Gift Packaging: Luxury & Sustainability living in harmony

By Kate Clayton
By Kate Clayton

With ‘eco’ emerging as a proxy for quality, it’s an exciting time for gift packaging.

Gift packaging gives brands the opportunity to go beyond the more functional goals of everyday packs, enabling them to push the constraints of brand guidelines and create differentiated packaging, expanding a brand’s reach to make connections with new consumers. The creation of more environmentally friendly gift packaging has always been a consideration for brands, but today, addressing this issue is a necessity!

To back up this thinking, a recent survey by GlobalData in 2017 demonstrated that 76% of consumers in the UK agreed that reducing unnecessary packaging of all kinds is very important.

Research has also shown that 51% of millennials check packaging for sustainability claims and 70% consumers are likely to be influenced by packaging that demonstrates a concern for the environment. (Source: GlobalData 2017).

The challenge for gift packaging is that while consumers say they are receptive to more sustainable packaging, when it comes to actual at-shelf or online purchase of gift packs, the importance of this drops lower down the purchase priority list – after consideration of brand, perceived quality, value for money, specialness and appeal to recipient. (Source: Nielsen 2018). And so brands must ensure that sustainability and luxury work in harmony to meet consumer expectations.


With this increasing pressure from both consumers and retailers, how can brands balance the indulgence and luxury expected from a gift pack with an environmentally sound and sustainable proposition?

Combining luxury gift packaging and sustainability successfully is a complex challenge, so we’ve outlined some of the key things we consider for gift packaging:

1. Understanding client objectives

Clients have different objectives when it comes to environmental credentials, and so it’s important to understand what sustainability means to a client at the pre-brief stage. In order to help our clients’ address sustainability at appropriate levels for them we have integrated a Sustainability Questionnaire into our design process. Enabling clients to identity truthful, realistic and achievable sustainable solutions from the outset.

2. Consideration of the supply chain

Gift packaging often contains a combination of products, sourced from different parts of an organisation, or from external suppliers. In our immersion phase we get an understanding of the holistic supply chain for a single product. The supply chain varies dramatically depending on the size of a brand and scope of the gift packaging required, so understanding it is an important first step. This helps to inform the design process.

3. Explore simplification and the potential for re-use

The single most effective way to eliminate waste is not to create it in the first place. Today’s luxury is not about excess, it comes from a sophisticated simplicity. Our structural packaging designers review all elements of the gift pack and explore creative ways to use less materials – investigating how to design in re-usability, whilst ensuring that the fundamental purpose of the packaging is achieved – to protect the products within!

4. Achieving a graphic balance

We know that sustainability is becoming more important for both the trade and consumers, but environmental credential have to work in harmony with luxury gifting cues to meet consumer expectations. Our approach to gift packaging aims to reflect a brands core values as well as embracing luxury trends like texture, classic elegance, special finishes and detailed crafting to build the anticipation associated with gifting.


Through our work in gift packaging, we know this is a complex challenge, but absolutely believe it is a challenge to be embraced!

The ability to successfully combine these elements not only helps to support our environment, but also strengthens brand loyalty by acknowledging and addressing important sustainability issues.

We hope this has inspired you to re-think your next gift pack, and if you’d like to find out more about our Sustainability Questionnaire please get in touch.

We’d love to help you create a gift pack that conveys indulgent luxury and environmental consideration in perfect harmony.