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Purpose This paper presents a comprehensive overview of the cross-disciplinary literature on the drivers, barriers and performance outcomes of sustainable packaging to understand the current state of research in this field and identify research opportunities. Design/methodology/approach A systematic review is conducted within no time limit. The Methodi Ordinatio methodology was applied that resulted in retaining 48 relevant and high impact articles published in 26 academic journals with various scopes. Findings Seven key drivers are identified and defined: the integrative and collaborative supply chain, environmental capabilities and resources, market-based instruments, cost reduction, consumer pressure, competitive advantage, and regulatory pressure. Three main barriers are identified and defined: cost/benefit ambiguity, additional costs and complex trade-offs between packaging requirements. The review shows that the drivers and barriers to packaging sustainability are contingent on the firm size. Sustainable packaging positively affects the environmental, social and economic performance; however, its operational performance requires a proactive and integrated supply chain. The results highlight the importance of integrated packaging decisions at three different levels to improve packaging sustainability: vertical and horizontal integration, upstream and downstream integration, and product-packaging integration. The authors developed research propositions and provided insightful directions for future research. Originality/value Most studies focus on specific drivers, barriers and outcomes of sustainable packaging, while this paper brings them together to build a comprehensive framework. The latter provides a deeper understanding of the factors that incentivize or deter firms from pursuing sustainable packaging and its performance outcomes.
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Drivers, barriers and performance
outcomes of sustainable packaging:
a systematic literature review
Karima Afif
Department of Agri-Food Economics and Consumer Sciences, Universit
e Laval,
Quebec City, Canada, and
Claudia Rebolledo and Jacques Roy
Department of Logistics and Operations Management, HEC Montreal,
Montreal, Canada
Purpose This paper presents a comprehensive overview of the cross-disciplinary literature on the drivers,
barriers and performance outcomes of sustainable packaging to understand the current stateof research in this
field and identify research opportunities.
Design/methodology/approach A systematic review is conducted within no time limit. The Methodi
Ordinatio methodology was applied that resulted in retaining 48 relevant and high impact articles published in
26 academic journals with various scopes.
Findings Seven key drivers are identified and defined: the integrative and collaborative supply chain,
environmental capabilities and resources, market-based instruments, cost reduction, consumer pressure,
competitive advantage, and regulatory pressure. Three main barriers are identified and defined: cost/benefit
ambiguity, additional costs and complex trade-offs between packaging requirements. The review shows that
the drivers and barriers to packaging sustainability are contingent on the firm size. Sustainable packaging
positively affects the environmental, social and economic performance; however, its operational performance
requires a proactive and integrated supply chain. The results highlight the importance of integrated packaging
decisions at three different levels to improve packaging sustainability: vertical and horizontal integration,
upstream and downstream integration, and product-packaging integration. The authors developed research
propositions and provided insightful directions for future research.
Originality/value Most studies focus on specific drivers, barriers and outcomes of sustainable packaging,
while this paper brings them together to build a comprehensive framework. The latter provides a deeper
understanding of the factors that incentivize or deter firms from pursuing sustainable packaging and its
performance outcomes.
Keywords Sustainable packaging, Drivers, Barriers, Performance outcomes, Systematic literature review
Paper type Literature review
1. Introduction
Packaging is increasingly associated with waste production that accounts for about 3035%
of the municipal waste in industrialized countries and about 1520% in developing countries
(Wiesmeth et al.,2018). Large amounts of packaging are produced every year with the intention
of use and throw away, which has raised concerns about environmental pollution (Wohner
et al., 2019). Governments, businesses and academic communities recognize nowadays the
key role of packaging sustainability (e.g. Singh and Genovese, 2021;Petkoska et al., 2021).
Besides its environmental effect, sustainable packaging (SP) may positively influence
business performance (e.g. Yusuf et al., 2017). The greatest motivation to the pursuit of SP
The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor of British Food Journal for their
valuable suggestions and comments on earlier drafts on this paper.
Funding: Doctoral Fellowships, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Grant
Number/Ref. CRSH: 752-2020-1649. Insight Development Grants, Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council (SSHRC).
Received 24 February 2021
Revised 31 May 2021
8 June 2021
Accepted 12 June 2021
British Food Journal
Vol. 124 No. 3, 2022
pp. 915-935
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/BFJ-02-2021-0150
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
seems to be the economic gains, which co-generate environmental gains (Gustavo et al., 2018).
However, there are important barriers that discourage companies from implementing SP.
Recent studies underline the effect of negative consumer attitudes due to the economic, social
and environmental pressures of sustainable behaviors, greenwashing perceptions and
confusion in sustainability efforts for packaging (e.g. Boz et al., 2020). Moreover, SP design
can be challenging and costly because it has to protect the environment while fulfilling its
integral functions, that is, protecting, preserving, communicating, allowing efficient logistics
and differentiating the product (e.g. Singh and Genovese, 2021;Wohner et al., 2019). The
associated SP decision-making process is also complex because it involves multiple
stakeholders with various and sometimes conflicting requirements (e.g. Niero et al., 2017).
This imposes potential challenges to managers and requires performing complex multi-
criteria analyses (Afif et al., 2020). Therefore, many authors highlighted the importance of
achieving an optimal balance between logistics, marketing and environmental packaging
decision criteria (e.g. Singh and Genovese, 2021;Khalil et al., 2016).
The drivers, barriers and performance outcomes of SP have received significant attention
in the extant literature. Previous research has especially focused on specific SP drivers (e.g.
Verghese and Lewis, 2007), barriers (e.g. Prendergast and Pitt, 1996) and performance
outcomes (e.g. Zailani et al., 2012). However, a literature overview that captures a
comprehensive picture of these influencing factors and their research streams has not
been provided so far. Yet, having an aggregated view of all these factors would support SP
decisions by providing a complete overview of the key aspects of improving packaging
sustainability (e.g. Molina-Besch, 2016;White et al., 2015). Meherishi et al. (2019) conducted a
systematic literature review of studies published over 20002018 to understand general SP
trends in supply chain management. The authors focused on how SP is aligned to circular
economy concepts by reviewing supply chain structures. Nevertheless, they did not review
the drivers, barriers and performance outcomes of SP. Moreover, the authors focus on papers
published in the field of supply chain and logistics. However, SP decision is interdisciplinary,
which implies a deeper investigation of packaging studies to encompass broader economic,
social and environmental dimensions (e.g. Khalil et al., 2016;Gustavo et al., 2018).
To address this research gap and complement the study of Meherishi et al. (2019), this
paper conducts a systematic review with no time limit on the extensive body of the SP
literature. The following research question has guided our review:
RQ1. What are the drivers, barriers and potential performance outcomes of SP?
Our main purpose is to develop a comprehensive categorization of SP drivers, barriers, and
outcomes to understand, structure and create a longitudinal overview of these topics and
provide directions for future research. Based on the sustainable design framework for the
assessment of packaging sustainability (Colwill et al., 2012), we considered leading academic
journals covering the environmental, technical, logistical, commercial, manufacturing,
legislative and social dimensions of packaging.
This paper contributes to the literature in three important ways. First, we developed a
novel comprehensive framework that provides an aggregated view of previous research on
three important SP topics (i.e. drivers, barriers and performance outcomes). We adopt a
broader perspective than prior academic work based on a rigorous review method. The latter
represents the full spectrum of high-quality research on SP, and creates robust and
reproducible results. Second, the complexity of SP decision-making process entails integrative
and collaborative approaches. We highlight the importance of adopting an integrated
approach at three levels: vertical and horizontal integration, upstream and downstream
integration, and product-packaging integration. Third, we provide insightful directions for
future research to explore missing knowledge and help decision makers with the
responsibility for the environmental packaging strategy to better comprehend the body of SP.
The remainder of this paper is structured as follows: Section 2 describes the methodology.
Section 3 presents the results in view of our research question, research propositions and the
comprehensive framework. Section 4 discusses the major findings and elaborates research
recommendations. Section 5 concludes the review.
2. Methodology
This article is a systematic literature review (SLR) aiming to identify, assess and synthesize
the relevant literature on SP. To ensure a rigorous, replicable, and transparent examination
and synthesis of relevant SP research, our review followed the guidelines on conducting SLRs
outlined by Seuring and Gold (2012), built upon a structured five-stage process, namely (1)
formulating the research question, (2) carrying out a rigorous search for studies, (3) selecting
relevant studies to be included in the review, (4) conducting a descriptive evaluation and (5)
performing the thematic content analysis. This approach has been practiced by several SLR
studies in the field of sustainability (e.g. Rotimi et al., 2021). Step (1) has been exposed in the
previous section. Steps (2) to (5) are presented in the following sections.
2.1 Identifying articles
Seuring and Gold (2012) recommend defining the inclusion criteria of papers to generate valid
and reliable findings. The following criteria are used to build our bibliographic portfolio:
2.1.1 Temporal scope. We decided to search articles within no time limit to ensure covering
a larger body of the relevant literature (e.g. Shah et al., 2021). As the search has been
performed during 2020, the upper time limit is December 2019, that is, the last complete year.
2.1.2 Database selection. ProQuests ABI/INFORM Collection is a comprehensive and
diverse database that allows access to three databases (Figure 1). It encompasses a broad
array of key journals from important scholarly publishers such as Emerald Insight, Elseviers
ScienceDirect, Springer and Blackwell Publishing. This database has been used by previous
systematic reviews in the field of sustainability (e.g. Touboulic and Walker, 2015).
Figure 1.
Summary of the
literature review
2.1.3 Language and type of targeted publication. We focused on peer-reviewed scientific
articles published in journals written in English following Seuring and Gold (2012). As our
main objectives are to map academic research and propose avenues for future research, we
did not include practitioner journals, gray literature, textbooks, conference proceedings,
working papers and reports.
2.1.4 Database search strategy. Several combinations of keywords were used. As
researchers used different terms when studying SP, we used the cross-referencing method to
locate the broadest array of articles (e.g. Durach et al., 2017). The keywords of relevant articles
were checked to identify other keywords that help locate additional articles. In addition to the
keyword sustainable, we used synonyms such as environmentaland ecological.We
also used keywords such as drivers,”“barriers,”“performance outcomes,”“implementation
factors,”“trade-offs,etc. The keyword search continued until saturation with no new articles
identified. The detailed search procedure is available on request.
2.1.5 Article selection process. Figure 1 summarizes the literature review process. The
initial results of the keyword search were first identified. Then, we refined the results using a
title screening. From the 614 search results, 267 articles remained. Subsequently, an abstract
screening was applied to assess whether the authors provide an answer to our research
question. This process yielded a bibliographic database of 131 potentially relevant papers.
2.2 Selecting articles
To ensure the relevance of studies, we applied the Methodi Ordinatio methodology (Pagani
et al., 2015) to rank articles according to their scientific relevance. This method is based on the
calculation of an index called the InOrdinatio (1), which involves three variables: the impact
factor (IF), the number of times the paper has been cited (Ci), and the year in which the paper
was published (PublishYear). The InOrdinatio equation (1) also accounts for the year in which
the research was developed (ResearchYear), and a weighting factor varying from 1 to 10 was
assigned by the researcher (
). Since we searched articles with no time limit, we chose a
weighting factor of 5 to provide a balance of time.
InOrdinatio ¼IF
*½10 ðResearch Year Publish YearÞ þ ðCiÞ(1)
For the IF, we chose the Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Report (JCR) which is a recognized
journal report for evaluating journals. We first identify the journals in which the 131 selected
articles are published. Of the 73 journals covering various fields, we identified those indexed
in the JCR (46 journals). From the 131 papers, we retained 94 papers published in 46 journals
indexed in the JCR. For the Ci, we used Google Scholar. We retrieved the research year directly
from the articles.
With all these data at hand, we applied equation (1) to the set of 94 papers. Then we sorted
them: the higher the InOrdinatio value is, the more relevant the paper is for the portfolio
(Pagani et al., 2015, p. 2,121). The papers with an InOrdinatio value equal to or greater than 75
were identified as themost relevant andhigh-impact studies conducted on the studystopicwith
no time limit. The next step is to retrieve the complete version of the selected articles. This
yielded a final databaseof 48 relevant articles (Appendix) that are brought for in-depth analysis.
2.3 The coding process for the selected studies
The papers selected in the previous stage were downloaded and collected in the reference
management software Endnote (Wichor et al., 2016). To conduct the content analysis, we
adopted a two-phase coding process guided by Touboulic and Walker (2015). First, the
research team defined preliminary coding categories (predefined codes) to answer the
research question. Each article has been read by the first author and relevant segments
(e.g. main findings) have been highlighted in the text by adding labels. The model exemplified
in Table 1 has been used to extract and categorize relevant information from each article. The
labels inserted in the text helped in categorizing and assigning the original segments to their
appropriate code. Then, we moved from detailed original segments to structural dimensions
by the predefined code and by the article (Seuring and Gold, 2012). The codes and the coding
itself were verified by the two other authors to validate that the dimensions are assigned to
their appropriate codes. This enhances the reliability of coding allocation. Second, after two
rounds of coding, we cross-analyzed the dimensions extracted for each predefined code and
for each article. This stage started with a rigorous reading of the dimensions highlighted in
each code. Then a hierarchy was drawn up in an iterative way with subcodes assigned to each
main code. For example, consumer pressurewas identified as a subcode of the code
drivers.Relevant dimensions were grouped, categorized and synthesized by subcodes. The
subsequent section presents the results for these codes and subcodes.
3. Results
3.1 Descriptive results
The 48 papers are spread over twenty-six journals with various scopes, which confirms the
interdisciplinarity of packaging. We observe a predominance of empirical studies (43) and the
most used research methods are case studies, surveys, life cycle assessment and simulation.
Most studies (23) address SP without specifying the level of packaging studied. The
remaining studies focus on primary (10), tertiary (7) and secondary packaging (3). Few
studies (5) explore the packaging system. Most studies are related to the food and beverage
industry, which is a major source of packaging waste and tends to dominate the debate on
packaging sustainability. Regarding the geographical focus, Europe has the most high-
impact publications on SP, followed by North America and Africa. This suggests that the
scientific interest in environmental issues is growing more quickly in developed countries.
3.2 The evolving definition of sustainable packaging
Earlier definitions emphasize the importance of optimizing packaging design and maximizing
its use to reduce negative environmental externalities (e.g. Livingstone and Sparks, 1994;
Kroon and Vrijens, 1995). This fulfills external societal outcomes stemming from increasing
public awareness and sustainable consumer demand (Labatt, 1997). The recent definitions
integrate the environmental, social, economic and operational perspectives (e.g. Jahre and
Hatteland, 2004;Yusuf et al., 2017). According to Verghese and Lewis (2007), SP goes beyond
recovering, recycling or reusing. It provides a competitiveadvantage and positively affects the
value perceived by consumers (Rokka and Uusitalo, 2008). To achieve the lowest ecological
footprint, SP should combine eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness principles (Niero et al., 2017).
It must be effective by maximizing environmental performance while meeting functional
requirements, efficient by increasing value while optimally using materials, cyclic by using
renewable and recyclable materials, and beneficial by not compromising the users safety and
health (Magnier and Cri
e, 2015). More recent studies acknowledge the importance of
integrating packaging decisions withthe whole supply chain. For instance, Colwill et al. (2012)
propose a holistic integrated sustainable designframework to underscore the importanceof
integrated packaging eco-design. Niero et al. (2017) also emphasize the importance of
integration in their continuous loop packaging systemdefinition which is based on
collaborative relationships among stakeholders during the packaging decision process.
3.3 Sustainable packaging drivers
The drivers identified are summarized in Table 2. The integrative and collaborative supply
chain is the predominant driver in the literature, followed by environmental capabilities,
(year) Journal Industry Unit of analysis Type Theory
method Main findings Codification
Fernie and
Hart (2001)
BFJ Food retail
Primary and
n/a Multiple case
Legislation is perceived by many firms
as an opportunity to reduce waste,
optimize packaging and reduce costs
e.g. regulatory
Table 1.
Model of the data
extraction table
Variable Description Theoretical approach References
Integrative and
collaborative supply
Integrate stakeholders
packaging requirements
based on a collaborative
Generic theoretical
[10]; [14]; [16]; [18];
[20]; [21]; [22]; [26];
[27]; [34]; [44]; [46];
capabilities and
Organizational abilities and
resources that enable firms to
pursue sustainable packaging
Organizational coupling/
decoupling and corporate
social responsibility and
innovation theories
[5]; [12]; [18]; [19];
[26]; [35]; [37]; [39];
Incentive-based mechanisms
for sustainable practices
Economic theory [4]; [5]; [28]; [33];
[36]; [38]; [40]; [42];
Cost reduction Economic benefits resulting
from sustainable packaging
Ethical decision-making
[10]; [11]; [13]; [15];
[41]; [47]
Consumer pressure Consumer-level factors that
affect business environmental
Moral decision-making,
reasoned action, planned
behavior and consumer
behavior theories
[2]; [6]; [23]; [24];
[25]; [29]
Achieving a sustainable
advantage through
sustainable packaging
Natural resource-based view
(NRBV) theory
[7]; [11]; [22]; [23];
[24]; [48]
Regulatory pressure Policies that drive firms
decisions regarding
packaging sustainability
Innovation and NRBV
[4]; [17]; [31]; [38];
Uncertainty surrounding
sustainable packaging costs
and benefits
Generic theoretical
[11]; [10]; [13]; [21];
[37]; [47]
Complex trade-offs Trade-offs between
packaging functions
[7]; [16]; [21]; [22];
[24]; [47]
Additional costs Investment required for
sustainable packaging
NRBV theory [10]; [38]; [48]
Performance outcomes
Measures: sales turnover,
market share, disposal costs,
resource management
Innovation, transaction cost,
and NRBV theories
[3]; [22]; [31]; [47];
Measures: manufacturing
cost, quality of service/
products, labor and material
Measures: material
consumption, reuse, recycling
and recovery
Social performance Measures: waste reduction,
consumer satisfaction,
innovation, damage free
Note(s): Refer Appendix for references
Table 2.
Drivers, barriers and
performance outcomes
market-based instruments, cost reduction, consumer pressure, competitive advantage and
regulatory pressure.
3.3.1 Integrative and collaborative supply chain. The authors studied this driver based on
generic theoretical frameworks such as sustainable supply chain management. Dyllick (1989)
found that the development of a collective marketing strategy including consumers, retailers
and manufacturers increases the chances of moving toward more SP practices. Verghese and
Lewis (2007) also established that adopting a cooperative supply chain approach ensures
designing effective packaging that meets all important requirements. In this sense, Kumar
et al. (2008) noticed inefficient packaging designs due to a lack of coordination between
manufacturers, retailers and consumers during the purchasing decision-making process.
Involving relevant stakeholders in earlier stages of the decision process leads to a significant
reduction of environmental and operational costs for the whole supply chain. There are
complex trade-offs between logistics, marketing and environmental packaging functions
(Jahre and Hatteland, 2004). An integrated eco-design of product-packaging helps
considering the interrelationships between multiple decision-making criteria that influence
packaging practices (Garc
ıa-Arca and Prado Prado, 2008;Colwill et al., 2012). Similarly,
ıa-Arca et al. (2014) found that the sustainable packaging logistics”–which is based on
an integrated approach has increased the flexibility of the firm to develop economically,
socially and environmentally viable packaging practices. However, this approach depends on
the objective evaluation of the packaging requirements for all relevant stakeholders. In this
sense, White et al. (2015) determine the decision criteria weights of interorganizational
packaging design to evaluate the most important influencing factors. The operational
concerns, most notably cost and quality, remain the most influential factors. Therefore, Niero
et al. (2017) recommend maintaining collaborative relationships among supply chain
stakeholders during SP decision to ensure a fair distribution of packaging costs and benefits.
Based on the foregoing, the following proposition is formulated:
P1. Integrating packaging decisions with the whole supply chain allows balancing the
divergent stakeholdersrequirements, which leads to the pursuit of more SP.
3.3.2 Environmental capabilities and resources. Labatt (1997) and Kivima (2008) addressed
this driver from the perspective of the innovation and the organizational coupling/decoupling
theories. These theories are used to understand the firmsresponse to environmental issues as
they present varying patterns under pressure for change. Kivima (2008) provided qualitative
evidence from product development experiences that integrating environmental
considerations into product development is a major driving force to generate packaging
environmental innovations. The environmental expertise, environmental training and
intentional development of environmental innovations are the most important environmental
capabilities. Moreover, having a dedicated technology, logistics, waste management and
customer relationships are the prioritized capabilities needed to implement efficient and
effective packaging (Niero et al., 2017). The management attitude and customer relationships
are, surprisingly, the least important sources of influence to engage in SP practices for
industrial and consumer manufacturers (Kassaye, 2001). Many authors emphasized the
importance of technical resources such as life cycle assessments to analyze the environmental
impact of packaging practices across the supply chain (e.g. Matthews, 2004;B
usser and
Jungbluth, 2009;Humbert et al., 2009;Dobon et al., 2011;Pattara et al., 2012;Manzini et al.,
2014). However, these resources are mostly limited to specialized users who provide tactical
rather than strategic support to the SP decision-making process (Colwill et al., 2012).
According to the innovation and the organizational coupling/decoupling theories, firms have
dissimilar packaging strategies because of the heterogeneity of their resources and
capabilities. Each firm develops a unique portfolio of resources and capabilities in response to
environmental concerns. The variation in firm responsiveness to these concerns depends on
its size, product orientation and the presence of an environmental affairs function (Labatt,
1997). Large firms show more proactive responses than medium and small firms. Besides,
consumer-oriented firms with an environmental affairs function are more likely to show a
proactive behavior to packaging waste reduction than industrially oriented firms with any
form of environmental function. Empirical support for these arguments is found in Kassaye
(2001) who showed that the firm size, type of products and business nature have a significant
moderating effect on SP. Therefore, the following proposition is formulated:
P2. Large and consumer-oriented firms with an environmental affairs function are more
likely to develop environmental capabilities and resources enabling the pursuit of
more SP than small, medium and industrially oriented firms with any form of
environmental affairs function.
3.3.3 Market-based instruments. Dewees and Hare (1998) addressed this driver from the
economic theory perspective, which states that achieving an optimal reduction in packaging
waste requires pricing the negative externalities that remain after environmental regulations.
Market-based instruments such as packaging eco-taxes can present firms with strong
economic incentives to produce less packaging and increase recyclability (Fullerton and Wu,
1998;Dewees and Hare, 1998). Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is one of the most
important market-based measures that is based on the polluter paysprinciple which
implies that firms contribute financially to the EPR schemes (Rousso and Shah, 1994;Fernie
and Hart, 2001;Roine and Chin-Yu, 2006;Mayers and Butler, 2013). Since EPR policy is driven
by weight, it provides a strong incentive to reduce packaging at the source (Dewees and Hare,
1998). In this respect, Ciliberti et al. (2008) established that the reduction at the source is the
second most important SP practice adopted by Italian firms. This suggests that firms are
inclined to reconsider their packaging when they bear the financial burden of eliminating its
waste. Nevertheless, Roine and Chin-Yu (2006) found a weak causality between Norwegian
EPR and packaging innovation. EPR has an indirect and no significant effect, but it has a
direct effect on downstream operations through increased recycling. Firms are forced to
internalize costs that were previously externalized to society, but they can also reduce costs
and avoid environmental sanctions or penalties. The formal pressure gives rise to two forms
of strategies. Firms could either bear these costs when they are lower than those generated by
adopting a SP, or they implement this practice to avoid environmental sanctions, legal
liabilities or costs of noncompliance (Livingstone and Sparks, 1994). According to the EPR
framework, firms are inclined to adopt SP when they must bear sufficiently high disposal
costs. Therefore, the following proposition is formulated:
P3. Market-based instruments prompt decision makers to choose SP, particularly when
disposal costs that must be borne by the firm are higher than environmental
noncompliance costs.
3.3.4 Cost reduction. Bone and Corey (2000) relied on the ethical decision-making theory
which holds that ethical sensitivity, personal values, perceived consequences and industry
norms are the background factors that influence the deontologicaland teleological
judgment of managers and hence their decision-making process. Ethical sensitivity refers
to packaging decision-making outcomes that may impact consumerswell-being or society.
Personal values are important goals for managers that influence their perception when
making ethical judgments on SP. The perceived consequences relate to positive and
negative outcomes of SP, whereas industry norms indicate to which extent SP is perceived
by brand managers as a common practice within the marketplace. The SLR shows that
ethical sensitivity and personal values are poorer predictors of brand managersbehavior
regarding SP. Brand managers rely more on pragmatic values than on moral values (Bone
and Corey, 2000). They prioritize economic wellbeing of the firm over environmental
concerns. Similarly, Verghese and Lewis (2007) established that SP innovation is only
adopted by industrial firms when it delivers economic benefit such as cost reduction and
increased sales. Cost control is also the most important criterion for food purchasing agents
(Pullman and Wikoff, 2017). Being predominately driven by a cost reduction approach, the
latter tends to be committed to reducing food and packaging waste. Nevertheless, Yusuf
et al. (2017) established that the economic benefits have a moderate effect on the adoption of
returnable packaging. Kassaye (2001) showed that the priority factors for engaging in SP
vary depending on the firm size. For smaller firms, the highest priority is given to cost
considerations, while this factor is ranked third for large firms. Based on a relative cost
model, Mollenkopf et al. (2005) explain that the packaging choice decision depends on the
relative influence and interactions between logistics decision factors. When the daily
volume increases, returnable packaging becomes more economically viable and reduces the
operational costs. Similarly, White et al. (2015) determined that the primary issue of concern
is the labor cost of packaging operations followed by packaging materials cost. Returnable
packaging was preferred, predominantly due to its cost advantage, whereas its
environmental benefit was of secondary importance. These findings suggest that even
though firms address issues to which stakeholders are ethically sensitive, they rely on
pragmatic values during the packaging decision-making process. Therefore, the following
proposition is formulated:
P4. Drivers for SP are mostly cost-oriented. Economic and operational benefits would
induce firms to embrace more SP.
3.3.5 Consumer pressure. The moral decision-making (Thogersen, 1999), the reasoned action
and planned behavior (Rokka and Uusitalo, 2008), and the consumer behavior (Magnier and
e, 2015) theories were used to explain factors that affect the environmental decisions of
consumers. The SLR shows that environmental concerns are increasingly important in
consumer product choices. However, the consumer behavioral intention is not consistent
with their attitude toward sustainable products (e.g. Fernqvist et al., 2015). The planned
behavior theory states that attitude toward the behavior, subjective norms and perceived
behavioral control are three major determinants that independently guide consumer
behavior. First, the attitude toward the behavior refers to the degree to which a consumer
favorably or unfavorably evaluates the environmental attribute of packaging in their
product choices. Based on a survey of Finnish consumers, Rokka and Uusitalo (2008) show
that the largest consumer segment favored environmentally labeled packaging as the most
important criteria in their product choice. Nevertheless, Scott and Vigar-Ellis (2014) found
that South African consumers exhibit limited knowledge of what SP is, how to differentiate
it from conventional packaging, as well as its benefits. While some consumers have some
knowledge of it, their behavior reflects limited action of actual purchasing. Different levels
of personal factors or norms can prevent positive attitudes toward sustainable products
from being translated into a buying action. Consumer personal norms determine the
willingness to choose SP, and hence induce firms to make the necessary design changes
(Thogersen, 1999). Second, the subjective norms refer to the consumer perception of the
social pressure to perform the behavior regarding SP. Magnier and Cri
e (2015) structured
consumersperception of SP into perceived benefits (e.g. health benefits) and sacrifices (e.g.
aesthetic cost). The consumer perception of these benefits and sacrifices depends on the
normative beliefs of the social environment, which determines the buying behavior. Finally,
the perceived behavioral control indicates whether the SP choice is perceived by consumers
as easy or difficult. Magnier and Cri
e (2015) established that SP does not only entail positive
inferences, but also many costs such as higher product price. In this respect, Thogersen
(1999) found that the perceived costs of choosing SP are low and do not capture the
consumersattention, thus allowing for environmental concern to enter their decision-
making process. This suggests that ethically interested consumers are less likely to be
influenced by the perceived costs because they are highly concerned about sustainability.
They rather base their decision on a reasoned process by evaluating the productspros and
cons, which guides their buying behavior. This sends a direct signal to firms to pursue SP.
Therefore, we formulate the following proposition:
P5. The importance of the environmental attribute in the consumer product choice,
personal norms, perceived benefits and sacrifices, and sustainability concerns would
prompt firms to pursue more SP.
3.3.6 Competitive advantage. This driver was studied from the natural resource-based view
perspective (Yusuf et al., 2017), which holds that SP is a valuable organizational resource that
allows achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. However, Robertson (1990) stressed
the importance of balancing packaging integrity with environmental pressures to achieve
this competitive advantage, particularly for food products. In this respect, Prendergast and
Pitt (1996) found no negative relationship between the environmental function of a sales
packaging, its aesthetic and functional properties, and its ability to handle and protect the
product. This suggests that SP is not less effective than a conventional packaging; hence, it
offers a competitive advantage (Garc
ıa-Arca et al., 2014). Rundh (2009) also provided evidence
from five case studies that packaging strengthens the brand name and image; thus, it
contributes to achieving a competitive advantage for consumer products. Furthermore,
acquiring a competitive advantage was posing the highest source of influence to embrace SP
for consumer goods manufacturers (Kassaye, 2001). However, Yusuf et al. (2017) showed that
this competitive advantage has a negligible effect on the adoption of returnable transport
packaging. These conflicting findings can be explained by the fact that sales packaging is
more complex than transport packaging, as it must reconcile marketing, logistics and
environmental requirements to achieve a competitive advantage (Prendergast and Pitt, 1996;
Fernie and Hart, 2001). Based on the foregoing statements, we formulate the following
P6. Acquiring a competitive advantage incentivizes the pursuit of sustainable sales
packaging for consumer products rather than sustainable transport packaging for
industrial product.
3.3.7 Regulatory pressure. This driver was studied from the innovation (Labatt, 1997) and
natural resource-based view (Yusuf et al., 2017) theories. Government regulations incentivize
firms to undertake packaging environmental practices. Firms mainly adjust their packaging
buying behavior to comply with regulations, avoid potential costs of noncompliance and
continue doing business in their field (Livingstone and Sparks, 1994). Legislation is perceived
by many firms as an opportunity to reduce waste and optimize packaging costs, while others
are unprepared for the complexities it creates (Fernie and Hart, 2001). Labatt (1997) found a
positive relationship between governments policies and corporate environmental decisions
regarding packaging waste reduction, whereas Yusuf et al. (2017) established that
government regulations have a negligible effect on the adoption of returnable packaging.
In fact, firmsstrategic choices are heterogeneous depending on how they respond to the
institutional pressures and according to their needs. Packaging laws could cause firms to
embrace environmental practices that are considered appropriate and socially legitimate in
the industry (Livingstone and Sparks, 1994;Fernie and Hart, 2001). However, firms must be
aware of and understand government policies to set up an appropriate environmental
decision-making process (Labatt, 1997). However, the awareness of packaging laws is often
more intense for larger firms, so they tend to set up a more proactive environmental approach
than smaller firms (Livingstone and Sparks, 1994). The awareness of primary packaging
legislation is also greater than that for transport packaging because the primary packaging
decision is more complex (Fernie and Hart, 2001). Therefore, we formulate the following
P7. The awareness of packaging waste regulations is more likely to induce large firms to
pursue primary rather than transport SP.
3.4 Sustainable packaging barriers
3.4.1 Complex trade-offs between packaging requirements. Balancing packaging integrity
with environmental pressures implies highly complex trade-offs (Robertson, 1990). Besides
its environmental function, packaging must meet other important functions such as
containment and protection. The firm should develop attractive and environmentally
sustainable packaging, yet still being practical to protect and promote the product. There are
potential trade-offs between environmental, logistical and marketing packaging
requirements (Prendergast and Pitt, 1996). Based on the case study of a food supply chain,
Jahre and Hatteland (2004) noticed the difficulty to develop packaging that perfectly fits the
product without reconciling its environmental, logistical and marketing roles. Through 186
case studies of packaging design, Vernuccio et al. (2010) also showed the complex
multidimensional nature of packaging given that three functions influence packaging
decision, namely marketing, logistics and ethics. The simultaneous integration among these
dimensions appears in only one-third of the cases studied, while the integration of marketing
and ethics was the most common combination. Besides, the packaging decision-making
process requires inputs not only from logistics, marketing and environment departments in
the firm, but also from external stakeholders (Colwill et al., 2012). It remains difficult to
objectively weigh different packaging requirements on the same scale (Garc
ıa-Arca et al.,
2014;White et al., 2015). The above findings underscore the complex trade-offs arising from
the multifunctional nature of SP decisions. Large firms with important financial resources are
less likely to see these trade-offs than small firms with financial constraints (Kassaye, 2001).
This suggests that large firms are more likely to show a proactive environmental behavior
because of their advanced capabilities to adequately conduct this multi-criteria decision
(Kumar et al., 2008). Based on the foregoing statements, we formulate the following
P8. The complex multi-criteria analysis for the environmental, logistical and marketing
packaging requirements is more likely to posit as a barrier to the pursuit of SP for
small firms with financial constraints than for large firms with financial resources.
3.4.2 Costbenefit ambiguity and additional costs. Gray and Guthrie (1990) underscored the
organizational dilemma between profit seeking and environmental considerations. Firms do
not have clear evidence of SP economic benefits since they are unable to predetermine its
impact on profit. Besides, the premium cost that consumers would pay for an ecological
design of packaging remains unclear (Livingstone and Sparks, 1994;Vernuccio et al., 2010).
One-sixth of the 290 firms surveyed were uncertain about the commercial benefits of SP and
its impact on performance (Kassaye, 2001). Another layer of complexity is added with the
uncertainty surrounding the overall costs of SP so that the benefit of any change can be
measured (Verghese and Lewis, 2007). Mollenkopf et al. (2005) established that the overall
supply chain cost impact of such decision remains unclear. White et al. (2015) also recognized
that SP benefits are difficult to measure. Moreover, SP may require dedicated equipment
(Yusuf et al., 2017), logistics investments (Mayers and Butler, 2013) and higher administration
costs than those for conventional packaging (Kroon and Vrijens, 1995). In this respect,
Verghese and Lewis (2007) showed that the investment in capital equipment is a major barrier
to environmental innovation in industrial packaging. Fernie and Hart (2001) underscored
other indirect costs associated with human and information technology resources. Therefore,
the following proposition is formulated:
P9. SP entails a complex costbenefit analysis and higher costs than those required for
conventional packaging, which may deter firms from pursuing SP.
3.5 The performance outcomes of sustainable packaging
SP has economic, operational, environmental and social performance outcomes (Table 2).
Yusuf et al. (2017) established that returnable packaging has a significant positive impact
on business performance through enhancing sales turnover, quality of products and
lowering cost. Based on a survey of 400 manufacturing firms, Zailani et al. (2012) also found
that SP has a direct positive effect on the environmental, economic and social performance.
The resources and waste reduction derived from SP implies an overall cost reduction from
an economic point of view. This reduction fulfills external societal outcomes stemming from
increasing public awareness and consumer demand for sustainable performance (Labatt,
1997). However, Zailani et al. (2012) showed that SP does not positively affect the
operational performance. This contradicts the findings of Garc
ıa-Arca et al. (2014,p.342)
who examine the operational outcomes of sustainable packaging logistics, which is based
on a proactive integration of both the efficiency and sustainability in supply chains.This
resulted in a significant operational performance by decreasing internal and external
logistic costs. Most savings come from reduced transport and handling costs. The authors
also proved the positive social and environmental outcomes through the reduction of food
losses, resource consumption and waste generation. The firms competitiveness has been
improved as well as that of its stakeholders. This proactive approach has led to an
evolution in the way suppliers address packaging design and assess the impact of each
alternative for the whole supply chain. Based on the above, we formulate the following
P10. SP positively affects the environmental, social and economic performance; however,
its operational performance requires a proactive and integrated supply chain.
4. Discussion
Based on the systematic analysis of 48 papers identified through the SLR, we developed the
comprehensive framework in Figure 2. The latter summarizes the existing knowledge and
provides a deeper understanding of the factors that incentivize or deter firms from pursuing a
SP as well as its potential performance outcomes. This section discusses the major findings in
the view of our RQ1, leading us to recommend future research.
First, our results show that the drivers and barriers to packaging sustainability are
contingent on the firm size.
Large firms show more proactive environmental responses and are mainly influenced by
customer pressure. They are better positioned to make more and better choices of SP due to
their size, awareness of regulations and consumer preferences, and infrastructure to develop
environmental capabilities and resources, whereas smaller firms do not consider packaging
as a major issue and are mainly influenced by cost considerations. They are less aware of
legislation because of they do not have dedicated environmental functions that would keep
them well informed. Besides, there is a relationship between the firm size and the perception
of trade-offs between packaging functions. Nevertheless, Yusuf et al. (2017) did not confirm
this effect, suggesting that all firms face the same level of challenges. These conflicting
findings suggest that further investigation should be done to clarify how SP decisions vary
depending on the firm size.
Figure 2.
Conceptual framework
Second, among the most important SP drivers, our results emphasize the importance of
integrated packaging decisions at three different levels.
(1) A vertical and horizontal integration (e.g. Colwill et al., 2012). To develop an optimal
packaging that meets all stakeholdersrequirements, SP decisions can no longer be
made either by manufacturers alone or even with their direct suppliers. Firms should
involve relevant stakeholders in its packaging decision-making process. The latter
requires inputs not only from firmscross-functional teams, but also from different
supply chain stakeholders, for example, suppliers, retailers and end consumers.
(2) An upstream and downstream integration (e.g. Niero et al., 2017). SP decision involves
numerous stakeholders with various and sometimes conflicting interests. The
priority afforded to environmental issues varies from one stakeholder to another.
Hence, an integrated approach both at the upstream level, between actors involved
from raw material extraction to productsend-consumption, and at the downstream
level between actors involved from the point where packaging becomes waste to its
disposing, recycling or reusing stages, helps considering the trade-offs between
multiple packaging decision factors. This would ensure a fair distribution of
packaging costs and benefits between suppliers, manufacturers, distributors,
retailers, consumers, waste collectors and recyclers.
(3) A product-packaging integration (e.g. Pattara et al., 2012). An integrated approach
between the packaging system and the packaged product seems to be the most
effective in reducing the ecological footprint of product packaging. This approach is
particularly critical for packaging in the food industry, which is characterized by high
and consistent packaging flows due to the large variety of commodities. An
integrated approach helps avoid over-optimization of primary packaging at the
expense of secondary and tertiary ones. This ensures product quality and integrity
across the distribution chain and reduces waste during logistics operations.
These integrated approaches help improving packaging sustainability and provide a
competitive advantage to the firm. Further empirical investigation should be done to better
clarify the costs and benefits arising from these approaches.
Third, our results emphasize the importance of collaboration between stakeholders to
implement SP practices. This approach helps balance their competing requirements. The
stakeholder theory offers relevant lenses to understand the role and power of each
stakeholder. Future studies could rely on the salience model perspective to categorize
stakeholders in terms of power, legitimacy and urgency. The power is the ability to induce
stakeholders to adopt SP. The legitimacy refers to which extent they perceive SP as an
appropriate practice. The urgency indicates the time expected to respond to their requests.
This classification would provide insights into how managers can tailor their supply chain to
enhance their packaging sustainability.
Fourth, regarding the outcomes, SP positively affects the environmental, social and
economic performance of the firm. However, the results found in the literature for operational
performance are conflicting. Some authors highlight that SP does not positively affect the
operational performance, whereas others suggest the importance of adopting a proactive and
integrated approach to achieve positive operational outcome. Hence, further empirical
research needs to be done to better clarify the operational implications of SP in different
organizational contexts and for different packaging system levels.
Fifth, the regulator plays a substantial role in driving SP decisions of firms. Packaging
waste regulations and noncompliance costs are considered among the most important
regulatory drivers to adopt SP. Yet, firms have a way to avoid environmental sanctions when
they are lower than those generated by adopting SP. In such a context, the regulatory drivers
may fail to achieve the required sustainability goals. Therefore, further research needs to be
done to investigate what incentive schemes are more appropriate to influence nonconforming
stakeholders depending on their role and power in the supply chain.
Sixth, our results show that the scientific interest in packaging environmental issues is
growing more quickly in developed countries (e.g. Europe, North America). Further empirical
investigations need to be conducted to explore to which extent the drivers, barriers and
performance outcomes of SP vary according to cultural differences between countries. A
cross-cultural analysis would provide insight into the contextual conditions that are
favorable to SP practices as well as the consumerspurchase intentions (e.g. Ferraris
et al., 2019).
5. Conclusion
Waste production is a major issue that leads companies to reflect more on the environmental
impact of their packaging. However, many managers see this as a threat to their efficiency
because of the complexities surrounding SP decisions. To help address this issue, this
research makes several theoretical contributions. We conducted a methodologically rigorous
review of relevant SP research to support a better understanding of the scientific progress in
that important research field. We developed a novel comprehensive framework that provides
an aggregated view of previous research on SP drivers, barriers and performance outcomes.
This framework complements and enriches the study of Meherishi et al. (2019) to accelerate
the transition toward a circular economy for SP. This framework pinpoints relevant factors
that should be considered by researchers to advance the SP research field. We also developed
research propositions and provide insightful directions for future research.
Considering the complex, multifunctional and interdisciplinary nature of packaging
decisions, two important guidelines can be provided for decision makers. First, to develop SP
that meet the requirement of all stakeholders, ensure product quality and integrity, and
prevent waste production, firms should adopt integrated approaches at three levels: vertical
and horizontal, upstream and downstream, and product-packaging integration. Second,
packaging decisions need to consider a broader set of decision criteria from different
perspectives (e.g. consumer, regulator). Hence, the comprehensive framework would help
decision makers to better comprehend the influencing factors that should be considered
simultaneously to take the right actions in improving SP practices.
This research has two main limitations. First, ABI/INFORM Collection was used for the
articles search, which implies that studies published in other databases are not included in
our review. Second, we used the JCR and Google Scholar to apply the Methodi Ordinatio
methodology. The selection of articles included in the review could be different by using other
information sources. However, the rigor adopted in the SLR process helps remedy these
limitations. The relevant and high-impact studies analyzed cover contributions which, to our
knowledge, reflect the research advances in SP.
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Reference number Authors (Year)
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2Thogersen (1999)
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26 Matthews (2004)
27 Kumar et al. (2008)
28 Rousso and Shah (1994)
29 Fernqvist et al. (2015)
30 Rujnic-Sokele and Pilipovic (2017)
31 Labatt (1997)
32 Romero-Hern
andez et al. (2009)
33 Mayers and Butler (2013)
34 Niero et al. (2017)
35 Manzini et al. (2014)
36 Roine and Chin-Yu (2006)
37 Gray and Guthrie (1990)
38 Fernie and Hart (2001)
39 Dobon et al. (2011)
40 Bailey (1999)
41 Pullman and Wikoff (2017)
42 Dewees and Hare (1998)
43 Kivimaa (2008)
44 Colwill et al. (2012)
45 Ferreira et al. (2017)
46 Dyllick (1989)
47 White et al. (2015)
48 Yusuf et al. (2017)
Table A1.
Final set of articles
... A closer look at the literature reveals that while some authors adopt a technology-driven focus on intelligent packaging that tends to highlight specific innovative features (Mlalila et al., 2016), other stress the need to broaden the view by considering concurrently environmental, economic and social dimensions through an interdisciplinary approach (Afif et al., 2021). Furthermore, in the area of sustainable packaging, other contradictions emerge. ...
... A bibliometric approach was used to present trends on the application of intelligent systems to predict food contamination and investigate foodborne diseases (Lebelo et al., 2021). With the same method, Afif et al. (2021) highlighted the importance of integrated packaging decisions at three different levels to improve packaging sustainability. The above three reviews demonstrate that technology and the growing interest in ethics, social concerns, and sustainability are inextricably linked and are driving factors in advances in the packaging business (Brennan et al., 2021). ...
Developing packaging with enhanced features helps organisations transition from a linear to a circular economy. The paper aims at mapping the barriers, incentives and potential outcomes which can be reached by organisations via such innovative packaging solutions and providing insights to researchers concerning the application of their knowledge in this complex field. Our study comprises 130 articles from 1991 to 2021, identified through a systematic review methodology. The evolution of intelligent packaging was classified and mapped taking into account the principles of circular economy, the main incentives and barriers which can help or hinder the upsurge of the packaging with enhanced features, and the potential outcomes that can be achieved by organisations. By using a Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) combined with the Choice of Active Categories (COREM) approach, three clusters were identified: (i) buying process, (ii) value chain issues, (iii) collaborative issues. These clusters enable researchers to position their future contributions in the area and associated insights linked to new trends in the packaging field should facilitate managers in developing strategic pathways and supporting action research to enhance their packaging solutions. The paper also suggests to “decompose” the field, by starting with bottom-up studies with a circumscribed scope, and then synergically puts them together into a more general perspective.
... Sustainable product design results in sustainability improvement in the whole supply chain, from the manufacturing phase to endof-life management (Bask et al., 2013). Every year, a large volume of packaging is developed with the intent of use and disposal, raising worries about environmental degradation (Afif et al., 2021). Returnable, reusable and recyclable packaging are examples of green packaging methods. ...
... However, more sustainable practices need for ecodesigning the products. The waste generated by the packaging of electronic products has been increasing in recent years, and still, less can be recycled (Afif et al., 2021). Approximately 76% of tweets regarding themes, sourcing and clean energy were positive. ...
Purpose This study explores the sustainable supply chain trade-offs in the electronics industry. Design/methodology/approach The study employs a social media analytics approach and analyses Twitter posts from August 2017 to December 2021. Thematic analysis is applied to discover the pattern in sustainable supply chain trade-offs based on the consumers' perceptions. In addition, a chi-square test was used to measure whether a relationship exists between product groups and sustainable supply chain perceptions. Findings The results indicate that environmental practices are the most frequent topic among consumers on social media. Further, although basic sustainable supply chain practices are prioritised in the environmental aspect, advanced sustainable supply chain practices take precedence over basic ones in the social dimension. The result from the chi-square independence test reveals that there is no significant relationship between different products and perceptions of consumers except for economically advanced sustainable supply chain practices. Practical implications The main implications of the present study are to offer a fast and efficient method to marketers and companies for discovering customer perceptions. In a way, they can identify where the quality of practices needs to improve in their supply chains to gain customer satisfaction. Additionally, the authors suggest industries declare their trade-off preferences between sustainable supply chain practices transparently. Originality/value The findings extend the abundance of sustainable supply chain literature by identifying the sustainable supply chain trade-offs among consumer electronics. Also, the reason for customers' dissatisfaction is provided. In the end, six propositions are presented based on the explorations.
... In recent years, the environmental impact of packaging has been frequently mentioned and discussed in the operations and supply chain literature (e.g. Verghese and Lewis, 2007;Verghese et al., 2012;P alsson and Hellstr€ om, 2016;P alsson, 2018;Afif et al., 2021;Cozzolino, 2022;Ripanti and Tjahjono, 2019), considering both traditional and e-commerce channels (Escursell et al., 2021). Within this framework, Garc ıa- Arca et al. (2014) developed the concept of "sustainable packaging logistics" according to which packaging must satisfy protection, commercial, logistical and environmental requirements. ...
Purpose This study analyzes sustainable practices adopted by Italian firms to enhance the circularity of packaging and related results in terms of environmental improvements. Design/methodology/approach The authors developed an empirical analysis using publicly available data from the National Consortium of Packaging (CONAI) in Italy, which consists of 603 circular packaging projects. The authors ran both descriptive and prescriptive analyses to determine individual sustainable practices and portfolios adopted to enhance packaging circularity and to verify related reductions in terms of CO2 emissions as well as energy usage and water consumption. Findings The findings reveal that firms are more accustomed to focusing on single sustainable practices than on portfolios of practices to achieve packaging circularity. Raw material saving and logistics optimization are the most frequent sustainable practices adopted by firms to improve circularity of packaging. The reuse of packaging allows firms to simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions, energy usage and water consumption. Preferences in terms of portfolio of sustainable practices are strictly linked to the types of materials used for packaging and environmental targets. Originality/value The authors investigate environmental practices that firms adopt to support packaging circularity, and the authors detect portfolios of sustainable practices that positively impact environmental performance indicators. This research extends a significant glimpse into the portfolio of sustainable practices for packaging in the circular economy implemented by firms, filling academic gaps and indicating business opportunities and avenues for economic development.
Retailers frequently place private labels (PLs) next to the top-moving sales national brands (NBs) and utilize comparative pricing that is related to the national brands. There is thus always an external reference price between the private labels and the national brands. In this study, two categories of products were selected, and a hierarchical non-linear model used to study the impact of external reference prices on consumers’ choice of private labels. In addition, the effects of package size and average disposable income (ADI) were introduced into the analysis for the relationship between external reference price and consumers’ choice of private label. The findings show an inverted U-shaped curve between consumers’ choice of private labels and the external reference price discrepancy. Consumers in areas with high ADI are more likely to buy private labels. Package size and ADI have different direct and moderating effects on two categories of products. This study contributes to reference dependence theory and category management.
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Packaging can play a key role in reducing food waste and enabling resource efficient logistics operations. This paper offers insights into why this potential is not fully adopted by companies in food supply chains by exploring adoption barriers for sustainable packaging practices in ten companies in South Africa and Sweden. The paper develops an analytical framework from theory and applies it to the empirical data. This resulted in ten propositions that structure adoption barriers for sustainable packaging practices in food supply chains and explain the reasons for their occurrence. The propositions can form a basis for researchers to understand why the adoption of sustainable packaging practices in food supply chains may be lacking. Corporate decision-makers can use the propositions to form strategies and initiatives to overcome adoption barriers. The study also identified some contextual differences, but overall, the contextual impact on adoption barriers was surprisingly low. To deepen research and practice insights about the complexity of adopting sustainable packaging practices, the paper offers a process view on the adoption barriers in which their relationships are linked. The analytical framework and the process view offer integrative views on adoption barriers for sustainable packaging practices that enable researchers and practitioners to address them with a structured approach. This explorative study finally unfolds further research opportunities.
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The sustainability of rigid packaging can be increased by using biocomposites in packaging. Existing frameworks have some limitations such as are made to assess a few aspects, conventional packaging parameters are considered, etc. Biocomposite has a slightly different scenario at various life cycle stages, like the end-of-life cycle process. To assess the sustainability of biocomposite rigid packaging, we must consider parameters related to the biocomposite-based rigid packaging materials life cycle. These are categorised into different aspects of sustainability and life cycle phases.
This paper examines the effect of the packaging tax on food manufacturers' and retailers’ decision to produce less packaging at the source. We analyze a longitudinal data set for the packaging quantities generated from 2005 to 2017 in the province of Quebec (Canada). We estimate two fixed effect models, then we triangulate our results with qualitative evidence from in-depth interviews and a focus group with key stakeholders. We show that the reduction effect of the packaging tax is sensitive to the targeted packaging particularities. Manufacturers and retailers are willing to bear high tax fees for food packaging when it has important operational, environmental, and technical benefits. Hence, policymakers should not expect that only increasing taxes will always produce the expected reduction effect for all packaging, because other important decision-making criteria come into play for food packaging. However, varying taxes according to packaging material recyclability is found to be effective. Indeed, since the packaging tax is charged on a weight basis, decision makers are inclined to reduce their costs by substituting high-taxed materials (i.e. environment-damaging and heavy packaging) with low-taxed materials (i.e. eco-friendly and lightweight packaging). The local availability of packaging materials shapes this substitution elasticity, hence applying “material levies” suggested by previous studies might be ineffective to achieve the expected reduction at source. The absence of a regulatory framework combined with high-priced recycled materials, technical and availability issues, lead manufacturers to choose virgin materials while retailers are predisposed to pay a high price to benefit from the recycled content branding.
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Purpose Major cereal staples such as wheat, white rice and corn have a significant negative impact on the environment, a low nutritional profile and are associated with obesity. In comparison, alternative staples (such as rye, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.) are more environmentally sustainable and nutritious, yet are underused. There has been a recent surge in research into and awareness of alternative staples, but the current understanding of the different drivers of and barriers to their consumption remains fragmented. Design/methodology/approach The present study attempts to assimilate and incorporate the current knowledge on the drivers of and barriers to the consumption of alternative staples. Eighty-one empirical studies were curated and analysed according to stringent protocols in order to examine the existing research profile and themes arising from prior research in this domain. Findings The study presents a profile of the extensive existing literature examining the drivers of and barriers to the consumption of alternative staples. The thematic analysis of selected studies resulted in the identification of six drivers and seven barriers. The drivers are an awareness of health; awareness of environmental factors; recommendations; awareness of the brand, labels and source of origin; household structure and demographic attributes. The barriers are difficulty in preparation, lack of familiarity, lack of availability, lack of affordability, culture, product attributes and sensory attributes. The various research gaps and avenues for future research associated with the drivers and barriers identified are also presented. Originality/value The key outcomes of the study are the presentation of the research profile, the identification of various drivers and barriers, the recognition of gaps in the research and avenues for future research and, finally, the development of a theoretical framework entitled “Behavioral reasoning towards the consumption of alternative staples (BRCAS)”. The study offers various insights for nutritionists, marketers, policymakers and consumers by increasing awareness of alternative staples.
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Fashion is characterised by rapidly changing trends and consumption patterns which have led to complexities and dynamism of the fashion supply chain (SC). Excessive generation of wastes highlights the need for innovative ways to address unsustainable practices by feeding the waste back into the supply chain system. This paper reviews the extant literature on sustainability within the fashion industry’s supply chain to establish available sustainability practices to manage post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) at garment end of lifecycle. Four sustainable practices emerged from the review—education and engagement, recovery and redistribution, reuse, and recycling—and are central to a framework that shows the interaction of garment end of lifecycle practices and could the achievement of strategic competitive advantage. Our findings emphasise the importance for interaction and collaboration between consumers and retailers and further involvement of the entire supply chain. In addition, sustainability paradoxes were evident across the sustainable practices. To avoid this, for retailers are urged to shift towards cradle to cradle (closed loop) lifecycle supply chains. Furthermore, retailers should evaluate the practices they adopt by questioning their aim in the achievement of sustainability. We suggest that firms should consider the entire supply chain when adopting a sustainable practice and each agent’s role in achieving the overall outcome of sustained competitive advantage.
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Packaging sustainability concepts have co-evolved with the increasing incorporation of the principles of sustainable development at various levels within industrial and organizational platforms. Currently, pollution from plastics, packaging-related waste, declining air, soil, and water quality, climate change, and other contemporary challenges are influencing the packaging industry. Barriers such as value chain complexities and negative consumer attitudes due to the economic, social, and environmental demands of sustainable behaviors can discourage companies from the implementation of more sustainable packaging. Hence, packages with improved sustainability may never make their way into the marketplace. However, the next generation of sustainable solutions can be motivated by efforts that fuel a positive consumer attitude towards sustainable packaging. In order to direct efforts, a clear understanding of consumer dynamics in ecological material preferences, willingness to pay, recycling, and factors impacting sustainable behaviors are essential. The objective of this work is to (i) explore the definitions, the impact of sustainable packaging in the value chain, and consumer behavior theories; (ii) review current practices, factors affecting sustainable behaviors, and consumer testing methods; (iii) present three distinct case studies on consumer preferences and value perceptions on bio-based cellulose materials and the impact of on-label claims and pre-evaluation education in consumer preferences; and (iv) to reveal the research gaps and opportunities for consumer research and suggest strategies for stakeholders to communicate packaging sustainability to consumers.
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Packaging is often criticized as a symbol of today's throwaway society, as it is mostly made of plastic, which is in itself quite controversial, and is usually used only once. However, as packaging's main function is to protect its content and 30% of all food produced worldwide is lost or wasted along the supply chain, optimized packaging may be one of the solutions to reduce this staggering amount. Developing countries struggle with losses in the supply chain before food reaches the consumer. Here, appropriate packaging may help to protect food and prolong its shelf life so that it safely reaches these households. In developed countries, food tends to be wasted rather at the household's level due to wasteful behavior. There, packaging may be one of the drivers due to inappropriate packaging sizes and packaging that is difficult to empty. When discussing the sustainability of packaging, its protective function is often neglected and only revolves around the type and amount of material used for production. In this review, drivers, issues, and implications of packaging-related food losses and waste (FLW) are discussed, as well as the implication for the implementation in life cycle assessments (LCA).
Novel food packaging techniques are an important area of research to promote food quality and safety. There is a trend towards environmentally sustainable and edible forms of packaging. Edible packaging typically uses sustainable, biodegradable material that is applied as a consumable wrapping or coating around the food, which generates no waste. Numerous studies have recently investigated the importance of edible materials as an added value to packaged foods. Nanotechnology has emerged as a promising method to provide use of bioactives, antimicrobials, vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients to potentially increase the functionality of edible packaging. It can act as edible dispensers of food ingredients as encapsulants, nanofibers, nanoparticles and nanoemulsions. In this way, edible packaging serves as an active form of packaging. It plays an important role in packaged foods by desirably interacting with the food and providing technological functions such as releasing scavenging compounds (antimicrobials and antioxidants), and removing harmful gasses such as oxygen and water vapour which all can decrease products quality and shelf life. Active packaging can also contribute to maintaining the nutritive profile of packaged foods. In this review, authors present the latest information on new technological advances in edible food packaging, their novel applications and provide examples of recent studies where edible packaging possesses also an active role.
The environmental and health risks associated with the emission of greenhouse gases and plastic pollution, combined with the increasing price and future shortage of petroleum, have been the main driving forces for the development of greener materials from renewable resources. Although such increased emphasis on sustainability has transversally come across all the technological sectors and end‐markets of mass production goods, it is especially the packaging industry, traditionally dominated more than others by disposable fossil‐based plastics, that has been facing a growing pressure to provide and implement commercially attractive and competitive alternatives, with an optimal balance in terms of functionality, costs, eco‐efficiency, product availability, and production capacity. In this regard, public organizations, industrial manufacturers, and enterprises from different industries, ranging from food packaging to agriculture to medical care, are joining efforts aimed at the large‐scale production and commercialization of biodegradable packaging solutions that can meet the legislative requirements imposed by the restrictions in the use of disposable plastics and the demand of a more responsible waste management arising from an increased environmental awareness. In this regard, thermoplastic starch and its composites exhibit a great commercial and technological potential as sustainable packaging materials and an overview of their processing methods, properties and suitability for packaging applications will be presented in the present chapter.
en This qualitative study investigates the structure of the buying centre, the buying process, and the factors that influence buying decisions for perishable‐products packaging. This empirical investigation is based on the case study of a major Quebec food retailer. We show that the purchase of packaging changes significantly depending on whether the product is considered more or less strategic for the organization, which determines the required level of packaging customization. Buying centre structure becomes more complex as packaging customization increases. Given the multi‐functionality and the interdisciplinarity of packaging, we propose a multi‐criteria analysis grid to improve buying decision efficiency and to streamline communication between the various levels of the buying centre. Résumé fr Cette étude qualitative explore la structure du centre d'achat, le processus d'achat et les facteurs qui influencent la décision d'achat des emballages des produits périssables. L'investigation empirique est basée sur l'étude de cas d'un important détaillant alimentaire québécois. Nous montrons que l'achat des emballages change significativement selon que le produit est qualifié de plus ou moins stratégique pour l'organisation, ce qui conditionne le niveau requis de personnalisation de l'emballage. La structure du centre d'achat se complexifie à mesure que la personnalisation des produits augmente. Étant donné la multifonctionnalité et l'interdisciplinarité des emballages, nous proposons une grille d'analyse multicritère visant à accroître l'efficacité de cette décision d'achat et fluidifier la communication entre les acteurs du centre d'achat.
Purpose Cause-related marketing (CRM) is an ever growing marketing strategy developed by companies that may result in a win-win-win strategy for business, non-profit organizations and society. However, the specific relationship between CRM and consumers purchase intentions (PI) has been analyzed in a fragmented way within the mainstream literature. Grounding on this, the purpose of this paper is to give a more comprehensive and fine grained view of this phenomenon, testing the effect of several moderators on the relationships between CRM and consumers PI in two different countries. Design/methodology/approach The sample consists of 234 Italian (individualistic culture) and 164 Brazilian (collectivist culture) consumers surveyed online. Ordinary least squares analysis has been carried out in order to test the moderator effects hypothesized. Findings Regarding Italian respondents, the author found positive evidence for moderator effects of the perception of CRM goal achievement (GA), brand-fit (BF) and gender. On the contrary, the author did not find a significant moderator effect of brand-use, while the author found it significant but negative for Brazilian respondents. Moreover, the author found that the perception of CRM GA does not moderate the aforementioned relationship for Brazilians while BF and gender still have positive effects. Originality/value A more fine grained picture of the CRM–PI relationships have been provided through the empirical test of several moderators, finding different effects in individualistic (Italians) and collectivist culture (Brazilians), thus deriving interesting implications in the international marketing field of research.
Packaging enables the movement of product from its point of origin to its point of consumption and influences all other industries directly or indirectly. Despite technological advancements, increasing length of global supply chains for products has led to a simultaneous increase in the use of packaging layers and associated waste along the supply chain. Thus, packaging poses challenges and opportunities to the environment and society, with implications for supply chain costs. With growing popularity of concepts such as circular economy and sustainability, packaging and its relationship with sustainability and supply chain management in a circular economy needs to be studied. This paper presents a systematic literature review of studies done over the last 18 years with the objective to generate a greater understanding of the work done in the field of sustainable packaging in supply chain management (SPSCM). Our findings indicate SPSCM trends are aligned to circular economy concepts but have not adequately considered the interaction of the product with its packaging system. Research efforts in SPSCM are restricted to environmental and economic dimensions and are mostly concentrated in developed economies. The review identifies three main supply chain structures studied in SPSCM literature of which there has been an increased focus on fragmented portions and dyads of the supply chain with respect to packaging. The research contributes by identifying and mapping the collated literature to organizational theories that support and drive SPSCM. In particular, the institutional theory, stakeholder theory and ecological modernization theory are investigated from a SPSCM perspective. Further, the three organizational theories are used to develop a framework for circular economy to highlight future avenues for research and practice in SPSCM for a circular economy.