Retailers and manufacturers work toward sustainable packaging solutions

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 29th January 2010

In an ongoing effort to drive global change in packaging, leaders from many of the world’s largest consumer goods companies and major retailers have approved a suggested set of principles for sustainable packaging.

An assembly of The Consumer Goods Forum’s (The Forum) Global Packaging Project (GPP) met in Toronto Canada on January 19th – 20th to establish a common industry language for packaging and sustainability and to outline final terms for the launch of pilot projects.

“Sustainability is a shared responsibility,” said Roger Zellner, GPP Co-Chair and Director of Sustainability, Research, Development & Quality at 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.”

“The Global Packaging Project started because retailers and manufacturers wanted a consistent approach to packaging of consumer goods,” added Sonia Raja, GPP Co-Chair and Head of Packaging at UK-based retailer Tesco. “We need to find a common way of measuring environmental and sustainability improvements on packaging that can be used across the world.”

Collectively there was recognition that inconsistent measures between different actors in the packaged goods supply chain intended to improve packaging’s contribution to sustainable development risked leading to unnecessary complexity, added cost and suboptimal environmental, economic and social results.

The next phase of the project is to validate the output of the project; the principles for packaging and sustainability and a set of agreed indicators and metrics, within real business situations. Pilots will take place over a six-month testing stage.

The Forum is targeting approval of the final report in November 2010.