It’s not enough just to make a holiday list. After trekking through stores or navigating online shopping portals, gift givers have to figure out one more important step – how they are actually going to deliver each gift to loved ones on their list.
That is where packaging companies come in. Alpharetta-based Mativ is one of the giants in the space, as the manufacturing company engineers some of the most unique speciality paper products out there.
One big trend Mativ is noticing right now? Consumers and businesses alike want more sustainable packaging options.
As Mativ prepares to make this holiday season a bit greener through more sustainable packaging options, we had a chance to have a Q&A with Carl Asher, General Manager for Packaging & Sustainable Solutions (Neenah Paper & Packaging, a Mativ brand). Asher walked us through what makes this Alpharetta company unique in the market, how they’ve built up their product lines, and what is driving the sustainability trend. Here are his thoughts:
Question: Can you take us back to the founding of Mativ. What is the motivation behind the business?
Answer: Mativ, based in Alpharetta, GA, is a global leader in specialty materials. A young company with a rich legacy, Mativ was formed in July 2022 as the result of the successful merger of equals between SWM International and Neenah, Inc. Our specialty materials can be found in many of the products you use every day, from the air filter in your car to a holiday greeting card.
In terms of sustainable packaging, Mativ has rich heritage in paper making and natural fibers, which we inherited from both legacy businesses. Back in the 1990s, Neenah Paper & Packaging was the first brand to launch a premium 100% post-consumer waste printing paper.
Q: When it comes to sustainable packaging, what do you think is driving the move on the consumer side?
A: At Neenah Paper & Packaging, we are seeing younger generations of consumers adding urgency and relevancy to climate change conversations and the importance of sustainability. They are figuratively, and literally, putting their money where their mouths are and holding the brands they engage with accountable.
We also can’t deny the impact of legislation. European legislation has led to companies making drastic changes to their raw material supply chain and disposal. As a result, the European brands we engage with have strong sustainability platforms.
In the U.S., the increasing importance of corporate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is being driven by consumers and investors who are signaling they only want to involve themselves with companies that ‘do-good.’ Sustainability is a core tenant of EHS.
Finally, I also think some brands are seeing smaller competitors be able to capture more market share by leading with a sustainability message.
Q: How do you work with brands when it comes to packaging options? Can you give us some examples?
A: At Mativ, our purpose is to help our customers solve their complex challenges by finding the potential in the impossible. To do that, we take a consultative, solution-oriented approach to every project with our customers. Some brands know what they want; others are looking for ideas. We go into every opportunity by first asking, “what is your goal?” Then we unearth the “why” behind their goal.
What is great about our Neenah portfolio is we can help brands distinguish themselves across a wide variety of substrates where we are the market leader, specializing in custom colors and textures and offering a total solution across all paper and packaging-based marketing materials. Recently, we helped a global brand on a product launch where our paper replaced a significant amount of the plastic they typically used in their packaging, while still upholding the packaging’s aesthetic beauty as well as functional and structural integrity.
For brands that want to extend their experience when shipping products via eCommerce, our Neenah Environment® Mailer is a great example of how we can marry consumer friendly packaging with sustainability. The Environment Mailer is puncture and water resistant, easy to seal, and simple for end consumers to open while also being curbside recyclable and made from 50% post-consumer waste.
A great place for brands to be inspired and explore what’s possible for their sustainable packaging needs is our website, The Idea Shop, which is an online community for designers to exchange ideas across industries and features real world examples.