Exclusively Eco

Published 22 May 2017 by Timo Sokka
What makes luxury packaging luxurious? Material, design, intelligence – with the element of eco.
We might define the luxury market by price points, but what defines the price? It could be in the craftsmanship and quality, the story the brand tells and the people it represents. Luxury implies exclusivity, ‘something not everybody has’. Namely, it’s in the mind of the individual consumer.

For the luxury brand, packaging can also play a big role in how a product is perceived and valued. To that end, our teams at Stora Enso are focused on material, design and intelligence that can add to the luxury factor as well as the sustainability aspect of a brand.

As a material, wood-based fibres are quite suited to the discriminating consumer. For example, the tactile properties of a product or package have become more and more important in brands. Wood-based fibres can provide a softer and more textured, luxurious feeling compared to plastic. Molded fibres can be used for high-end inserts, instead of plastics. Wood plastic composites can be made into corks, screw caps and dispensers like we’d find in luxury cosmetics, and give a ‘holistic’ feeling to the overall product.

In terms of design, how the package is made and can provide gains in the value chain are equally important to the look and functionality. Carton board can be made lighter or stiffer, for example, with micro-fibrillated cellulose (MFC), or even thinner with MFC and biocomposites, making it more efficient.

Packaging tells a story too and needs to align with the brand, particularly in luxury markets. This can be challenging, for instance, with growing e-commerce. Even here, the outer package material and design will affect how the consumer reacts to the brand.

Intelligence is another feature that can single out a brand. Intelligent packaging can be used to assure a consumer that their high price product is not counterfeit. Digital tags can further enhance the brand by enabling direct communication and information between brand owner and consumer.

That brings me to the eco element. Do luxury consumers care? Do they actively seek brands and products that are seen as ecologically friendly?

We see growing eco-awareness, particularly among the 20-45 age group. However, with so many conflicting messages in different markets, it’s hard for consumers to know what’s sustainable and what’s not.

Trees are renewable, they grow back. Carton board comes from renewable wood fibres. That’s one part of the sustainability equation. Additionally, Stora Enso works sustainably and responsibly in the forests, operations and communities to do everything we can to make the friendliest use of this ‘green’ resource.

With renewable wood fibres, there’s luxury – and a good conscious.


Timo Sokka, blog author

Timo Sokka

Timo Sokka is Head of Business Development, Stora Enso Division Consumer Board. He is responsible for leading packaging development in new business areas: aligning future business needs with customer and brand owner perspectives and expectations, as well as heading incubation activities in technology commercialization processes and cooperation with incubators, startups and other companies – in short, combining consumer needs with new technologies.