PCD Congress exposes green contradictions

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sustainability

Sustainability was so high on the agenda at the PCD Congress in Paris last week that even the carpets and stands were green.

Life-cycle analysis, sustainable development and renewable materials were common terms in the conference hall where the environment took centre stage.

Organisers pick out sustainability theme

Now an annual event, the PCD Congress featured exhibitors from leading packaging suppliers and speakers from across the industry were invited to discuss sustainability.

Michel Dupuis, senior vice president of purchasing and product development at Chanel, told CosmeticsDesign.com: “Sustainability is something that we all care about and it is becoming more and more important to the customer.”

Interest in sustainability is widespread but the path to greener products is winding and not necessarily paved with gold.

Green contradictions under the microscope

Many of the speakers concentrated their talks on the apparent contradictions of sustainable development.

Luxury packaging is heavy and ornate so how can it ever be green? Sustainability is expensive so how can companies realistically pursue green goals in a recession?

Many companies are looking to sidestep these problems.

Dupuis, who led the conference session on “Perfumes: Innovations and Packaging Sustainability”, said: “Sustainability can cost money but it is also about saving. We can reduce the weight of packaging and therefore reduce the price and benefit the environment.”

Many speakers were optimistic about the progress that can be made although some industry insiders admitted that inaction is often hidden behind green marketing.

RPC Beauté general manager Gerald Martines, who spoke on reconciling luxury and sustainable development, told CosmeticsDesign.com: “Green washing is prevalent in the industry. Businesses are there to make business so their marketing is not a moral affair.”

Distinguishing green words from action, reconciling luxury and sustainability and promising eco-friendly innovations will all be discussed in upcoming articles.

Related topics: Packaging & Design

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