increasing attention to a packaging’s recyclability and reusability and their wish to reduce plastic waste, paper packaging is on the rise as consumers’ preferred packaging solution. It has strong credentials in terms of sustainability: it is recyclable, reusable, sized to fit, compostable, made from renewable resources and can be disposed of easily as it does not need to be separated.
Paper bags complete a sustainable brand profile
Paper carrier bags are an important part of the shopping experience and in line with a modern and sustainable consumer lifestyle. As a visible part of a brand’s corporate social responsibility, they perfectly complete a sustainable brand profile. “By providing paper bags, brands demonstrate that they take their responsibility toward the environment seriously”, explains Kennert Johansson, Acting Secretary General of CEPI Eurokraft. “At the same time, paper bags are strong and reliable shopping companions that help consumers to avoid plastic waste and minimise negative impacts on the environment – the perfect requisites to enhance a brand’s value.” The white paper can be downloaded here.
Switch from plastic to paper
Two recent examples of retailers that successfully integrated paper carrier bags into their brand portfolio are to be found in France. Since September 2020, E.Leclerc has offered paper bags based on renewable fibres instead of plastic bags: either recycled or PEFC™-certified from sustainably managed European forests. The supermarket chain promotes sustainability even more: customers can swap their old E.Leclerc plastic bags for a paper bag in the store and exchange their paper bag for a new one if it is no longer usable. Simultaneously, Carrefour has banned its non-recyclable bioplastic bags for fruit and vegetables from the shelves. Today, customers can use 100% FSC®-certified kraft paper bags. According to the supermarket chain, these bags have proven very popular among customers in several test stores over the summer. A larger shopping bag version is now available in addition to the current shopping bags.
 https://www.e-leclerc.com/catalogue/evenements/nouveaux-sacs-de-caisse [viewed on 4.11.2020]
 https://www.carrefour.com/en/actuality/plastic-challenge-kraft-paper-bags-and-cotton-ones-fruit-and-vegetables [viewed on 04.11.2020]