Green Paper on packaging and sustainability

A Green Paper resulting from a broad stakeholder consultation on the topic of Packaging and Sustainability has been published today by EUROPEN (The European Organization for Packaging and the Environment). The paper concludes that packaging should be seen as part of the solution in achieving a resource efficient society. In an open dialogue between stakeholders on packaging’s role in society, the industry body sought opinions on the goals the packaging value chain should seek to achieve. Representatives of environmental NGO’s, the European Commission, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, retailers and retailer trade associations and EUROPEN’s corporate members were among stakeholders involved in shaping and endorsing the contents of the Green Paper. Participants recognised the essential contribution to sustainable production and consumption that packaging makes by helping reduce product waste and protect resources while acknowledging that packaging consumes resources along all the stages of the supply chain. The Green Paper examines core questions about the place that packaging plays in the drive towards sustainable production and consumption and offers insightful perspectives to the varied questions that must be asked in order to obtain an “optimum packaging design” for a product, with the lowest possible environmental impact. In the process of developing the paper, participants considered seven key questions surrounding the subject of material selection, packaging design, consumer choice, transport, end-of-life, communication along the value chain and innovative business models. A broad consensus was reached on the role of packaging in ensuring health and safety of food products as a precondition and in preventing food waste and product loss. In particular, stakeholders recognised the need for the packaging value chain to adapt to demographic and lifestyle changes by developing strategies to help various market segments. For instance, there was broad support of the need for smaller portion sizes if a decrease in food waste is to be achieved. EUROPEN’s Managing Director Julian Carroll said “the Green Paper, which brought together the opinions of broad sectors of society, not just industry, will serve EUROPEN and hopefully other stakeholders as a reference point in further discussions about Packaging and Sustainability. Packaging is part of the solution, not part of a problem, in achieving a resource efficient society, and this paper will support us to deliver that message to consumers, policy makers and key opinion formers.”
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