Written by Sarah Roomi
A Whole Systems Approach to Packaging Sustainability.
Amanda Galusha worked for Lush Cosmetics for 13 years with their sustainability team up until August of 2020. She started her Consultancy at Goldfin Consulting Inc - Energy and Resource Management last year.
Defining “Wicked” Problems
The term “wicked” is often used to describe issues with particularly incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements. Complex interdependencies, difficulties in defining the problems themselves, and difficulty in identifying - and often in reaching consensus on - solutions all contribute to wickedness.
Source: Turnpenney, Lorezoni, and Jones, 2009: 347.
Some wicked problems that we currently face as a society include the following:
Galusha also showed an example of a “wicked” problem at home: Sam Smith Park in South Etobicoke where a bunch of waste materials like styrofoam, gloves, water bottles, plastic rope, food packaging straws, cans, plastic flossers and black plastics were found in the lake. It is also home to many plants and animals of all sorts including fish, turtles, ducks, and algae. Waterbirds rely on lakes for food, water, and a place to live.
What Can You Do?
Use renewable materials
Design for distribution
Design for recyclability
Avoid glue and laminates
Prioritize freshness/limit waste
Select mono materials
Galusha talks about a sustainable innovation taken by her previous employer where shampoo bars holders were designed using sustainable cork! To hold Lush’s “naked” shampoo bars. These shampoo bars are certified carbon neutral.
Lush has planted more than 20,000 native trees in Portugal in the first year of the production of its Cork Pots
The carbon sequestration is achieved through the growth of the cork oak trees, the bark of which is harvested for the raw materials of the pots.
Adaptive Processes - Action Over Perfection
Galusha says “if i can talk to my younger self, I’d say get comfortable with failing. This applies to any type of work especially sustainability” She further added “the solutions are complex, the problems are complex, and we really need to try things to see how they work! In the trying and in the measuring of the performance of that is really where we're going to find those solutions that are most effective in complex systems”
Get comfortable with failing
Effective/collaboration with stakeholders
Measure performance and work to improve
Sustainability Integration As The Goal
Galusha finished her seminar highlighting the importance of integrated sustainability, sustainability teams within an organization should be doing everything they can to work themselves out of the job and make sustainability part of what every single person is doing within an organization.