18 Jan How P&G are using owned media to save the environment
Packaging is a valuable owned media asset; however, it only has positive value if its social cost is lower than the value it creates. If your brands packaging is harming the environment, regardless of the media value, it is simply a cost to society. A cost that many people are becoming aware of and are no longer prepared to support.
In reaction to this consumer driven demand for change, P&G’s Herbal Essences recently partnered with waste management company TerraCycle to create a recyclable bottle that is made up of 25% beach sourced plastics. These new beach plastic bottles will be available on a few variants of the range from March until June this year in the US.
It’s easy to be cynical and focus on the remaining 75% of the plastic in the bottle, or what happens after June, why only a few variants, or what about the rest of the world outside the US…? But it’s a step in the right direction for a huge business such as P&G. Their stated vision is to use 100% renewable and recycled materials in all packaging (but no mention on the timing, strategy or key milestones).
There are other examples of eco-friendly packaging being adopted. JUST Water (owned by Will and Jaden Smith) is recyclable and made from 82% renewable packaging. REN Skincare has 100% renewable packaging. The supermarkets removal of plastic bags is obviously a huge win for the environment and there’s more to come with state and federal governments partnering with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and business leaders including Woolworths and Coca-Cola Amatil to create the 2025 National Packaging Waste Target, which aims to make 100% of Australia’s packaging either recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
Packaging is an extremely valuable media asset, but only if it isn’t costing society more when it’s completed its primary purpose. Actions speak louder than words when it comes to the environment, so packaging is one way brands can authentically demonstrate their sustainability credentials. Brands will ultimately be forced by consumers, activists, governments and eventually lawmakers to adopt more sustainable practices. But wouldn’t it be good if they just did it, without the provocation.