With today's global brand owners taking corporate social responsibility (CSR) more seriously than ever, packaging choices are being closely scrutinised and new options vigorously pursued.
L'Oréal, for example, has committed to ensuring that all of its products have an improved environmental or social impact by 2020. Its most recent progress report identifies packaging optimisation as an 'essential driver' in achieving this goal.
At glass specialist Groupe Pochet, Strategic Marketing Director Anne Jarrety says: "We notice that customers are increasingly interested in, and demanding, products that respect a CSR approach, which is of course an important focus for us."
For glass packaging, such concerns will often take the form of lighter-weight options, while for plastics, materials strategies are available.
At plastics packaging supplier RPC M&H Plastics, Director Simon Chidgey points out that requests for sustainable options are nothing new.
"But this interest has spiked over the last few months, undoubtedly in response to the recent and widespread focus, media coverage and government intervention regarding the potential environmental impacts of packaging," he says.
"This interest is not just restricted to the UK, as we are seeing enquiries from across Europe and from multinational players."
The light side of glass
Vetroplas Packaging in the UK works with a number of different producers in Europe, including Italian glass and plastics supplier Eurovetrocap. Although it has both 'glass' and 'plastics' in its name, around 75% of the packs sold by Vetroplas are glass, says Sales Director Simon Dix.
"Over the past two or three months, the topic of the environment has