Target Unveils New Sustainability Packaging

It’s funny how in the age of digital technology, receiving statements from banks and utility bills via email and storing data on the cloud instead of warehouses containing physical paper files, we thought that somehow going digital meant going green.

I hate to say it though but the old “go paperless, save trees” is probably no longer a truth, not when it comes to mainstream  e-commerce anyhow. The sustainability of e-commerce as a whole, and packaging in particular, is in question and leaves me wondering: Does e-commerce generate more waste than traditional retail distribution?  

Sustainability is a major differentiator for US-based Target this year, with the retailer announcing several measures it will be taking in its packaging designs, including using fewer materials and using more recycled and recyclable packaging products as well.

“Our work began back in 2013 with our first packaging goal—to enhance at least 50 of our owned brand packages to be more sustainable by 2016. Our teams exceeded it, serving up 160 enhanced packaging designs that used fewer materials and more recycled content, and were recyclable themselves,” said the company in a corporate blog post.

Target says it hopes to lead the way when it comes to retail and sustainability measures. “With the power of Target’s team and our scale as one of the country’s largest retailers, we hope to be a catalyst for change across the industry, aiming for the day when all packaging will be recyclable and leading the way to a packaging-waste-free world.”

target unveils new sustainability packaging e-commerce

In addition to this, Target announced its new forestry policy earlier this month, which includes a long-term aim of sustainably sourcing wood, paper and paper or wood-based packaging it uses in its delivery process.

The company is also going beyond its “go greener” campaign, by announcing its “chemical free” initiative, investing into formulating a natural products line by 2020, including beauty, baby and personal care as well as household products that are free of chemical nasties like phthalates, propylparaben, butyl-paraben, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-donors or nonylphenol.

But on the packaging note, and from a consumer point of view, shoppers today believe that a company’s packaging is reflective of its sustainability commitment, so it’s worth retailers considering how to demonstrate this to its consumers.

Follow Prinitha on Twitter @prinitha_g and Instagram @prinitha

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