Ocean littering is right back under the spotlight.

Photo source: Luis Morera | Unsplash


Ocean littering is right back under the spotlight.

Thomas Reiner | 01.10.2021

The issue of ocean littering is picking up steam again around the world. After a brief slowdown due to the Corona pandemic, the keyword “plastic waste” is once again skyrocketing in Google search trends. Brand owners must be careful not to damage their assets. It’s not about whether consumers will pay more for sustainability. It’s about not disappointing consumers’ sustainability expectations. Packaging is key.


A recent look at Google search trends for the keyword “plastic waste” shows the continued growing importance of the issue of sustainability for consumers. That plastic waste is at the heart of sustainability for consumers may be objectively debatable. Subjectively, however, it is a fact that should set alarm bells ringing, especially for brand owners. Consumers increasingly expect more sustainability and emotionally associate this with ocean littering. Brands that disregard this fact run the risk of damaging their assets.


Plastic Waste as a key global issue
Ocean Litter is not an exclusive issue for affluent citizens. Those who think that only satiated consumers are concerned with sustainability and plastic in the oceans are mistaken. Especially countries that are particularly affected by unwanted plastic inputs into the environment, such as Ghana, Ethiopia or India, show a high level of awareness – even without Green Deal and regulation-driven circular economy.

The issue of plastic waste is dominant worldwide and has been gaining significant momentum globally for years. The Corona pandemic only brought about a short-lived decline.


Consumer pressure and the danger of disappointed expectations
The pressure to be more sustainable and to avoid plastic waste comes from the consumer side. Those who see the issue as a proprietary concern of regulators and are preoccupied with the question of whether consumers are willing to pay more for more sustainability are following a wrong line of thinking.

The fact is: brands need to become more sustainable in order to preserve their brand assets. A lack of sustainability disappoints consumer expectations and damages the brand essence in the long term. There is no alternative to sustainability for brands.


Packaging makes the difference
The good news for brands: there is a proven and feasible royal road to more sustainability for the brand image: packaging.

Consumers see the sustainability of products and brands first and foremost in the packaging. It is the first and most effective ambassador. Brands should use this lever.

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