For individuals and families, sustainable living means purchasing food, clothing and other products that are produced with minimal negative effects for people who made them and the environment. For businesses, it means providing greater transparency about how and where products are made, and adjusting the way in which manufacturing occurs to uphold human rights and limit environmental consequences.
Like most other sectors of the economy, the labeling industry must continually adjust its approach to sustainability for the good of people and the environment. Luckily, there are numerous examples where positive steps forward are occurring.
One example is the recent 2016 Brand Leaders Solution Summit, where participants discussed topics such as ways to overcome barriers to sustainability in the packaging sector, standardized labeling for recycling bins to limit confusion with trash bins and more.
A second example comes from the world of clothing. In that sector, human rights supporters are calling for greater transparency in labeling to identify where clothes are made. They’re also asking fashion companies to do more to ensure workers operate in safe and humane conditions. Technology companies are developing websites and apps to help consumers learn more about the degree to which companies’ practices align with their views on sustainability, according to the fashion website Refinery29.com.
Finally, organizations such as the Flexographic Trade Association are recognizing outstanding manufacturers that prioritize sustainability in labeling. This year’s 2016 Sustainability Excellence Award honorees were winner Kendall Packaging of Jefferson, Wis., and honorable mention Specialty Printing of East Windsor, Conn. At Kendall Packaging, initiatives include baling and recycling converted materials that have been scrapped and upgrading to energy-efficient lights and air-conditioners. At Specialty Printing, initiatives include attaining Sustainable Green Printing Partnership certification and reducing energy consumption.
Each labeling company has its own approach to sustainability, but as the industry doubles down on efforts to support workers and the environment, and shares best practices, there is every reason to be confident the future is bright.