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Ipsos: Concern mounts over plastic pollution

Released at: 14:34, 05/09/2019

Ipsos: Concern mounts over plastic pollution

Photo: Ipsos

Local consumers demanding action and calling for shared responsibility by government, brands, and industry.

by Hong Nhung

Plastic waste is a growing problem and concern among ASEAN consumers, according to a new report released by Ipsos in Vietnam on September 4.

Consumers are demanding action and calling for shared responsibility by government, brands, and industry to demonstrate genuine change in addressing plastic waste and developing more sustainable product packaging.

New analysis from Ipsos, drawn from results of online studies detailing global samples with more than 17,000 participants and 3,900 more regionally-focused select interviews across Asia-Pacific, shows consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about excessive plastic use and are eager to find ways to reduce the amount of unnecessary product packaging.

Mr. Gordon Milne, Ipsos Client Director for Asia Pacific, and Mr. Phong Quach from Ipsos Vietnam Business Consulting presented the key findings and insights on plastic waste in Asia-Pacific along with a deep dive into the challenges specifically faced in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s plastic consumption per capita increased significantly during 1990-2015, from 3.8kg to 41kg (an increase of 10 per cent year annually), making plastic waste in the country among the highest in the world.

More than 1.8 million tons of plastic are generated in Vietnam each year and only 27 per cent of plastic bags are recycled. Conditions are ripe for innovation in alternative packaging, community action, and innovative ways to recycle and reuse plastic waste.

The Vietnamese Government has set goals to eliminate single-use plastic, by banning single-use plastic bags in all stores, supermarkets, and markets by 2021 and across the country by 2025. However, the implementation of these goals has been impeded by the lack of effective regulation, lack of clear instructions and notifications to the public, and inadequate tax and tariffs to incentivize industry.

“Plastic waste and packaging sustainability are critical global environmental and commercial issues,” said Mr. Milne. “Using our worldwide research data and insights, Ipsos has produced a point of view on plastic and sustainable packaging.”

Changing consumer habits around plastic bag use is a global challenge and ASEAN consumers believe the responsibility to reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging should be shared.

“The Ipsos analysis looks at the role of the value chain and related stakeholder initiatives along with consumer sentiment and innovations around packaging,” he added. “We are now entering a third ‘moment of truth’, where brand owners have the opportunity to leverage packaging sustainability as an additional and new, distinctive brand asset.”

Brand owners’ initiatives to help reduce plastic waste and promote a sustainable environment include replacing all plastic packaging with recycled plastic products, replacing single-use plastic containers and straws with eco-friendly products, and launching promotions to encourage non-plastic use.

Retailers are also moving towards using eco-friendly packaging such as banana leaves and bio-plastic bags and eco-friendly stores, including refilling stations using consumers’ own non-plastic packaging for soap and shampoo, which have become increasingly popular.

In Vietnam, consistent with markets all over the world, consumer sentiment is shaping new expectations and new behaviors around sustainable packaging, which creates a new commercial imperative that will drive the future profitability of brands.

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