Packaging offers a visible and tangible indication of our commitment to creating a sustainable ecosystem and moving towards a 100 percent elimination of single-use plastic is a major step and a significant milestone in the direction of sustainable practices.
An integral part of Flipkart Group — Myntra is a major fashion e-commerce company. Recently, in a path-breaking move, Myntra has eliminated 100 percent single-use plastic in packaging. In an exclusive interview with Paper Mart, Ms. Neetu Jotwani, Vice President-Product Development & Sourcing, Myntra, talks about the steps and measures taken in tandem with the company’s efforts to align its brand partners to adopt green packaging which has the lowest environmental impact.
Paper Mart: Please shed light on the innovative and sustainable packaging solutions by your company. How are you strategizing to boost their adoption across your supply chain?
Neetu Jotwani: Myntra’s sustainability journey has been marked by an orchestrated effort to create a positive environmental impact. With the goal of going 100 percent plastic-free with the packaging achieved, Myntra is set to leave a profound mark on the industry. One of our earlier key initiatives in this direction includes partnering with Canopy, a not-for-profit environmental organization, to ensure that the packaging used does not encourage deforestation by scaling packaging from recycled and alternative materials.
We place a strong emphasis on sustainable and responsible business practices by being emphatic in our mission of going plastic-free. Packaging offers a visible and tangible indication of our commitment to creating a sustainable ecosystem and moving towards a 100 percent elimination of single-use plastic is a major step in the direction of sustainable practices. As a leading player in the fashion, lifestyle and beauty space in the country, we have taken the lead in enabling our seller ecosystem to adopt sustainable packaging alternatives along with us, creating a positive environmental impact across the entire supply chain. In addition to its own supply chain, Myntra’s sellers have also adopted the green packaging defined by Myntra. This milestone is a significant outcome of the efforts initiated by the company towards aligning its seller partners and helping them with a transition path to gradually adopt sustainable packaging alternatives.
In an industry-first for any fashion and lifestyle e-commerce brand operating at scale in India, Myntra has introduced scalable and sustainable alternatives for packaging and delivery… This move has led to the diversion of 670 tonnes of plastic, as of September 2021.
PM: How do you view the impact of sustainable packaging and your contribution in this regard?
NJ: In an industry-first for any fashion and lifestyle e-commerce brand operating at scale in India, Myntra has introduced scalable and sustainable alternatives for packaging and delivery, such as replacing poly pouches with recycled paper bags, bubble wraps with carton waste shredded material and plastic adhesives tapes with paper tapes, polybags used for attaching customer invoices with a recycled Kraft paper pouch and RFID-tagged multi-use polyester bags, piloted for reverse shipments as packaging materials. This move has led to the diversion of 670 tonnes of plastic, as of September 2021. The pioneering innovations implemented in packaging that eliminate the use of plastic are also in compliance with national and state regulations.
This has been achieved as a result of the commitment of multiple in-house teams and their methodical approach, involving several months of suitable material and process exploration, and collaboration with several ecosystem stakeholders. They included brand partners and sellers in order to ensure that alternative processes and methods being adopted were adept at handling the scale and specific requirements of the e-commerce supply chain, in addition to being sturdy enough to handle different product categories.
Watch: Paper Mart News Roundup
PM: As customers are increasingly moving towards eco-friendly shopping experiences; how do you view paper packaging as a resource-efficient product with the lowest environmental impact?
NJ: In an initiative to enable customers with the choice to adopt and shop sustainable fashion and lifestyle, Myntra started a dedicated platform – ‘Myntra for Earth’ store. There are about 70 leading fashion and lifestyle brands to offer more than 5500 styles to customers on this sustainable store. The products ordered through this store are delivered in packets made from 100 percent recycled paper.
At Myntra, we believe that sustainability is the way forward. In our unwavering commitment and focus towards creating an environment-friendly future for the generations to come, we’ve implemented sustainable measures to reduce our carbon footprint, and offer conscious and sustainable fashion choices to our customers. Thus, our transition towards paper-based packaging has been a natural culmination of our efforts in adopting sustainable practices and lowering our environmental impact.
We have partnered with not-for-profit organization Canopy to source sustainable packaging. Through this partnership, we ensure that the packaging used does not encourage deforestation, by scaling packaging from recycled and alternative materials.
PM: How do you ensure the selection of the most scalable solutions with regard to sustainable packaging? In what ways do you facilitate the seamless adoption of sustainable packaging for the sellers at your platform?
NJ: In a bid to extend our commitment towards sustainability, we have partnered with not-for-profit organization Canopy to source sustainable packaging. Through this partnership, we ensure that the packaging used does not encourage deforestation, by scaling packaging from recycled and alternative materials. As signatories of Canopy’s Pack4Good (packaging) and CanopyStyle (fashion) initiatives, we will shift towards sustainable sourcing of forest-derived products and pilot alternative next-generation solutions to transition away from forests for raw materials. In the next three years, we will focus on exploring sourcing and designing reusable or refillable shipping boxes to reduce corrugated paper and paperboard and encouraging the use of recycled, reusable, and FSC-certified paper and packaging.
Further, to facilitate faster adoption of paper bags in the packaging value chain and to ensure that the sellers get them at a regulated price and optimal quality, we’ve equipped the seller portals to enable sellers to place orders directly for the bags. The journey towards achieving this milestone also included prototypes of the alternatives being tested for six months to choose the most scalable and affordable systems. We ensure that all fulfilment centres are equipped with the right technology and adequate infrastructure including machine customisation to carry out the goal of sustainable packaging in its entirety.
Another key initiative by Myntra along with the brand partners, includes, ‘Ecommerce-ready packaging’, which is a sustainable program aimed towards doing away with the need for a secondary layer of packaging in e-commerce shipments
PM: Functional packaging designs are a clever way to increase the value of any product and the overall customer experience. Tell us about your designs and the packaging material used for them.
NJ: We have recently pioneered a solution for adapting existing machines designed and built to run plastic bags only, to now process paper packaging. To ensure 100 percent adoption of the same, a unique QR code scanning was implemented for each bag to prevent any inadvertent use of plastic bags instead of paper bags. Bubble wraps, plastic cello tapes and poly covers have been replaced with shredded materials, paper tapes and paper covers and boxes respectively.
In this direction, another key initiative by Myntra along with the brand partners, includes, ‘Ecommerce-ready packaging’, which is a sustainable program aimed towards doing away with the need for a secondary layer of packaging in e-commerce shipments permanently and shipping products directly in primary packaging.