Sustainable packaging in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry is gaining traction. Many other industries are already deeply engaged in more sustainable practices and believe the investment is worthwhile. At Design Partners we see sustainability as an opportunity to innovate and a chance to realign our clients’ sustainability goals. That is why our dedicated Healthcare Design team have been challenging and supporting our medical clients to consider sustainability in their secondary packaging design strategies. In our experience, some companies need guidance in how to be truly sustainable. They may be unsure of particular aspects to address or the right questions to ask their packaging partners and vendors. Also, there are important regulatory considerations requiring careful consideration, with each industry having its own unique sustainability challenges.
Government and EU directives such as The European Green Deal, The Paris Agreement and The EU Circular Economy Action Plan means we are more aware and informed than ever before as consumers. There has been a real societal awakening to the direct impact of our decisions on the environment. This has led to a sustained shift towards answering sustainability questions in the medtech and pharma industries. At Design Partners, our direct experience in early user research and Human Factors Engineering has taught us that patients, healthcare professions and medical institutions are actively calling out for change. In addition, buyers are asking for sustainability approaches and evidence as part of purchasing decisions. National healthcare systems, like the HSE or NHS want simplified and reduced packaging because it directly impacts carbon footprint reduction and disposal costs. In addition to this, new national and corporate ‘green targets’ mean ‘green’ projects and ‘green’ vendors are being actively pursued to meet these challenges.
To support our clients in addressing sustainability challenges Design Partners has developed a 9 point sustainability criteria to ensure that sustainability thinking is integrated into our packaging design right from the start.
These are 9 seemingly simple steps but they are dependent upon expertise and a high level of commitment. Significant change can only be achieved through a collective effort from clients, design agencies and packaging vendors. Most importantly, real progress will require a determination by all parties to put good intentions into practice. As an industry, we’re making ground, but there is still more work to be done.