This acquisition could help make sustainable packaging the norm


In Manteca, California, a small company is pioneering the design and production of paper bottles for brands such as L’Oréal and Seventh Generation. In the United States, in St. Petersburg, Florida, a manufacturing giant is strategizing design, development and packaging services for Apple, Cisco Systems and HP Inc.

Today, the two companies are joining forces to scale up paper packaging made from recycled cardboard and newspaper. Earlier this month, Jabil, the Florida-based company, acquired Ecologic Brands, which will be part of its Packaging Solutions division. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“The opportunity we have is sort of bringing their sustainable packaging platform together and leveraging Jabil’s advanced manufacturing and technology expertise as well as our global footprint to really make it a solution. global for sustainable packaging, ”said Jason Paladino, senior vice president of Jabil and head of the company’s packaging solutions division.

Jabil employs more than 260,000 people at 100 sites in 30 countries. The acquisition will support the company’s own sustainability goals – it is a signatory to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Commitment to the New Plastics Economy and is committed to engaging its customers “to phase out plastic packaging problematic and unnecessary to their current solutions, ”according to its 2019 Sustainability Report.

In packaging, to really evolve, it means having the quality that brands expect, because the biggest brands in the world have high and high standards when it comes to safety qualities. [and] the volumes are huge when you start to generalize.

With consumers demanding better from companies and consumer packaged goods companies that set sustainable packaging targets linked to 2025, it seems the time is right for this partnership, according to Ecologic Brands founder Julie Corbett.

When Corbett launched Ecologic in 2008, scaling up its sustainable packaging was a challenge because at that time only the “die-hards” of the green movement were pushing for such solutions, she said.

Ecologic’s Eco.Bottle is made from 100% recycled cardboard and old newspapers and has a plastic inner liner that is 60% less plastic than hard plastic bottles, according to the company.

“We’re getting this big, big hit point because we’re the right packaging at the right time, and consumers love it. But we were really faced with challenges – the scale, how to do it when you’re strapped for capital. And you really want to do the right thing without cheating, ”Corbett said.

“It is the dream of every entrepreneur: to evolve. And if I had started a baby food business or a beverage business it could have taken me two years, ”she added.

“But in packaging, to really evolve, it means having the quality that brands expect, because the biggest brands in the world have high and high standards when it comes to safety qualities. [and] the volumes are huge when you start to generalize, ”Corbett said.

In 2018, Ecologic worked with L’Oréal to launch its Seed Phytonutrients product line in paper bottles. This packaging was touted as the first shower safe paper bottle made in the beauty industry. Today, L’Oréal is working with Ecologic to develop paper packaging for its professional-level products used in hair salons.

“One of the biggest successes of the Seed Phytonutrients initiative with the first 20 products is that we are now migrating what we have learned and our abilities to influence very big brands,” said Shane Wolf, global president of American brands. in the professional products division of L’Oréal.

Wolf noted that the paper packaging for its professional Redken and Matrix lines are in the final stages of development with Ecologic. And he doesn’t want the more sustainable packaging options for L’Oréal to end there.

“The more I can move around in paper packaging, the happier I’ll be,” Wolf said of the brands he manages at the beauty giant.

And now that Ecologic has partnered with Jabil, it is possible to adapt its paper packaging to more products.

“This is Jabil, with an incredible cultural fit, with an already global, creative footprint. [and] innovative people with a common vision. I couldn’t think of a better way to really see this technology take off, ”Corbett said.

Ecologic is not the only company working on paper bottles. There’s also Paboco, which GreenBiz previously noted as a shorthand for “paper bottle company,” which has coordinated and brought together product development teams at companies such as Carlsberg, Absolut, Coca-Cola and The Oreal. Then there’s 3Epack and Diageo, which partnered with PepsiCo and Unilever to launch products in its paper packaging earlier this year.

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