Expert commentary on EU Plastic Ban: How Manufacturers Should Respond

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Single-use plastic will soon be banned in the EU, presenting major challenges for manufacturers in the plastic and packaging industries. Companies should respond by differentiating their product offerings more significantly, says Dr. Daniel Bornemann, Partner at the global strategy and marketing consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners.

Bonn – To reduce environmental and marine pollution, an agreement has been reached banning single-use plastic products across the European Union. Starting 2021, it will no longer be permitted to sell single-use plastic products if sustainable alternatives are readily available. These include items such as straws, sticks for balloons, cutlery, plates, and plastic cotton swabs. Before the ban comes into force, the agreement must be officially approved by the EU parliament and member states.

Consumers willing to pay for more sustainability     

Banning an entire product group will have a significant impact on manufacturers in the plastic and packaging industries. Even though the sector has been becoming more sustainable for years, it is now under pressure. Legislators, trade partners, and consumers are demanding sustainable alternatives to plastic straws and other products, and they don’t want to wait. Companies have to react strategically by differentiating their product offerings more significantly in terms of sustainability. This approach shouldn’t only be considered for plastic packaging and products, it should also be applied to other materials and the entire supply chain. If raw materials, production conditions, and manufacturing processes are sustainable, a product’s value increases, justifying a higher price in the eyes of end consumers, according to recent studies. In terms of sustainability, differentiated product portfolios with corresponding pricing are the way forward. New product variations and the added value have to be communicated clearly to trade partners and consumers. If companies follow this advice, they’ll be well prepared for the upcoming ban on plastics.


Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy & Marketing Consultants:
Simon-Kucher & Partners is a global consulting firm with more than 1,200 professionals in 38 offices worldwide focusing on TopLine Power®. Founded in 1985, the company has more than 30 years of experience providing strategy and marketing consulting and is regarded as the world’s leading pricing advisor.