Navico’s journey towards 100% sustainable packaging began around mid-way through 2019. Jemma Traill, Navico’s Senior Graphic Design Lead in Auckland, has been a key member of the packaging team since its inception and described how the journey began when Knut Frotstad, CEO of Navico, visited Auckland last year:
“We already knew that sustainability was one of our three pillars and a core part of Navico’s strategy, but following Knut’s visit, we had a clear idea that packaging would play a key role too. We got to work immediately!”
What followed was a sustainable packaging journey and a dedicated team set up to develop new packaging that had a premium finish, a great customer experience, and most importantly, was sustainable. At the same time, it had to be cost effective.
The process to transform our packaging involved concepts, design, testing, as well as site visits to our suppliers in Mexico and product sourcing.
“The project involved a large team of us that met weekly. We developed concepts and we ran workshops to explore the various options. The biggest challenge was ticking all the boxes without blowing costs to prohibitive levels” said Jemma. “Premium, FSC certified, eco-friendly printed solutions are fantastic, but some of them can be expensive!”
At this point towards the end of 2019, the next major MFD/display release was due to be the B&G Nemesis and the Lowrance Elite FS. They were still a year away from release though, so the team focussed on some quick-wins:
“We focussed on high volume accessories such as cables and sun covers” said Jemma. “We actually saved money on some of these in the end, moving from plastic clamshell systems, to 100% recyclable E kraft cardboard, FSC certified paper and chipboard box.”
Environmental savings through our accessories alone was significant. For Navico’s latest VHF Radio systems it’s estimated that 115kg of plastic will be saved every year, including 23,385 plastic bags (removed from hardware kits, documents and wrapping the devices). The packaging for this is 99% recyclable.
Next, the team turned to some of the major upcoming product releases, including B&G’s Nemesis and Lowrance’s Elite FS, as well as the new ActiveTarget sonar.
Significantly, packaging designs for these products would all contain zero plastic packaging. The team opted for a combination of moulded pulp, recyclable Ekraft cardboard, mushroom packaging, hydropol bags and FSC certified paper. Hydropol bags protect the delicate elements of the MFD and fully dissolve in water. The results are amazing!
It is estimated that Elite FS alone will save nearly 1,500kg of plastic every year as nearly 300,000 plastic bags have been replaced, 45,000 foams replaced with mushroom nest, and Instapak replaced with moulded pulp.
B&G’s Nemesis is slightly different to Elite FS (being predominantly a B2B product.) Therefore, the packaging solution was different. It is made up of an E kraft box with a label on top (eco-friendly), as well as biodegradable ink and paper (FSC certified.)
The projected environmental savings for Nemesis includes 32kg of plastic every year and 4,000 single use plastic bags (removed from hardware kits and documents).
Whilst the progress in 2020 has been excellent, the goal is to eradicate plastic packaging from Navico’s entire product portfolio. For any new Navico product, there is a now an official packaging roadmap that all new products will go through that defines the type of sustainable packaging they have.
“I’m so proud of the work we’ve done as a team. The roadmap is essentially a flow diagram that categorises our product and then allocates it the most suitable type of sustainable packaging” said Jemma.
She continued: “It’s all based on our research and takes into account whether the product is an individual product or kit, the channel the product will be sold, whether it has a screen and whether it’s an OEM part. All of these things matter hugely in defining the type of packaging. Critically, all future packaging will be sustainable, and that’s very exciting.”