Sustainable packaging definitions and principles agreed

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sustainability Sustainable packaging

Global leaders across the packaging, food manufacturing and retail sectors have approved a set of common definitions and principles for sustainable packaging.

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) announced the measures as part of its ongoing effort to drive global change in packing. The body said the breakthrough in establishing a “common language”​ would help a global debate on “packaging in the context of environmental, economic and social impacts”.

The agreement was reached at an assembly of the organisation’s Global Packaging Project (GPP) last week in Toronto, Canada, which also outlined final terms for the launch of a raft of pilot projects.

The group highlighted the need for consistency among the packaged goods supply chain. Inconsistent measures “risked leading to unnecessary complexity, added cost and suboptimal environmental, economic and social results”,​ said a GCC statement.

“Sustainability is a shared responsibility,”​ said Roger Zellner, GPP Co-Chair and director, sustainability, research, development & quality of Kraft Foods “By creating a common language and identifying shared global industry metrics this initiative will enable manufacturers and retailers to work together to develop packaging solutions to help achieve agreed sustainability goals.”

Definitions and principles

The definitions and principles adopted by the GPP reflect the guidelines on packaging and sustainability produced by ECR Europe and Europen, the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment – which can be viewed via the following link

Europen managing director Julian Carroll told “This is a groundbreaking development and demonstrates the packaging value chain is catching up with globalisation on environmental issues. This will help give a framework for dialogue with global regulators and represents a proactive approach from the industry.”

The metrics to be tested are adapted from those developed and recently released by the US Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) – and can be read via the following link

Pilot projects

The next phase of the project will be to test and approve the agreed indicators and metrics in business situations over the next six months, with a final report scheduled to be delivered in November 2010.

"The Global Packaging Project started because retailers and manufacturers wanted a consistent approach to packaging of consumer goods,"​ said Sonia Raja, GPP co-chair and head of packaging, Tesco. "We need to find a common way of measuring environmental and sustainability improvements on packaging that can be used across the world."

GPP members include Tetra Pak, Crown Europe, O-I and Sealed Air from the packaging sector, as well as Wal-Mart, Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Unilever.

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