Asian consumers have the best attitude on packaging sustainability

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

BillerudKorsnäs Packaging Sustainability consumer panel
BillerudKorsnäs has released the results of its Packaging Sustainability consumer panel to find out what consumers think about packaging around the world.

The online survey​was carried out in May by Syno International/Cint with 3,300 people (aged 18-65 years) from 16 ‘megacities’: Berlin, Delhi, Jakarta, Cairo, Karachi, Lagos, London, Los Angeles, Manila, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Stockholm and Tokyo.

'Potential problem-solver'

Jon Haag, director, Consumer Insights, at packaging supplier BillerudKorsnäs, said the findings show some differences around the globe.

For example, Asian consumers have the highest positive attitude towards packaging as a potential problem-solver, while the least positive attitudes are found in Europe.

There is a strong momentum for brands and retailers to show how their packaging brings sustainable benefits​,” said Haag.

Over and over again, consumers ask for more fun and rewarding recycling as well as packaging that further reduces food waste​.

We now know better where to start packaging development, and that many stakeholders should do it jointly with us​.”  

The consumer panel was based on City Index and Personal Index scores. It then has a Net Positive Attitude (NPA) score that is calculated as the share of consumers answering with the two most positive alternatives out of six, minus the share of consumers with the two most negative alternatives.

The average was 54.1 NPA in favor of packaging sustainability with Manila, Mumbai and Delhi leading in the index values between 68.2 to 68.5 NPA.

All cities scored higher than 40 NPA apart from Tokyo, which had a score of 19.6 NPA. Throughout the survey, Tokyo differs from the other Asian megacities with lower scores, showing that consumers in Tokyo don’t believe improved packaging can make a difference in improving sustainability.

Brand owners could do more

As with all composite indices, this one cannot grasp the totality of packaging sustainability or its status among consumers, but it gives us an indication of the basic dimensions of it: the starting points, potential focus areas and opportunities, key differences among cities and, through follow-up, the development over time within this important area of sustainable development​,” added Haag.

The five cities that had a lower rating than the others on the City Index were Tokyo, Cairo, Mexico City, Lagos and Karachi.

Haag said the four latter ones are growing in population at a very high speed, while starting from a lower level of infrastructure than other cities. Tokyo, however, stands out again, showing its citizens expect more from their city than it delivers.  

In Europe, the opposite trend can be seen – the City Index is higher than the Personal Index, implying consumers feel cities are doing well, but there is more to be done on the individual front and by brand owners.

North America scores evenly on the personal and city levels, meaning Americans have a positive personal attitude towards Packaging Sustainability and their own contribution, while the cities manage recycling and packaging information in a manner that lives up to the requirements of citizens.  

The Consumer Panel found overall Megacity residents globally have a positive attitude towards packaging as a potential sustainability problem-solver, and Packaging Sustainability is well understood and valued but expectations on cities management of recycling, littering, waste and support for sustainable behavior and education differ.

The Consumer Panel is the first in an on-going initiative by BillerudKorsnäs to measure people’s views on packaging sustainability.

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