Packaging Advice

Unpacking ESG: What is it, and what does it mean for packaging?

5 mins

In today's rapidly changing world, sustainability has become a pressing concern for businesses across various industries. To help navigate this landscape, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles have emerged as a crucial framework for evaluating companies' sustainability practices and ethical standards.

As ESG continues to gain momentum, it’s vital to grasp a good understanding of what it means and how it can drive positive change for businesses across various industries.

In this article, we focus on what ESG is and what it means for packaging.

What is Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)?

ESG refers to a set of standards used to evaluate a business’s impact on the environment and society, as well as how robust and transparent its governance is. This includes company leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.

Essentially, it measures how a business integrates environmental, social, and governance practices into operations. Let’s take a closer look into each area:


Environmental metrics involve the actions businesses undertake to balance their negative impact on the environment. To enhance environmental sustainability, companies can employ various strategies such as leveraging renewable resources, minimising waste generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and designing products that promote reuse and recycling. By adopting these practices, businesses contribute to a greener future and demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability.


Social metrics focus on the relationships a company builds with its stakeholders, including investors, employees, and local communities. This includes various factors such as diversity and inclusion, fair compensation for employees, and engagement in charitable activities and community initiatives.

Just as businesses monitor their environmental impact, it’s crucial to track and evaluate a company's social impact to ensure it promotes and upholds the greater good. By prioritising social responsibility, businesses can foster positive relationships, enhance their reputation, and contribute to the well-being of society as a whole.


Governance examines the internal workings of a business, ensuring its effective management and reasonable practices while safeguarding against corruption. It involves evaluating the interaction between the board of directors and management, as well as the adherence to fair rules within the organisation.

Through this, businesses can establish the strength of their governance framework and their commitment to transparency, integrity, and ethical conduct.

How does ESG impact packaging?

For businesses that deal with packaging on a day-to-day basis, there is a solid argument for taking ESG seriously. Not only does packaging have a significant impact on waste across the world, but the extreme awareness and demand for sustainable packaging from consumers is undeniable. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing revealed that 8 out of 10 (80%) consumers want more ‘sustainable packaging’.

This growing consumer awareness and demand reflect a shift in values, with an increasing number of individuals seeking products that align with their environmental and social concerns. By embracing ESG principles in packaging, businesses can address these consumer expectations and contribute to a more sustainable future.

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What can companies do through packaging to improve ESG performance?

In order to combat the negative effects packaging can have on the environment, as well as conform to today’s consumer demands, businesses can implement several key strategies via packaging:

Utilise sustainable materials

Choosing sustainable materials for packaging is a crucial step in reducing waste and emissions to align with ESG principles. By opting for recyclable, biodegradable compostable, and reusable packaging solutions, companies can make a significant contribution to responsible disposal practices.

It’s worth noting that sustainable materials for packaging should be carefully selected based on their environmental impact throughout their lifecycle. This includes considering factors such as energy consumption during production, water usage, and the potential for emissions during degradation or recycling processes. Life cycle assessments can help businesses evaluate the overall sustainability of packaging materials and make informed decisions for results that truly make a difference.

Efficient packaging design

The efficiency of a packaging solution directly impacts waste reduction and resource optimisation. The more efficient a package is, the less material and energy and required throughout its lifecycle. From material selection through to right-size packaging and minimalistic design, there are many factors that contribute towards maximum efficiency in packaging.

Compact designs are particularly important when it comes to optimising space during storage and transportation. By designing packaging that occupies minimal space and maximises stacking capabilities, companies can increase shipping efficiency, leading to fewer trips, lower fuel consumption, and reduced carbon emissions. This not only benefits the environment but also lowers transportation costs, contributing to overall business sustainability.

This aligns with ESG principles by demonstrating a commitment to responsible resource management and environmental stewardship while meeting consumer expectations for eco-friendly packaging solutions.

Packaging innovations

Embracing innovative packaging solutions is a powerful way for businesses to enhance their ESG performance and contribute to a more sustainable future. By investing in research and development, companies can drive the development of groundbreaking packaging solutions and formats that align with ESG principles.

Sustainable packaging solutions from Swiftpak

At Swiftpak, we source responsibly and are committed to helping maintain the health of our environment. We offer an extensive range of sustainable packaging products that are ideal for businesses looking to achieve environmental goals. With over 45 years of experience, we have guided a huge variety of businesses in different industries on sustainable packaging. Feel free to contact our friendly team today who will be more than happy to help you.