May might not quite mark the beginning of summer, but as the days approach their longest and lightest extent and a string of bank holidays encourages the nation to make the most of sunny days off, there is no doubt that people will be enjoying themselves when they can.
Part of the uplifting mood will come from the Coronation, of course, except for those who consider the monarchy something to be protested against. But for King Charles, the style of the event will be significant.
Sustainability is a big issue for the king. His long-standing interest in environmental matters and organic farming is well-known and this is set to be reflected in a truly sustainable coronation. He will be wearing recycled robes worn by his royal ancestors, invitations to the ceremony have been printed on recycled card and historic chairs are being re-used instead of new ones being made.
Indeed, even the oil with which he will be anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury will be ‘cruelty-free’.
The question is; can branded food packaging be similarly sustainable for the occasion? Many firms have responded with their own themed packaging for the coronation. For instance, ASDA has produced a range of party foods for the coronation (mostly ‘King sized’, of course), with “limited edition beefeater-themed packaging”.
Clearly it would be a problem for any food producer or retailer if, amid all the talk of sustainability, its coronation-themed packaging turned out to be non-recyclable. Of course, many have committed to achieving this level of sustainability, with Asda’s own pledge being to meet the goal by 2025.
However, the coronation is just the first of many major events that will shape the coming months. The sporting summer will see a lot of teams and individuals doing the less than entirely environmentally friendly thing of flying a very long way to compete here.
That might not apply to the Irish cricket team, coming across the sea for a Test match and one-day internationals against England, although it will for their opponents when they play three matches against Bangladesh. It will be even more so for both the Australian men’s and women’s teams, who will be contesting their respective Ashes series.
To this can be added the tennis stars coming over from across the globe for the grass court season climaxing with Wimbledon, and while all these sport stars are jetting around, there will be loads of food and beverages being packaged and marketed with themes linked to these sporting events.
It is, of course, very tempting for firms to troll the Australians by using recycled sandpaper for any Ashes-themed items, but there is also an important message, not least as research has shown cricket is the sport most at risk from climate change, being notoriously unplayable during inclement weather.
So as the summer begins with coronation parties and hopefully progresses with nice weather for barbecues, tennis and cricket, it is to be hoped that the sustainability message provided by the newly-crowned monarch resonates and ensures more food producers take up the challenge of producing eco-friendly branded packaging.