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Taking Sustainable Packaging to a New Level

When we think about “sustainable packaging,” we think about recycled paper and plastics, but there is a lot more to sustainability than that. In running across a company called Distant Village Packaging, which specializes in sustainable packaging, that fact was brought home in a powerful way. . . in pictures.

I learned of A Distant Village when it introduced what it calls “the world’s most environmentally-friendly labels.” Called Pure Labels, these are adhesive-backed inkjet or laser printer labels made of wild grass paper. They are not only produced with 100% recyclable materials (including no HDPE or other plastics) but are manufactured according to what the company calls “the strictest adherence to socially responsible business practices.”

That’s what impressed me most about the company. Lots of companies claim to produce “green” products, but A Distant Village is looking at the entire lifecycle and social, as well as environmental, impact of the packaging design and production.

Its website states:

Job creation, fair wages, fair trade, pre-payment to support artisan workshops, and steady, guaranteed demand chains are some of the ways we contribute toward fair and conscientious global economic participation. By engaging industries in remove villages, families thrive, children have futures, and local economies flourish.

Sometime back, I wrote about the uniqueness of “green” consumer, who studies show care not just about buying products kind to the environment but about whether or not the companies themselves are committed to environmental sustainability.

That seems to describe Global Village quite well. The company goes beyond the packaging to the people behind it. The company’s founder, Richard Cohen, comes from an international business background, and his heart was to create “mutually beneficial relationships throughout the global community” through fair and ethical business practices.”

The result? Much of the company’s product line is hand-crafted packaging created in those “distant village” communities, and its website shows those artisans hard at work. The pictures tell an incredible story.

I wish more companies not only had models like this, but if they do, they would promote them as visibly. I love that marketers can not only feel good about buying a product that is sustainable, but they can actually see the people who earn their livings creating it. When I see the pictures of those artisans in “distant villages,” it makes me want to go out and package something.

Like this post? View all my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.

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