Create a social media post to communicate complex sustainability science into a relevant and easy to understand message for time pressed parents
Pampers is the biggest brand of baby diapers globally. Pampers purpose is to provide happy healthy development for babies whilst being an uplifting ally for parents in the first couple of years of babies’ lives. Pampers diapers are widely regarded to provide many superior benefits to parents and baby such as absorbency, leakage protection, skin protection, freedom of movement and so on.
However, all disposable diapers (including Pampers) come with an environmental cost. They create a lot of waste which ends up in landfill. Most of the environmental impact comes from the raw materials used in production of the diapers and much of the diapers’ weight is made of plastic polymers which don’t biodegrade easily and don’t get recycled. (Explainer: What is a polymer? (cosmosmagazine.com).
It is important to note that while raw materials (i.e. the products that go into the making of the diapers) contribute to approximately two thirds of the environmental impact of diapers, parents don’t see this, and their focus is on their own disposal of the product once it’s been used, and as such, “waste” is their biggest eco concern.
The below visual shows the environmental impact of a diaper throughout its lifecycle:
The fact that disposable diapers must be thrown away after one use means that they will always have a negative environmental impact. Whilst some diapers brands have launched diapers that claim to be “natural” or “organic” the reality is that do little to reduce their environmental impact, even though parents often believe that they do.
Day-to-day, parents face a trade-off between the convenience and performance of disposable diapers and environmental sustainability. Whilst parents want to do better for the environment, they also have a very practical need to use some form of diaper until their baby is potty trained.
To address this problem, Pampers have made a lot of changes to minimize its environmental impact in two directions 1) carbon reduction and 2) waste reduction.
Pampers efforts in the last 5 years include:
- Reduction of raw materials production greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by one million metric tons, equivalent to 215,000 petrol cars on the road for a full year
- Pampers is on average 50% thinner than competition and old Pampers (reducing the overall waste as demonstrated in next point) and uses a high compression packaging technique to reduce both the packaging materials and the required trucks for transportation across the supply chain.
- Babies use up to 5,500 diapers until they’re potty trained, amounting to over 150kg of diapers per baby in Europe. If that baby wears Pampers, he or she will now use about 20kg less diaper raw materials on average compared to 2016. Translating to 750 less diapers going to the bin compared to their five-year-old brother or sister!
Note: thinness in general is polarizing for Parents (liked by some, and disliked by others) because although it helps reduce the ecological impact of the diaper, and also helps benefits the overall fit including less bulk between the legs and less sagging (which are all appreciated by parents), it also has the drawback of being linked (wrongly) to less absorbency.
This means a message of reassurance on the absorbency / leakage / overnight dryness / skin protection is often required when highlighting thinness as a positive product feature.
Pampers do not want the improvements listed above to go unnoticed. It is something parents want to know so they can make informed choices about the diapers they buy, and it provides Pampers with a unique product giving them a competitive edge over other diaper brands.
Pampers have produced the below visual previously, but
- It does not present a message that is clear enough for consumers to easily understand
- It isn’t clear how the reduction has been achieved
- It does not give enough reassurance that they get the same superior performance that they expect from Pampers.
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