Wrapology design and manufacture packaging for the fragrance and beauty, jewellery, and tech sector. The company has embraced sustainable packaging as a fundamental when developing products. The founders, brother and sister duo, Annika, based in London, and Tom, based in China, answered some questions around sustainability within the luxury sector.
How important is sustainable packaging for brands in 2020?
Tom: It’s the main reason brands come to us now. They want to create the most sustainable packaging possible using the best possible material and manufacturing processes and rely on our expertise.
Annika: Producing responsibly and communicating reduce, renew, recycle throughout the supply chain has always been a consideration but we noticed a change in urgency when Blue Planet II was released in 2017. That propelled brands to make sustainability a priority.
We noticed a change in urgency when Blue Planet II was released in 2017. That propelled brands to make sustainability a priority.
How have you responded to the shift in sustainability urgency?
Tom: We had to define what we mean when we say sustainable packaging. We developed our 6 Pillars of Sustainability which addresses the whole supply chain, while providing a simple framework for decision making.
Then, we worked closely with some large brands, in specific industry sectors, to understand what design constraints they had and what solutions had been proposed so far.
In the jewellery sector, many brands struggled with their packaging being made from multiple materials such as wood, plastic, metal, foam and paper. Multiple materials mean it’s impossible to recycle, so the mono-material range of sustainable jewellery packaging we developed became very popular with them.
In the food, beauty and fragrance sector, going plastic free and fully recyclable was the main goal. In particular, they loved the moulded fibre packaging that is a great alternative to plastic vac trays and the fact that it’s made from the waste product of sugarcane makes a great story.
Annika: We also invested heavily into our prototyping studio in China, so we could source sustainably certified materials and transform them into finished products quickly for brands to interact with.
Shenzhen is an epicentre of innovation and we moved our workshop to be in the centre of a material zone that is constantly developing new materials for brands throughout the world.
What’s been the reaction by the brands?
Tom: Regardless of sector, the medium or niche brands need to be really creative in order to gain market share and attract new customers.
They usually embrace the innovative materials and concepts first and rely on us to get it right. It’s always rewarding seeing their brand or product do well because of that relationship.
Annika: The bigger brands will typically invest more time in doing their due diligence. Third-party audits and certifications are a big part of what we do. We provide certifications showing, for example, that paper was recycled without chlorine, in a mill powered by green energy, using wastepaper sourced from a managed forest.
How do you see the trends developing?
Annika: It’s been interesting to see trends shift away from the ‘blingy’ materials; the shiny golds, silvers and glossy finishes that were popular 10 years ago. Now, it’s all about uncoated papers and brown kraft paper with natural print techniques. Using natural materials that will degrade or can be recycled easily will be preferred.
Tom: We’re in the midst of a material revolution and we’ll see big shifts over the next 10 years in what luxury sustainable packaging looks like. This will be led by consumers becoming more knowledgeable about what recycling and composting, is but also from Governments taxing materials that pollute the supply chain.