Our hyper-connected world has generated new concerns for brands to consider. The handling of data, the boundaries of privacy and the accuracy of shared sources – these can be scrutinized vigorously, shared widely and damaged irreparably.
For fashion brands and retailers, this new examination of ethics becomes a question of transparency. The recent cases of high-profile online brands cutting networks of unscrupulous suppliers demonstrates two things.
The first is a lack of transparency has real-world consequences. What can begin as a customer’s tweet can end in a national news story.
The second is that fashion is taking transparency seriously, at least concerning its suppliers.
But what about packaging? The dramatic shift to ecommerce retail makes brand packaging increasingly critical. It is becoming the primary touchpoint between brand and consumer, suppling the discovery, excitement and engagement once provided by physical shopping.
And with 86% of consumers stating that transparency is more important than ever before, using opaque packaging providers means enduring a significant commercial and ethical risk.
To avoid the pitfalls that await brands reluctant to commit to open, clear packaging production, we must begin at the initial stage of the process, and the tracing of materials.
Sustainable supply chains
A supply chain begins with the sourcing of raw materials. As with fabric sourcing for clothing and accessories, packaging materials should ideally be sourced ethically, providing sustainability and full transparency of procurement.
Where possible, use of recycled suppliers should be encouraged, so fewer raw materials are required, and a circular economy is created.
Prohibitive costing can be negated through brand partnerships. Raw materials can be sourced collaboratively and shared, creating lower costs, less waste, and a smaller carbon footprint.
Fashion houses - as mentioned above - are beginning to select suppliers who promote fairer working conditions. However, this primarily concerns the manufacturing of products. So far, packaging has generally evaded these same principals.
This is unlikely to last. Brands and retailers should pre-empt the inevitable and develop relationships with packaging suppliers who adhere to the highest ethics.
Fashion brands are quick to condemn exploitative working conditions. But those same conditions can exist in the production of their boxes, bags, and other packaging elements.
As consumer transparency intensifies, this element of the supply change is destined to recede.
Travel is one of the most significant factors of global warming and for fashion brands, air miles are a particular cause for concern. The issue of climate change has been a burden for the fashion industry, with its connotations of excess and indulgence. Therefore, we see the biggest brands perpetually reiterate their eco-credentials.
But, despite the incessant messaging, fashion brands need to do more to combat climate change. The transportation of goods and materials, from one point in the supply chain to another, should be a key consideration for both the product and packaging production lines.
If materials are sourced in one country, but the packaging in which it will be shipped in is imported from the other side of the world, a brand cannot credibly continue to claim eco-sustainability
Reduce, reuse, and recycle
To understand the changing nature of the consumer, and the demands this puts on fashion brands, witness the reaction of customers who receive less than satisfactory packaging.
Upon receiving packaging with no recyclability, it’s not uncommon from consumers to take to social media. When this resonates, a campaign emerges, picked up by the relevant press, with brands then compelled to alter packaging and products.
This damaging oversight is easily avoided. Finding a sustainable packaging supplier will ensure paper bags and cardboard boxing are deployed, incorporating innovations such as weather-proofing and elongated durability.
At Delta Global, we avoid the drawback of magnetic closure systems that compromise the recyclability of otherwise sound packaging by using our Delta Global Removable Magnet System®.
This allows magnets to be easily removed and the package can be flattened, recycled, or reused.
We also ensure our packaging projects are completed to luxury standards, maximising the packaging experience for the consumer but, importantly, boxes rendered to the highest standards will be kept and repurposed.
We know that consumers are happy to provide a second life for Hermés boxes, while Tiffany’s robins-egg blue box has an entire consumer market of its own. Producing boxes of this quality means continual reuse that satisfies both environmental and transparency demands.
And those demands are unlikely to recede. The fashion industry has taken great care to demonstrate its commitment to transparency. But without a systematic shift to ethical packaging, a risk of deficiency remains.
Find your transparent packaging solution
For more information on our range of transparent, ethical packaging, contact the Delta Global team today.