[SOLVED] PACKCARE: A responsible packaging company

[SOLVED] PACKCARE: A responsible packaging company

PACKCARE: A responsible packaging company
The Australian Packaging Industry
In 2020 the value of packaging produced in Australia was $10bn, and accounted for slightly in excess of 1% of the country’s GDP. In Australia about 40,000 people are directly employed in the packaging industry, which is almost entirely Australian owned. The major packaging materials used in Australia are glass (10%), metals (aluminium and steel, 20%), paper/board (cartons and corrugated, 36%), and plastics (HDPE, PET, PVC, polypropylene and polystyrene, 30%).
Traditionally, packaging is a high volume/low margin business. However, changes in consumer demand have created a number of interesting challenges and have led to the need to produce higher quality packaging both in terms of aesthetics and materials. New forms of packaging now incorporate better labelling, easily opened containers, smaller individually packaged product portions and microwavable packaging. Commercial drivers have also created a greater demand for higher quality packaging, such as the need for products with longer shelf-life, better shapes for storage and distribution, as well as more product security. Higher quality packaging has increased both the costs and margins per unit of product sold. However, this trend towards higher quality packaging is in conflict with boarder stakeholder pressures to reduce material use and pollution. There are also environmental consequences as there is less ability to separate materials for recycling and reuse within these more complex forms of packaging, and as a result, more packaging waste needs to go to landfill.
Fortunately, some industry players have invested in recycling infrastructure and have developed many kerbside collection systems across Australia. While recycling is being promoted by business councils and manufacturers, from a marketing standpoint the industry is beginning to acknowledge that recycling is not the sole test of environmental performance. Many manufacturers, including PACKCARE, are also engaging in continuous improvements of the manufacturing process in order to achieve reductions in environmental pollution generated in the production process.
The Case Company: PACKCARE
PACKCARE started in 2010 as a privately owned company, operating with 1,000 employees in 14 sites in Australia. PACKCARE has annual sales of approximately $750 million. PACKCARE’s customers are both retail and industrial and cover a range of industries. The largest proportion of PACKCARE’s customers is from the food and beverage markets — making up 44% of sales with the remainder of their products and services being classified into household consumer, personal care, industrial and sustainability services.
In 2020 in order to pivot to a sustainable future, PACKCARE developed its ‘Future Goals’ that were to be the focus of all operations for the period of 2020–2025. The aim was to unite the disparate parts of PACKCARE with a common sustainable strategy goals. These ‘Future Goals’ were as follows:
⦁ Reduce material waste by 30%
⦁ Everything we make will be 100% recyclable
⦁ Reduce carbon emissions by 25%
Many managers claimed that the development of PACKCARE’s Future Goals acted as a new strategic vision for the company – they were then charged to operationalize these goals in whatever way they saw fit.
Anne Brown and the PACKCARE plastics division
One general manager of PACKCARE took her company’s ‘Future Goals’ to heart, her name was Anne Brown, and she was the general manager of the plastics division. Anne saw the three goals as relating to two strategies. The first involved a product differentiation strategy where recyclable packaging could be on sold to the end consumers as a responsible product feature; here the recyclability of the package would allow for differentiations
and may even improve sales. The second strategy was one of cost leadership and involved reducing waste and emission would reduce costs (thereby improving profit).
Product differentiation and recyclability
PACKCARE’s recycling and re-use services were also considered unique service offerings within the industry. More customers were interested in selling environmentally friendly products, as the operational manager said:
“This gives us competitive advantage. So when we’re faced with the purchasing group and when they ask us why they should buy from PACKCARE as opposed to company B, C and D? We can put our hand on our heart and say “well look how we’re pioneering in the environmental area, and this area and this area”, we can then actually provide them with a business model which will help them with their vision.”
PACKCARE would recover used packages from end users, and then recondition or regrind these packages in order to sell them to their customers, who would then fill the packages with their product and then sell the product on to the end user again. This process was referred to as ‘closing the loop’. However, the process required careful life cycle analysis when designing new products. One example of this process was the newly designed plastic drum or ‘eco-cube’, which was a new fully recyclable industrial storage container that PACKCARE sold to steel drum customers as an environmentally-friendly substitute product. The ‘eco-cube’ product was sold as part of an ongoing reconditioning and refill service, where the cube would be cleaned and refilled.
Cost leadership and reducing pollution
For Anne, being responsible was more than just recycling it involved promoting and enabling continuous process improvement in order to reduce both the costly inputs and waste outcomes of manufacturing. Pollution is seen here as nothing more than a form of waste and a type of inefficiency. Anne wanted her managers to identify and reduce such environmental impacts which were economically costly. She wanted to see progress against each target on a monthly basis.
As Anne devised her strategies she began to see both were not separate but actually related to one another. Indeed, there were three ecological benefits to ‘closing the loop’: firstly, reusing packaging meant the amount of waste sent to landfill was reduced; secondly, in many cases this waste had harmful trace chemicals that were neutralised in the reconditioning process; and thirdly, it was more energy efficient to recover the package for re-use then to cast virgin materials (with the added benefit of not being reliant on suppliers). Therefore the recycling strategy accelerated the achievement of her pollution reduction/cost leadership strategy.
While Anne’s vision was robust she had not measured the economic and environmental aspects of her plan. She began to embark on developing an environmental scorecard, which identified, measured and managed improvements from both her recycling/product differentiation strategy and her emission reduction/cost leadership strategy this included, environmental emissions, waste, percentage of recyclability of products etc as well as the efficiency and profitability. She knew that the strongest motivator for reducing emissions was still the economic benefits that such reductions would create for her division’s ‘bottom line’. Anne also wanted to share this risk and opportunity information with stakeholders in a Sustainability Report.
What are the required elements of the Case Study Report?
The Case Study Report is to be prepared based on the key requirements listed in Table 1 below, the report should reflect the group’s conceptual understanding (LO1), critical reflections (LO2), an application of innovative and sustainable solutions to business dilemmas for a retail company that can be both profitable and sustainable (LO3), and a thorough justification for how it will translate, implement, and achieve one SDG target (LO5).
To assist you in designing and preparing the required report elements to transform and re-position PACKCARE as a Responsible Business, we want you to draw on the principles of Circular Economy and the theory of Indigenous Stewardship, considering how these frameworks can help advance Responsible Business Mindset. We provide
some helpful references below, but you may draw on other references and theories to assist in the preparation of your work. Utilising theory to understand and explain your work is an important skill for a Master’s level student (acting as an expert consultant for this case!).
Please note the following are a necessary part of your report, as further discussed below:
⦁ the use of the principles of Circular Economy,
⦁ the use of the conceptual framework of Indigenous Stewardship, and
⦁ the ability to critically reflect.
Circular Economy:
The Circular Economy approach involves a transition away from the traditional linear ‘take, make and dispose’ model and aims to keep resources circulating in the economy to maximise value, generate local jobs and minimise waste. It can open up new markets and business models and lead to innovative resource and waste management solutions (EPA NSW, 2018). This resource intensive manufacturing industry, coupled with an increasing rate of consumption in Australia, are fuelling a packaging waste problem. Drawing on the principles of Circular Economy, part of the requirement is to design a Sustainable Balanced Scorecard (SBSC) focused on the strategy of waste reduction. We provide the following references to help you in this task:
⦁ Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (2013, January 7). What If We Don’t Buy Products and We Buy Service? Circular Economy Explained | Animated Video Essay. [Video]. Youtube.
⦁ Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (2011, August 29). Explaining the Circular Economy and How Society Can Re- think Progress | Animated Video Essay. [Video]. Youtube.
⦁ Meherishi, L., Narayana, S. A., & Ranjani, K. S. (2019). Sustainable packaging for supply chain management in the circular economy: A review. Journal of cleaner production, 237, 117582.
For the high achievers:
⦁ The Circularity Gap Reporting Initiative. Circularity gap report 2021[Report].
⦁ Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (2010, September 2). Circular Economy Explained: What Is It & Why Is It Important? [Video]. Youtube.
Indigenous Stewardship:
Indigenous stewardship is one of the fundamental concepts that can underpin our evolving paradigm of Responsible Business; a mindset that appreciates that business is deeply interconnected to the communities and the environment in which it operates. Indigenous stewardship is the idea that humans are stewards of the land (Beckford et al, 2010; Rimanoczy, 2020). Indigenous-based cultures have sophisticated ways of knowing and living; they understand environmental sustainability and identify as caretakers, overseeing and protecting natural resources, with careful planning and management (Mazzocchi, 2020; Rimanoczy, 2020). To be a steward is distinct from ownership and control, which are central ideas in a Shareholder Primacy mindset. Rather, Indigenous stewardship emphasises collective respect for nature and humanity including future generations. In this unit we argue responsible business needs to transform and can draw on Indigenous stewardship principles of caretaking, and collectivism towards a more sustainable present and future.
Drawing on the concept of Indigenous Stewardship develop a ‘sustainability report’ that discloses information on PACKCARE’s risks and opportunities in the impact areas of Recycling, Climate Change, Customer and Community. We provide the following references to help you in this task:
⦁ Beckford, C. L., Jacobs, C., Williams, N., & Nahdee, R. (2010). Aboriginal environmental wisdom, stewardship, and sustainability: lessons from the Walpole Island First Nations, Ontario, Canada. The Journal of Environmental Education, 41(4), 239-248 [Journal Article].
⦁ Mazzocchi, F. (2020). A deeper meaning of sustainability: Insights from indigenous knowledge. The Anthropocene Review, 7(1), 77-93 [Journal Article].
For the high achievers:
⦁ Harvey, J. L. (2018, September 6). What Tomorrow’s Leaders Can Learn from Indigenous Stewardship. InfoQ [Video]. ⦁ https://www.infoq.⦁ com/presentatio⦁ ns/indigenous-stewardship/
⦁ Lucy, W. N., & Mitchell, C. (1996). Replacing private property: The case for stewardship. The Cambridge Law Journal, 55(3), 566-600 [Journal Article].
Critical Reflection:
We also want to see how your critical reflection skills have developed; such skills have been the focus of the Workshop Presentation Debates and the Vlogs. “A Critical Reflection (also called a reflective essay) is a process of identifying, questioning, and assessing our deeply-held assumptions – about our knowledge, the way we perceive events and issues, our beliefs, feelings, and actions. When you reflect critically, you use course material (lectures, readings, discussions, etc.) to examine our biases, compare theories with current actions, search for causes and triggers, and identify problems at their core. Critical reflection is not a reading assignment, a summary of an activity, or an emotional outlet. Rather, the goal is to change your thinking about a subject, and thus change your behaviour.” (source: https://uwaterloo.ca/writing-and-communication-centre/critical-reflection, accessed 6 May 2021). A helpful resource for understanding critical reflection that can be found in your Canvas Reading List:
⦁ Reynolds, M. (1998). Reflection and critical reflection in management learning. Management learning, 29(2), 183-200 [Journal Article].


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