Desired, Perceived, and Achieved Sustainability: Trade-Offs in Strategic and Operational Packaging Development

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Abstract

The alignment of the strategic and the operational level of packaging development in relation to the integration of sustainability is not addressed extensively in current research. This paper aims to address this, by focusing on the decision-making interrelations of key actors (marketing and packaging development) within multidisciplinary product-packaging development teams. The research is conducted by means of a qualitative approach, consisting of semi-structured interviews with individual packaging development team members, complemented with a newly developed visualization tool. The research builds upon eight cases within brand owners, packaging material suppliers and packaging development consultants. The main findings of the study include the decision-making trade-offs between sustainability considerations and other project indicators, such as costs, time-to-market and technical challenges. These trade-offs are linked to the strategic and operational roles of key actors, and to internal and external factors influencing sustainable development processes. This research’s contribution is to address the alignment of the strategic and the operational levels of sustainable packaging development, in relation to (1) decision making and interrelations within multidisciplinary development teams; and (2) the relevance of development-influencing factors. This provides opportunities for further development of sustainable packaging models and tools, in order to align the strategic and operational level of development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1923
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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