Eco-Drivers: Who’s Really Buying Products with Sustainable Packaging?

Most brands these days recognize that including at least a nod towards environmental awareness as part of their sustainable packaging and product is non-negotiable.


It’s long been thought that the consumers who actually pay attention to how “green” a product is when they’re shopping tend to be well-off, with enough disposable income to not always use cost as the foremost driver of their purchasing decisions, and living in North America or Europe. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

According to packaging-container company Tetra Pak’s Tetra Pak Environment Research 2013 report, consumers in developing markets are scoring higher points on environmental sustainable shopping habits than their developed (or “mature”) world counterparts in all but one category out of 6.

Those in developing markets are more likely to purchase products with environmentally sustainable packaging; are buying environmentally friendly products even when they are more expensive than their non-enviro competition; they read labels for environmental information; researched environmental issues; and steered clear of products or brands they thought environmentally problematic.

The only segment where developed markets scored higher was with recycling. But that could be due to availability and depth of local recycling facilities (i.e., this is the one behavior questioned which is not entirely within the consumers’ jurisdiction).

Another find: Carton was thought by survey participants to be the most environmentally-friendly packaging material, mostly due to its recyclability.

So who is doing the doing the environmental decision making? According to a report released by Evergreen Packaging, that would be “Eco-Aware Moms.”

[quote]”With Eco-Aware Moms holding $1.75 trillion in buying power and representing 62 million women, it’s clear that this group of consumers should be top of mind for brands,” says Erin Reynolds, marketing director at Evergreen Packaging. “And, product packaging presents an opportunity for beverage manufacturers and retailers to connect with this valuable shopper.”[/quote]


Some key drivers of Eco-Aware Moms’ purchasing decisions include:

  • They’ll buy based on packaging, e.g. they’ll switch to a product with less packaging;
  • They look favorably on brands that use environmentally-sustainable packaging, especially glass and beverage containers which they perceive to be healthier;
  • They’re very cognizant of how the environment could effect health, so they’ll avoid products and packaging that they perceive as potentially harmful.


To help educate printer/converters on environmental matters, organizations are offering courses on sustainability, like Sustainable Green Printing Partnership’s recently launched three-part webinar series. The three sessions are: “Sustainable Print and the Supplier”, “How Sustainable is Your Supply Chain?” and “Sustainable Print – Why Your Customer Wants It and What YOU Can Do.” Head over to their website for more info.


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