Packet accha hai? I Responsible Packaging & Marketing

Growing up I remember milk being bought from the neighbourhood booth through token coins. It was an adventure for us kids nothing short of winning at the slot machine as adults. Hearing the tokens clank, signalling it has been accepted (sometimes they were thrown out too) and watch in awe as the milk gushed into the steel cans. My earliest memory takes me back to my maternal grandmother’s house where milk came in glass bottles with colourful foil covers distinguishing toned from full cream. It was a delight to lick the fresh cream off the top of the bottles. The empty bottles could then be returned in exchange of fresh milk in the new bottles.

Reviving the age-old

It is refreshing to see that new age Brands like paper boat are trying to revive the traditional way of life through their recipes and building a nostalgia of the ‘good old days’ and hopefully in the process also promoting a sustainable way of packaging and distribution. Ironically, age-old brands like Mother Dairy are doing quite the opposite. Their recent ad campaign of ‘packed hai to safe hai’ is wrong at so many levels in my opinion. First, it discredits local producers and consuming locally not only encouraging the carbon footprint of sourcing from far off places but also denouncing the support of local cottage industries amidst others.  Second, promoting a plastic packet when the world struggles with a climate crisis? This, in the backdrop of another existing challenge for the sector of disposing of the small snips of milk/chips packets. It’s now a well-established fact that these small plastic dregs get lost before reaching a recycling unit, they get converted into microplastics, enter soil and waterbodies finally the microbeads clog lines and polluting the food chain.

Having said this it must also be shared that the ethos of the brand is from a sound space.  “Brand Mother Dairy sources a significant part of its requirement of liquid milk from dairy cooperatives and village level farmer centric organizations. A significant portion of its income is ploughed back into the value chain to support and maintain the system”.

Communicating Sustainability

Given the percentage of companies selecting Social Responsibility/ESG as one of their top five priorities doubling from 2020 to 2021, Mother Dairy’s creative/communication agency can definitely use a crash course in sustainability and conscientious communication. Highlighting what they’ve already got right rather than influencing consumer behaviour away from a sustainable process.

Climate Crisis

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stated a code red for humanity, Stressing ‘Irrefutable’ Evidence of Human Influence.

India has been taking proactive steps and the plastic waste management act amended declared a complete ban on single-use plastic by July 1st 2022. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, which prohibits identified single-use plastic items which have low utility and high littering potential by 2022.

The plastic waste management amendment further places the responsibility of plastic waste on the producer through extended producer responsibility (responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life) EPR.  For effective implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility, the Guidelines for Extended Producer Responsibility being brought out have been given legal force through Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.

Ancient wisdom

While we all look forward to a win-win solution from the Industry at large to adapt to a more sustainable way of packaging and distribution, let’s celebrate our age-old sustainable practices as a country to recycle, reuse and generate minimal waste. The world may be waking up to the benefits of a circular economy only now, but our mothers and grandmothers have known this forever. Whether it be regenerative herbs and spices in our food to build immunity or by saving containers to store the locally sourced produce, apna dabba hi accha hai, Don’t you think?

 

SABERA helps amplify Responsible Leadership and voices committed to GOOD.

Views are personal.  The author Suparnaa Chadda is the founder of the Simply Suparnaa Media Network, a passionate activist at heart, she used her versatile experience in the media & marketing domain to curate SABERA. Watch her reasons Why here.

If you or your organization are promoting sustainable practices, aligning to the SDG goals and ESG principles, then the सबेरा SABERA 2021 jury is looking forward to your work. To submit your responsible work for  SABERA 2021, Register here.

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