Retailers, manufacturers join forces to drive change in sustainable packaging

February 1, 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 common definitions and principles for packaging in the framework of sustainability. This common language will support a global discourse on packaging in the context of environmental, economic, and social impacts.

An assembly of The Consumer Goods Forum’s (The Forum) Global Packaging Project (GPP) met in Toronto, Canada on Jan. 19–20, 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, Sustainability, Research, Development & Quality, 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.”

Collectively, there was recognition that inconsistent measures between different players 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 and deliverables in November 2010.

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. The metrics to be tested are adapted from those developed and recently released by the U.S. Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC).

The Global Packaging Project of the Consumer Goods Forum is jointly chaired by Roger Zellner, Kraft Foods and Sonia Raja, Tesco. Participating companies include a wide range of retailers and consumer goods manufacturers. The GPP is supported by packaging manufacturers, industry, and trade associations from Europe and North America and a number of academic institutions.

Press release (pdf)