The 3 P’s of sustainability
“The packaging industry has come a long way in achieving a balance between the 3 P’s of Sustainability through the invention of biodegradable plastics.”
It’s hard to not come across the term ‘sustainability’ these days, especially owing to the emphasis being put on climate change control and the need for fostering an eco-friendly environment to conduct business in. Globally, the sustainability movement has gained momentum in areas like fashion, fast food, retail, pharmaceuticals and so on. Businesses are rapidly exploring ‘green’ options when it comes to sourcing raw materials and packaging. And while the definition of sustainability may indicate that it’s a two dimensional concept revolving around the coexistence of nature and human beings, the aspect of business and profits cannot be eliminated completely.
This makes it crucial to decipher and adopt a more wholesome approach that transcends not just People and Planet but also Profits. The packaging industry has come a long way in achieving this balance through the invention of biodegradable plastics. Looking at bioplastics through the lens of the three P’s of Sustainability can serve as inspiration for any industry looking to diversify its understanding of sustainability.
People and Sustainability
“From toxic secretion and respiratory illnesses to stunted growth in fetuses, microplastics cause an unimaginable scale of damage in the human body.”
Social Sustainability or rather the first P of Sustainability is concerned with the cost of doing business on human life. Social Sustainability of any organisation or sector is measured through the impact it has on its customers, employees and stakeholders. For example: industries that repeatedly opt for single use plastics or promote oxo biodegradable plastic as bioplastic are not only harming the environment but also bearing negatively on human life. From toxic emission and respiratory illnesses to stunted growth in fetuses, microplastics cause an unimaginable scale of damage in people. On the other hand, bioplastics made with biomass or biodegradable materials can break down completely into natural materials within a short span of time, sparing the harmful effects associated with traditional plastics.
Saving The Planet.. One Business at a time
“Alternatives such as biodegradable plastics, contribute to a cleaner environment due compostable nature.”
The second P of Sustainability denotes the importance of preservation of Mother Earth in humanity’s quest for manifesting wealth. Today, the practice of cutting corners to minimise cost and maximise profits is prevalent in almost all business sectors. This especially rings true when it comes to sourcing raw materials for product packaging. Single use plastic which is still believed by many to be a quick and accessible option, adds up to tons of waste entering the eco system on a daily basis. The result of such conspicuous consumption of plastic has led to endangerment of various animal species. In fact, today there are equal amounts of plastic and sea creatures in our oceans. Alternatives such as biodegradable plastics, contribute to a cleaner environment due compostable nature. Things come full circle as the production process starts with biomass and decomposition ends with biomass as well.
Can Sustainability be profitable?
“Modern studies prove that shoppers are willing to spend more on business practicing sustainability and fulfilling their social responsibility.”
A wide spread misbelief about sustainable alternatives seems to be that they are costlier and less accessible. However bioplastics can be looked to as a leading example to break that myth. Usually bioplastics consist of agricultural waste and leftovers from the farming industry hence making for cheaper raw material. Additionally the cost of transporting and decomposing bioplastics is much more efficient as they break down faster, taking up less space and time in landfills which is an enormous cost as well. It may also be taken into consideration that modern studies prove that shoppers are willing to spend more on business practicing sustainability and fulfilling their social responsibility. A culmination of these factors makes eco friendly business much more viable to earn profits.
A page must be taken out of the bioplastics handbook to bring about more changes in the sustainability space. A broader perspective can be developed by taking all 3 ps of Sustainability into consideration. To truly succeed at being eco friendly, people and profits must go hand in hand so that the planet can thrive to its fullest potential.