104 participants

32 countries

7 teams

Held over a two-week period from 24 May – 4 June 2021, the Sustainable Packaging Design Challenge was hosted by WDO in collaboration with the World Packaging Organisation. With specific focus on SDG 9, SDG 12 and SDG 17, this online initiative brought together over 104 participants from 32 countries to rethink and redesign sustainable packaging.

Watch this interview led by Packaging Europe’s Tim Sykes gets the inside story from the WPO’s Pierre Pienaar and WDO’s Srini Srinivasan about how this design challenge came to be.


Packaging is an indispensable part of everyday life. It helps to keep a variety of consumer goods safe and intact and exists at almost every level of product design, development, production and transport. While the last several decades have seen remarkable progress in the areas of packaging materials, technology and user-centred design, the industry continues to take important strides to ensure sustainable and resource efficient outcomes.


As the demand for sustainable packaging increases around the world, this design challenge aimed to share new knowledge and insight into industry norms for packaging design and production, while also identifying sustainable packaging solutions to safeguard the future health of our communities and planet.

Challenge Statements

Focusing on solutions that are food-safe, easy to use and with a low environmental footprint, challenge organizers narrowed in on seven challenge statements. Hover on the images to discover how we aimed to explore new intersections between packaging and different disciplines to encourage more sustainable outcomes.

How can we design sustainable packaging solutions for e-commerce?

How can we redesign packaging that reduces consumer food waste?

How can we develop sustainable solutions to food service delivery packages to reduce packaging waste in particular with online food ordering and delivery platforms, as well as meal kit providers?

How do we design sustainable packaging for healthy and on-the-go lifestyles?

How can we improve packaging sustainability in communities where no collection systems are in place?

How can we develop packaging that is child-proof but easy to open for the elderly and those with physical vulnerabilities?

How can we change/engage consumer behaviour to help increase sustainable habits such as recycling, reusing, upcycling, composting and reducing food waste?


In alignment with the provided challenge statements, outcomes of this initiative included eco-friendly e-commerce business models, behaviour-focused apps, innovative labelling concepts, creative packaging systems for consumer goods and sustainable, end-of-life material solutions. Through larger discussion and collaboration between packaging experts, design students and professionals, this initiative has challenged and inspired the design community to experiment with new forms of packaging and engage in more sustainable practices.

To learn more about the 7 solutions presented as part of the Sustainable Packaging Design Challenge, download our report. 

“Now, more than ever, as we work to decrease our global waste streams and protect our environment, it is imperative that we invest and support innovation in the packaging sector and ensure that all designers understand both its potential impact and benefits.”

“We see design as one of the key pillars in the development of successful, sustainable and acceptable packaging. Designs of the future must be in accordance with the circular economy of packaging and must always strive to reduce the demand on our global natural resources.”

“It was great working in a team with people of different cultures, backgrounds and skills towards something that concerns us all, protecting our planet.”