More Packaging Sustainability Guidelines?
Recently the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) issued new guidance for businesses to report their sustainability credentials http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/economy/products-consumers/green-claims-labels/. DEFRA is a government department in the UK which makes policy and legislation and works with others to deliver these policies in areas such as:
- the natural environment, biodiversity, plants and animals
- sustainable development and the green economy
- environmental protection and pollution control
Sustainability is the key global packaging focus of this British initiative which adds to the growing group of guidelines issued by governmental agencies, trade organizations, including the ASC, and independent certifying bodies to help companies navigate the sustainability environment by using correct marketing claims, practices and definitions that avoid product ‘greenwashing’.
Other prominent packaging guidelines around sustainability marketing claims have been issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/energy/about_guides.shtml (currently being revised and updated) and The Consumer Goods Forum-Global Packaging Project - The Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability 2.0 (GPPS 2.0) http://globalpackaging.mycgforum.com/. You will note I mentioned the FTC Green Guides are being revised. If you want to see how others feel revisions should be incorporated and have a free Sunday afternoon to read them here is the link to all 340 public comments http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/greenguiderevisions/index.shtm.
Independent certifiers include UL Environment www.ulenvironment.com and a host of others. So, with all this information to sort through, what is the take-away?
- Review the guidelines mentioned above. Each one puts a slightly different emphasis on the topic. Taken collectively one cannot go wrong when the principles discussed are incorporated into your product and its associated marketing campaign.
- Recognize that there is a lot of good guidance available for one to make and market a sustainable package. Use these guidelines to develop new compliant packaging and to review current packaging for compliance.
- Do not work in the dark. Follow the guidelines. They make sense and will give your offering credibility in both the consumer’s eye and the marketplace.