Retail in Asia


Meet the company creating a green fix for luxury brands

Working with brands such as Matches Fashion, Net-a-Porter, Tom Ford, Zimmermann, and Coach, Delta Global is the creator of bespoke, sustainable packaging solutions for a number of luxury retail brands around the world. 

SEE ALSO: Exclusive: L’Oréal’s sustainability play in North Asia 

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, the packaging company plans to drive its regional expansion efforts from Hong Kong and into the Greater Bay Area as well as the rest of Asia-Pacific in 2023. 

In advocating greener packing solutions, Delta Global reports the use of Forest Stewardship Council or FSC-certified materials increased 36 percent in the last year, while demand for plastic packaging dropped by 50 percent in the same period of time. 

Here, Retail in Asia speaks with Robert Lockyer, founder and chief client officer of Delta Global, on creating his company and the way forward in Asia.

Robert Lockyer, founder and chief client officer of Delta Global. Source: Delta Global
RiA: Tell us about Delta Global. 

Lockyer: We focus on real client collaboration. That means getting under the skin of the brand, and understanding what the brand is about. 

Outside looking in, we sell carrier bags and boxes. From the inside looking out, we are a creative agency producing amazing designs and visions of what the customer experience could be, through the medium of sustainable packaging. 

RiA: What do you think sets your business apart?

Lockyer: Our headcount in creative is 21 percent of our business, and we see that as one of the crucial differences of what we are doing. When it comes to designing bags and boxes, we design end to end. 

Our aim is to produce less packaging, for more clients. Because we are privately owned, we can make more decisive, innovative decisions very quickly. 

Everything we do leads with sustainability. Any meeting that we have, sustainability is not on the agenda, it is the agenda. Sustainability covers so many different aspects and it is not just about having the right kind of paper or board, eradicating plastic… It’s about understanding that journey of what is happening to a product. 

For us it is also making sure we have the right product, in the right size, in the right quantity, in the right place particularly for global clients.

Source: Delta Global
RiA: How would you describe taking luxury clients through this journey of sustainability?

Lockyer: Very often, how we start working with brands is we keep showing them ideas, which is intrinsic to what we do. Every project is led by sustainability. 

Everyone is talking about [sustainability] right now because they think they should be. But how deep do they really want to go? You have to be honest about it. We’ve run towards convenience for the last 20-odd years, and now we are in a situation where we want to dial it back. 

Convenience stores, for example, today you buy everything in plastic bags. We used to deliver milk in glass bottles that would then be left out [for collection] the next day. So sustainability is not new. We just need to pause and re-centre. 

I tell the brands we work with: Sustainability is not a destination. It is a journey, and it will keep evolving. We can do things in stages, and communicate how we are doing things to customers. 

RiA: What are your thoughts on eradicating plastic? 
Source: Delta Global

Lockyer: Year on year we have reduced the revenue stream that we take through plastic. We’ve looked at alternatives, and we are still not convinced by all of [the alternatives], but we finished our last financial year with a reduction of 50 percent in plastic revenue. It now accounts for less than .5 percent of our revenue. We aim to reduce that by another 50 percent, but that is part of our journey and our clients’ journey. 

RiA: What other businesses are exciting to you?

Lockyer: One of the areas I am keen on is the resale or pre-loved market, and that’s because it is a journey of circularity. Ultimate sustainability is to stop consumption, but you cannot stop consumption because that is how the world rotates. But there are better ways to do it. 

RiA: Can you share any examples of innovating packaging? How do you ensure the customer experience is not compromised?

Lockyer: There are [customer] touch points everywhere that can make a difference – we just need to think about things more creatively. 

For example, looking at one design [that we did for] luxury childrenswear packaging, we printed not on the outside of the box but on the inside. Looking at the end of life [of the box], one could take it apart, colour the box in, and make it educational, which makes it much more relevant. Ultimately, sustainability needs to start all the way down to pre-school. 

SEE ALSO: Resale on the rise globally, says new ThredUp report

In general, how we deliver the experience of luxury is to make sure the design and the messaging is there, perfect the measurements, and avoid secondary marketing. It’s about simplicity, but beautifully done. At the end of the day, the customer is interested in the product they’ve purchased, and our job is to make sure that the vessel that is carrying that is engineered in a way that it arrives in pristine condition, while limiting the material.