Strategic turnaround in the USA: sustainability as a driver

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In recent years, the United States has often been seen as a laggard when it comes to environmental sustainability, especially in comparison to the ambitious goals of the European Union as formulated in the Green Deal. However, the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act will be a strategic turning point that will bring the US closer to European sustainability efforts.


Gamechanger: Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act can be seen as the US response to the European Green Deal. Enacted in August 2022, it provides for extensive investment in clean energy and sustainability initiatives, along with other areas. The legislation is not only a response to global challenges but is also firmly seen as an opportunity to make the economy dynamic and future orientated. The USA is ready to play a leading role in the global sustainable transformation.

Although the reference to the packaging sector is not explicit, the Inflation Reduction Act sends a clear signal that sustainability is prioritised at all levels. And that includes the packaging industry. A look at the development shows that the USA is taking a significant step forward in terms of packaging sustainability.


Numerous drivers for sustainability

This development is being reinforced by a whole range of factors that are driving real efforts to achieve greater sustainability in the USA. Alongside the growing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria for investors, it also includes consumer resistance to plastic waste and increasing initiatives by NGOs. Extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws, such as those introduced in California and Oregon, also play a key role. Overall, this development is leading to significantly rising expectations of brand owners to set and achieve ambitious sustainability targets.


Large US corporations lead the way

Contrary to the common assumption that large US companies lag far behind their European competitors when it comes to sustainability, surveys show a different picture. Many multinational brand owners based in the USA have set themselves ambitious goals that are in line with the vision of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Accordingly, the “PTIS Future of Packaging Global Thought Leader Survey” states: “Brand owners, many of them multinationals, are pursuing goals that align with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s vision for all packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.”


Insights from surveys

According to the PTIS Survey, sustainability is the top defining issue for the packaging industry – both as an opportunity and a risk. At the center of the sustainable transformation are technologies such as advanced recycling and end-of-life sorting systems, as well as bio-based materials. The survey states: “Sustainability has been identified as the biggest opportunity, the biggest risk, the most required capability and the biggest unpredictable element that will shape the packaging industry over the next ten years.”

Rigid plastic packaging

A study conducted by B+P Consultants together with PTIS among US brand owners shows that sustainability has become one of the main criteria when selecting suppliers for rigid plastic packaging.

Flexible packaging

Another study by PTIS on flexible packaging emphasises the growing importance of sustainability and identifies a special focus on the recyclability of packaging. It is also expected that aspects such as the CO2 footprint and the use of alternative materials will become increasingly important over the next five years.


Utilising new opportunities

The growing importance of sustainability in the USA is not just a national turning point. The dynamically changing US packaging market is creating new opportunities for companies worldwide and is a potential source of growth. Where sustainability is not just a goal, but a fundamental part of corporate strategy, solutions and expertise are needed at all levels. However, to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that arise, companies need strong partners with market knowledge and valid insights.


Strong partners: B+P Consultants and PTIS Global

As Berndt+Partner Consultants, we have been working with PTIS for many years. Our successful and well-established partnership demonstrates our shared commitment to providing the best strategies and solutions for the increased demands of the packaging industry.

The increasing importance of sustainability and circular economy principles is opening up valuable opportunities and new prospects for manufacturers of packaging and packaging machines in the US market. We are determined and prepared to utilise these opportunities for our customers.


About PTIS Global

PTIS Global is a leading consulting firm. Founded in 2000, PTIS Global is dedicated to adding value through innovative packaging solutions. With a forward-thinking approach, PTIS helps companies integrate sustainability, research, innovation and consumer insights into their packaging strategies.

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