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Green Packaging International Business Issues Assignment
Table of Contents
Green Packaging and World Hunger Page 3
Impact on Packaging Industry and Consumers Page 3-4
Dealing Green Packaging and World Hunger Page 4-5
Possible Solutions Page 5
Green Packaging and China Page 6
Reflection Page 6
Works Cited Page 7-8
Green Packaging and World Hunger
According to the Packaging Association, over 30 percent of all food produced globally is wasted. More specifically, each year, worldwide, a third of all food is thrown away or lost, while more than 800 million people suffer from hunger. (Harris, 2014) Improper packaging design is one of the reasons cited for food and beverage waste around the world. As a result, the packaging industry has been asked to come up with innovative green designs that will help prevent food discarded. Sustainable packaging solutions are just one of the ways to bring more food to more tables— helping millions of people around the world who suffer from hunger.
The packaging industry itself is extended all around the world and this issue impacts international sectors in multiple ways. Though it is not the first time green packaging has come into vision, the call to change up designs in the packaging industry for a more green approach will cause business and companies to go out of their way to create alternatives in order to prevent food waste. Overall, it will be a global effort to research the various wastes in supply chains and to identify packaging opportunities for innovation in saving food and feeding the hungry (Harris, 2014).
Impact on Packaging Industry and Consumers
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations created the PAC Food Waste initiative in response to a recent report regarding food waste and hunger around the world. The organization estimated that to ensure the world’s population could be fed; food production must increase by approximately 70 percent. However, it was stated that during the path from farms to markets to consumers, more than 33 percent of all food produced is lost or wasted (Harris, 2014). Undoubtedly, by the percentage loss of food in the chain, the business industry itself is not very efficient nor productive with transporting its goods— causing a major loss and reduction in various aspects such as in money, time, and products themselves. With this request for sustainable packaging in foods and beverages, green packaging requires more research and documentation when being designed. More initiative from the packaging industry and consideration of materials, processing, and its life cycle have to be taken.
Sustainable packaging is not just the vague concept of "green movement" that many businesses and companies around the world have been trying to include in their products over the past years (Sustainable Packaging, 2014). Green packaging today has evolved into something much more and only recently has the world realized fixing up the packaging industry can help feed the globe.
Regarding consumers, the issue of green packaging and hunger has more likely impacted buyer mindsets. A majority of consumers do not think about food and beverage packaging in terms of ‘helping’ others— helping world hunger. Most of the time, it is more about the product packaging itself, how it looks like, and occasionally about whether it is good for the environment or not.
With this taken into account, efforts in educating the broader community about its role in preventing food waste must be implemented (Harris, 2014). Consumers and customers of any product around the world are to be asked to become more socially aware of this rising issue, and to take into consideration a product’s packaging when purchasing; thinking about the consequences of food waste and how others don’t have access to this food. With the help of consumers around the globe, the world should be able to aid those who suffer from hunger.
However, consumers that are already knowledgeable in green packaging and its relation to hunger around the world don’t always purchase food with sustainable packaging. As a consumer, one would think to just buy whatever they are used to and like, etc. Not to mention, generally, products with sustainable packaging are more expensive than products with regular feasible packaging. Taking that into consideration, having the packaging industry use green ideas will most likely raise the prices of products to accommodate, causing foods and beverage prices to rise. In turn, the concept of green packaging itself may be burdensome consumers. However, feelings towards the issue of paying for green packaging differ from person to person, as everyone has their own viewpoint.
Dealing Green Packaging and World Hunger
All over the world, companies have dealt with this issue of green packaging and food waste one step at a time. Approaches to treating the issue of waste have been a series of ups and downs, and experimental designs for the industry. Around the world, there are multiple companies and brands that have tried to deal with the issue in their own way by providing particular remedies for wasteful packaging.
For example, Global Green USA recently launched a trial shipment of seafood using 100% recyclable packaging. The seafood was to be delivered from Chesapeake Bay to Boston. With this, the company wanted to test the water-resistance of cardboard packaging by shipping seafood in ice (Gerlat, 2013). Compared to plastic and other fibers, cardboard packaging is a better alternative in terms of the environment, however the real concern was testing it for its safety in carrying food without waste. The question of whether this packaging will actually be beneficial in terms of feeding the hungry is still in the air.
Snoqualmie Winery also recently launched a new sustainable packaging. Though not directly regarding issues of food waste, the new sustainable packaging uses less glass and reduces 13% of carbon emissions. As well, the new design requires less fuel to transport around the world (Lopez, 2014). Arguably, the money saved from transporting this product could be put towards the packaging itself, to make it ‘food waste’ friendly. With this in mind, this could also be another way to help those around the globe who are suffering from hunger.
Another example includes specialty food importer and distributor Bespoke Foods. They have recently revealed a new environmentally friendly packaging for its Thai Taste meal kits. From tubs to now re-sealable pouches, the new packaging format has helped reduce the amount of packaging by approximately 70% and is now easier to use, allowing less food to spilled and wasted, and freshness to be retained (Writer, 2014). With pouches instead of tubs, the food saved from its packaging could once again be a way to help save those who are suffering from hunger around the world.
However, even with companies and brands trying to deal with the issue, many businesses in the industry don’t oversee the affects of wasteful packaging. Essentially, a majority of all businesses and companies have not effectively dealt with the issue of green packaging and food waste. In fact, it is very clear that there is ignorance in world hunger because if it is such an issue, why hasn’t the industry acted sooner? There are clear negative instances where this issue regarding packaging and world hunger has been poorly dealt with; however, the packaging industry is so vast that not everything is publicized and be simply fixed.
As mentioned previously, green packaging for food and beverages has become a rising issue over the years and it has been increasingly more important to the world. Since then, manufacturers themselves have come up with various green packaging solutions. Though not all have caught on, or were the best, green packaging has slowly been making its way into the world market.
The issue of food waste due to packaging has been approached through various new ideas such as compostable metallized papers. Essentially, compostable metallized papers are just an alternative to metallized films such as foil laminated papers and foil; which are not always easy to recycle and waste food (Goodbaum, 2012). With different weights and functionality, the food concealed is better protected and not wasted due to mishaps and difficult foiling with various foods.
Another way this issue could possibly be resolved is through eco-friendly thermal boxes. These boxes control the temperature of the any food inside, and most importantly; contain leaks and spills (Goodbaum, 2012). With boxes that highly prevent leaks and spills, no food can be wasted. With this, more efforts and food could go towards those who are hungry.
Additionally, DuPont Packaging has gathered several innovative, sustainable, and cost/waste reduction solutions for green packaging from around the world. One example of their innovative ideas is FreshCase, a meat packaging that keeps meat fresher and longer to reduce food waste. With advanced packaging as such, the vacuum package maintains the meat’s colour, locks in freshness, as well as has an extended shelf— all of which can greatly help the issue of food waste and better packaging (DuPont, 2012).
Even with all these different innovative ideas with green packaging, it is still up to the business industry chain to fix up its kinks, There is no single cure in waste reduction and world hunger, and the globe should address this issue in every link of the food supply chain, not just the packaging industry.
Green Packaging and China
Since last year, according to the China Food and Packaging Machinery Industry Association, there has been a growing trend in green packaging in China. Through cooperation amongst government and institutions, green packaging has been taking life in the country. Although the development of sustainable packaging has already gained some success in China, the country believes that they have a long way to go in terms of policies and regulations, environmental awareness, people’s attitudes and various other factors (Ringier Packaging, 2013).
China is one of the more prominent Asian countries that work towards a greener packaging industry. Specifically, since 2006, international sustainable packaging company Be Green Packaging LLC has simultaneously been expanding its existing manufacturing capacity in China to meet the rapidly growing global market demand for sustainable packaging (Faerman, 2014). With China and other countries, Be Green Packaging manufactures and distributes compostable packaging for food and consumer-packaging industries around the world. The company aims to be wholesome of people, environmentally friendly, and at the same time help reduce food waste globally to help hunger. With this company in China, the country’s efforts in trying to become a more green industry are slowing make its way.
Usually, when one thinks about green packaging, the first thing that comes into mind is the environment; a type of packaging is meant to just benefit the planet itself. However, not many people around the world can connect packaging to hunger. I myself did not see the connection before beginning this research. To be honest, not once did I ever think that the packaging of foods and beverages could be a problem and indirectly cause world hunger. At the same time, I did not believe that fixing up packaging designs could actually help the hungry.
Asia has the largest number of hungry people in the world and China specifically already has warning signs of high population and shrinking cropland (WFP, 2014). Having such a large population, aiming to have a greener packaging industry will be beneficial to China. With the large population, it can help others and themselves in terms of feeding its people who also suffer from hunger, as well as spreading the awareness of the issue.
With China’s efforts in a greener approach and prevention of food waste, I believe the country should expand and gather more assistance from other countries to make green packaging more prevalent; not just in China, but also worldwide. This is a global issue, and with this, more people around the world who suffer from hunger due to poor packaging need to be known so that they can get the food and assistance they need. With China already having a dominance and well know stand in the world market, if China were to collaborate with others, the vision of feeding those in need can become a reality. As stated previously, this is a global issue and a global effort— assistance of the entire packaging industry is the world’s best solution.
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