Posted on by Elspeth Devine

You asked, Kudos answered: Does reducing CO2 emissions save UK retail businesses money? The answer is ‘yes’ and there are several ways in which you can do this. The first is reshoring your packaging supply chain to the UK or EU.

What is reshoring and why does it matter for CO2 emissions?

‘Off shoring’ is the widespread practice of sourcing basic supplies and products from cheap producers in Asia and the Far East, principally China. Until the pandemic, the practice was so ubiquitous that it largely went unnoticed. The vast majority of packaging products used in the UK, including wrapping paper, originate in Chinese factories. The process creates jobs and value around the world and offers lower production prices for UK businesses, so what is the problem?

The issue is, firstly with the vulnerability of extended supply chains, and secondly with the amount of CO2 and carbon emissions created by long-distance journeys by container ship. In 2020, container ships emitted 140 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions, with a large proportion of these ships sailing from Chinese ports to global destinations carrying low value consumer products.

Conversely, therefore, reshoring is the process of bringing back manufacturing from overseas to the UK and Europe in order to boost local economies, shorten supply chains, and reduce carbon emissions.

Selecting gift packaging designed and produced by British and European suppliers has become increasingly common since the global pandemic, due to the rise of digital collaboration technology having made reshoring more feasible than ever before.

How reshoring saves UK businesses money

Through reshoring their packaging requirements, UK companies can reduce production and shipping costs, manage production quality for lower wastage and return rates, achieve faster delivery times, improve product customisation, and gain a competitive advantage on the global marketplace. Reshoring also supports job growth in the UK and among regional European supply chains, creating greater economic opportunities for local businesses and communities.

Other ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your gift packaging

Reshoring offers strong financial and environmental benefits to UK businesses, but it isn’t a golden ticket to lower carbon footprints. With an ever-increasing focus on sustainable materials and recyclability, ecommerce businesses must look for new ways to reduce their environmental impact beyond shortening their supply chains, by also considering their packaging material options.

Transitioning away from single-use plastics and nonrecyclable materials towards more sustainable packaging, such as 100% recycled cardboard boxes and biodegradable packing filler, can help your business become part of the solution to global climate change.

Reusing or repurposing packaging materials within your supply chain wherever possible – e.g. using shredded old wrapping as a protective buffer for products in transit – will encourage customers to reuse their own packaging when they receive products from your business. You can help incentivise this transition by investing in high quality sustainable gift boxes, bespoke gift bags, and reusable packaging that encourages customers to retain and re-purpose their packaging for other uses. You can even include printed suggestions along with your products – bespoke gift boxes can be used for storage, display, or even as planters for indoor plants!

Sustainably and ethically sourced materials

Wanting to know the source of their product can be a powerful motivator for customers, so being transparent about your sustainable packaging options, what they are made of, and where in the world they are sourced from, is vital. With both customer satisfaction and sustainability in mind, managing a successful ecommerce business in 2023 entails making sure you've considered all angles of your packaging - including its environmental impact and carbon footprint.

Download our sustainable packaging guide

For more information about sustainable packaging solutions and how you can transition to a more eco-friendly and cost-effective packaging strategy in 2023, please download a free copy of our Sustainable Packaging Guide by clicking here, or get in touch with the team today.

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