The Current Situation of Sustainable Packaging in the Taiwanese E-commerce Industry


The e-commerce industry in Taiwan is growing rapidly with the total revenue reaching 240 billion NTD in 2019, which can be assumed that over 120 million packaging boxes or bags were used in a year. The packaging waste caused serious environmental problems, and the situation has worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the change in consumers’ shopping preferences. Thus, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) came up with Online-shopping Packaging Reduction Guidelines; collaborated with large e-commerce platforms and PackAge+, a sustainable packaging company, hoping that a feasible business model can be found in EPA’s pilot programs. However, instead of forming persistent partnerships, the collaboration between PackAge+ and e-commerce platforms ended right after the pilot programs were over. Recognizing that revenue from providing reusable packaging is insufficient, plus, more and more companies are making efforts on sustainability acts, PackAge+ decided to open up “ESG services” that help companies to meet their sustainability goals. Moreover, CTBC (China Trust Commercial Bank) invested in PackAge+ so that they can fulfill their aspirations for sustainable finance. 

This study aims to illustrate the situation of sustainable packaging in Taiwan’s e-commerce industry under the discussion of governmental guidelines, sustainable investments, and the CSR reporting system. The concept of “plastic reduction” has been exercised through investments from big companies or banks, thus benefiting the third-party service providers while the cognition of reducing plastic waste has been gradually recognized by international organizations.

The research questions are 1) How e-commerce enterprises’ support and banks’ financial investment have influenced the operation of a sustainable packaging company, and 2) Why PackAge+ and the sustainability acts of reducing plastic are not mentioned in the CSR reports. 

Based on secondary data and interview results with different stakeholders, the findings are 1) PackAge+ benefits mostly from other companies’ investments through providing “ESG services”, rather than renting out reusable packaging. 2) The reason why sustainability acts of plastic reduction and the name of “PackAge+” were not mentioned in the CSR reports is that the measurement of plastic reduction is not mature enough, and the reporting system does not have decent standards that can give credit to plastic reduction. 

Pei-Tsz Sun

Research team: Value Chain Analysis