IDP Direct Sustainable Packaging Kit Interview

IDP Direct Sustainable Packaging Kit Interview

sustainable packaging

We speak to Evelio Mattos, Creative Director at IDP Direct, and delve into the pioneering strategies of IDP Direct, a renowned manufacturer of retail packaging

We speak to Evelio Mattos, Creative Director at IDP Direct, and delve into the pioneering strategies of IDP Direct, a renowned manufacturer of retail packaging

What does sustainability mean to you?

This is the question IDP Direct has become famous for, by helping brands define sustainability for themselves. With over 30 years in manufacturing retail packaging in their own factories around the world, The 2024 IDP Direct sustainable packaging introduction kit seen at Paris Packaging Week starts with a debossed “IYKYK” (If You Know You Know).

So, let’s find out what they know.

Why IYKYK, doesn’t everyone already know what sustainability means?

Truth is, not really. Many packaging suppliers assume that everyone shares the same definition of sustainability. They don’t. So before you can begin discussing sustainable packaging with a brand, everyone has to agree on what sustainability means to them and to the brand. It’s the reason why we ask that question so often.

For example, at IDP Direct sustainability means going beyond minimizing environmental impact and our decision to measure our carbon impact following the GHG Protocol. Sustainability is an approach that combines innovations, responsibility, and education into every facet of our operations beginning with limiting measuring & managing our own carbon impact.

Second, for anyone who hasn’t worked with IDP Direct before, we own 4 factories that manufacture retail packaging. We own factories in Indonesia, China, and Romania, and opening a North American facility soon. Manufacturing everything from fabric packaging to boxes, bags, and e-commerce packaging for fashion brands at our factories.

The truth is, over the years we’ve manufactured packaging that spans the spectrum of sustainable to unsustainable. That’s a fact we can’t hide from nor do we want to. Learning is impossible without making mistakes.

It’s for this reason we share our learnings for free and provide free tools on our site to help anyone become more sustainable.

But how can manufacturing packaging be sustainable?

Internally at IDP Direct, our goal is to help retail brands reduce the amount of packaging their customers receive per transaction. Yes, we can make packaging more recyclable or use more post-consumer materials but at the end of the day if we’re manufacturing the same amount of packaging as you previously had, then we’re not really helping the situation as much as we can.

So, why say IYKYK? Well, the meaning behind “If You Know You Know”, is about the person at the brand receiving the IDP Direct sustainable packaging kit and helping them understand what sustainability can mean to them. It’s a wink to belong to the sustainable community aiming to make a difference in the world, we’re welcoming them into this world without gatekeeping information. We can’t help usher in change if we’re the only ones that know, we need everyone to know. Not just our clients but our competitors too.

The sustainability team at IDP Direct made a Free guide to help brands and agencies begin to design sustainable packaging on their own. It’s available here to download.

It’s 2024, do we really need another packaging manufacturer’s kit?

The IDP Direct packaging kit is a statement for our assembly line, our production men and women, our sales staff, and our sustainability managers of what we are capable of. Yes, we’re proud of the work we’ve done for luxury brands around the world by manufacturing their packaging, warehousing,, and even creating bespoke last-mile delivery systems, but we’ve rarely put ourselves first. S***, we named our factory Second Best for a reason!

Brands need to know that sustainability is more than 3 arrows on the bottom of a paper bag. Sustainability begins by planting your flag and plotting a science-backed course to improvement. We aim to be the most sustainable packaging manufacturer and we want to show brands a path to become Sustaina-Bosses themselves.

Does the retail packaging market need another kit? No. But this kit is an educational piece that shows how innovative structural engineering can reduce materials, how it can reduce fulfilment times, increase consumer experience, and be recyclable anywhere in the world.

The better question is, is there a problem a kit like this can answer? Yes.

By creating this kit featuring so many aspects of IDP Direct and our factory-direct model we eliminated the number of product samples that would get shipped out around the world.

These kits showcase everything from the paper handles we weave in-house to the custom FSC-certified corrugated board we make as well. The e-commerce outer box holds a user-first insert that’s easy to assemble and displays the inner boxes securely without being difficult to remove.

This kit shows how retail and e-commerce packaging can be designed to work together.

But if you aim to be the most sustainable packaging manufacturer, is making another kit sustainable?

That’s a question we asked ourselves before we decided that a kit like this was an important educational tool.

First, this kit replaces sending production samples that showcase what can be done in specific instances for a brand. This sustainable packaging kit eliminates the need to send multiple shipments of different sizes to highlight a single process or construction.

The sustainable packaging kit is both inspirational for structural and packaging designers as well as educational for packaging procurement teams to see how to manage costs with innovation. By consolidating these messages into one modular kit and minimizing shipments we’re able to reduce transportation emissions - a key component of Scope 3.

You mention GHG Protocols and Scope 3 emissions, how does this impact your approach to sustainability?

Being able to quantify our carbon footprint across all three scopes of emissions gives us a baseline on our environmental impact. What is more important though is being able to set a foundation for meaningful impact on what we choose to do and the decisions we make with our clients.

Having complete control and ownership of our factories we’re able to pinpoint where we can make the biggest impact with precision. Our clients also benefit from our science-backed approach because we’re not simply making claims because there’s factual data to prove it.

There’s value in knowing the people making your brand’s packaging are as committed to sustainability as you are.

Is IDP Direct a design agency or a manufacturer?

We live and breathe packaging.

Packaging is not about taking orders or designing, it’s about making connections with consumers and continuing to push the packaging industry further and further into the future. Our approach to packaging design isn’t what you get with most packaging manufacturers. We are a creative factory with years of experience behind us and a horizon of innovation ahead of us.

Besides collecting carbon inventory directly from our factories, our team is heavily involved in Artificial Intelligence and how to implement it safely into every aspect of packaging.

One of our key targets for 2024 is to help brands reduce the amount of packaging they need by eliminating excess packaging. We truly believe now is the time to get rid of packaging where it’s not serving a purpose to connect, communicate, or protect.

Our less is more approach can be seen in our “Design for Absence” initiative by pinpointing areas of reduction and efficiency. Less can be more, less packaging can mean more margin, personalized experience, carbon reduction, and more simply sustainable packaging.

We know that the most sustainable packaging is no packaging, it’s why our first factory was named Second Best.

To find out more about IDP Direct and its Sustainability Kit, head to their website.