1. No overview of upcoming legal changes on national or EU level.
It makes a difference whether I know the existing or future laws and whether I then interpret them correctly for my company. Each individual law has an impact on the business. The cross-implications of the laws create new requirements. For example, the new EU PPWR (Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation) may regulate the use of a plastic as packaging and require a company to adapt its plastic packaging. However, the same law may also include requirements that other forms and materials of packaging be favored or pushed. Under certain circumstances, this may also imply a more fundamental switch in the packaging concept.
Another example: In turn, the packaging disposal regulation of a particular European country may regulate the costs that different materials and packaging concepts generate. These regulations can also cause a rethinking of the choice of packaging. Other countries may be preparing to implement the EU Tax on non-recyclable packaging, which in turn will result in significantly higher costs.
From 2025, small and medium-sized companies above a certain size will then still be required to prepare their sustainability report. This report will also include the impact of packaging, which will influence it to a certain extent.
If then the communication of the company's sustainability efforts on the packaging or for the company is not done carefully enough, the worst case scenario is a severe penalty based on the new EU anti-greenwashing law.
For many SMEs it is therefore necessary to know the existing laws and the trends of the next years in legislation and to consider them for their own business model.
For this purpose, Pacoon offers the service to monitor the different laws and to derive the impact for companies. Soon Pacoon will also offer as a certified partner a tool to easily create a certified corporate sustainability report according to international standards.
The REGILABELS® compendium also shows the requirements to correctly register and label packaging disposal in 30 European countries plus the USA.
2. Underestimate how much lead time is needed.
Some laws and legislative proposals also consider banning the marketing of certain packaging - and thus also the products. This would also threaten the existence of some companies. It is therefore necessary to develop, test and market suitable alternatives in good time. This usually takes several months, sometimes even years - and involves some effort: Advance preparation, tests, conversion of machines or production processes, and calculation of the CO2 and cost implications for the company.
Most companies, however, do not even know the extent of the impact, especially since they often rely on their traditional suppliers. But new solutions also require new suppliers for machinery, materials, new storage capacity, resource availability, durability testing or approvals, and many other issues. The longer companies wait to address a new solution, the more crowded the requests become with development partners, further pushing the time horizon and possibly driving up costs. The lack of knowledge about the complexity of the tasks and a lack of expertise due to the shortage of skilled workers then put companies in additional distress.
Companies would therefore do well to start the process in good time, when capacities permit controlled development.
3. Ignoring the multiple factors for a successful transition.
In times of crises and supply chain problems, it becomes clear that companies today need to be more flexible in their processes. Will the material be available tomorrow in the same way as it has been for the last months and years, how will the costs for the entire value chain develop, what costs will result from new legislation, how will the CO2 price develop and how can I significantly reduce my footprint? In addition, of course: will the consumer accept my packaging solution and what impact will new concepts have on my product quality? The issues involved in a packaging transition are very complex, and with each project, experience grows and enables anticipation of potential risks in the process.
Companies that approach a packaging changeover with little expertise and no detailed knowledge risk losing development time and money. Therefore, it is advisable to seek timely advice and support in the form of project management, concept development, supplier screening through to departmental implementation and a holistic view of costs. As a rule, there is a cost saving behind a well thought-out concept. A wrong or not holistic view can show concept approaches in the wrong light - and lead to rejection, which in doubt was the wrong decision.
4. Ignoring the wishes of consumers and not conducting market research on consumer preferences.
No company will openly admit that it ignores the wishes of consumers. But do those responsible really know the needs and wishes of consumers? Currently, there is a lot of pressure from the retail sector to use more sustainable packaging concepts - but usually without clear specifications as to what such a concept should look like. Legislation is also exerting pressure on certain packaging systems to change or strengthen them. But to what extent are these laws also wanted, understood or preferred by consumers when buying?
Therefore, it is important to look at the different aspects of packaging and its acceptance by consumers. Which packaging concepts are highly regarded, which materials have a 'bonus', which claims are understood or relevant to purchase, how should the packaging be designed to immediately evoke the desired associations?
Since 2012, Pacoon has repeatedly conducted consumer:inside studies on various sustainability topics and derives the Dos and Dont`s for packaging conception and design.
5. No analysis of the reliability of new production partners.
Currently, many new materials and packaging concepts are coming onto the market, and many startups are trying to position them positively. The question you have to ask yourself before you get involved in these solutions: how reliable are the solutions tested, certified, certified or suitable under the conditions relevant to your own company. This goes to the question of what the availability and short-term response time will be for orders or changes.
We have already seen many new materials that have performed very well. Do they also meet the requirements under tropical conditions, for example? How long are the delivery routes, what minimum quantities have to be ordered, how long can I keep the materials in stock without quality impairments, how constant is the product quality? The larger a brand and the higher its product image, the more likely it is that production partners will be checked on these questions in order to rule out errors that would mean high costs or a loss of image. Smaller companies have an easier time of it, while young startups are more likely to jump at new, emotionally positive material. Small mistakes are then forgiven more quickly, but if the disappointment on the consumer side is too great, this can sometimes mean the end.
That's why we ask these questions at the beginning of a development, so that these aspects can be included in the consideration of possible alternative concepts. New partners do not necessarily have to represent a high risk, but it should be possible to assess the risk.