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How do you reconcile zero defects with zero waste?

05. 13. 20 2 minutes
article luxe

With the advent of industrial policies in favour of sustainable development, the luxury sector finds itself confronted with a dilemma: how do you reconcile the need for perfection in terms of the product and its packaging with an environmental need to limit waste?

If the two factors of zero defects and zero waste, at first glance, seem incompatible, there are numerous solutions available to luxury brands and packaging businesses to overcome the problem.

Zero defects, a principle dear to luxury packaging

In the collective imagination, luxury equates to beauty and perfection. The product is expensive, the overall offer has to be exemplary.
So, to meet the high expectations of its customers, the luxury sector has to be flawless at every stage of the customer experience - from the finished product to the packaging - and create that decisive sense of emotion when they purchase.
In fact, some brands refuse orders placed with suppliers according to strict criteria. For Parcome Paris, for example, orders are refused if:

  • More than 5% of orders have a minor defect (for example, a small 1cm scratch on the bottom of the packaging caused by an employee’s fingernail).
  • More than 2% of orders have a major defect (this same scratch on the brand’s logo, for example).

But is this demand for zero defects reconcilable with an eco-friendly policy of zero waste?

When the principle of zero defects challenges the eco-friendly policy of zero waste

It is clear that in luxury packaging, the principle of zero defects is an achievable objective, but is not very compatible with efforts to reduce waste.
With this artisan expertise, these small imperfections caused by people or machines remain very rare but inevitable, and naturally lead to a significant degree of wastage, that is, energy and material wastage.
To meet the eco-design criteria desired by the customer, which will support their own CSR policy, you must therefore use a responsible and circular economy-based model by finding solutions in favour of sustainable development.
Over and above preserving the planet, it’s about enhancing the brand’s image, by pushing green marketing, and increasing added-value to gain a competitive advantage over the competition.

Limiting the environmental impact of packaging thanks to eco-design

Although suppliers demand that you provide customers with faultless packaging while limiting their impact on the environment, their roles is to show brands that environmentally-friendly excellence can be achieved through other sustainable initiatives.
Different levers can thereby be activated.

  • Reducing the consumption of water, electricity and any other resource in the manufacturing process through more responsible behaviour,
  • Using a circular economy-based approach by recycling rejects, to be able to use them after afterwards, 
  • Developing research to use new eco-friendly materials, 
  • Chartering specific recycling companies for polluting waste, 
  • Joining forces with partners who share your ethics and who guarantee compliance with environmental standards, 
  • Proving yourself to be irreproachable in terms of the company’s approach to CSR (employee working conditions, equal rights, respect for differences etc.)

For eco-designed and responsible packaging, numerous initiatives are therefore available. And all the better, because consumers are becoming increasingly demanding:
76% of them say that they have bought at least one product with an environmental benefit in the last 12 months. And two thirds are ready to pay 5% more for products that respect the environment.

Conclusion: While maintaining their demand for zero defects, it is fully in the interest of luxury brands to choose a packaging specialist with an eco-friendly approach, which is a real lever for growth in their sustainable development strategy!

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Written by
Matthieu PIERRET
Responsable Achat - Parcome Paris
Sustainability Innovation Product / Quality / Luxury
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