Packaging Professionals Rank Sustainability Legislation as Top Concern

Sustainability legislation is the most challenging issue facing the packaging industry today, followed closely by the cost of raw materials, according to a survey of senior industry leaders carried out at this month’s Sustainability in Packaging Europe 2022 conference.

The poll, conducted by packaging sustainability consultancy Aura, found that 95% view keeping up with fast-evolving legislation as their primary concern. The survey of senior packaging specialists at global brands also highlighted that 70% of them don’t yet believe their business is aligned to current and upcoming packaging legislation.

The concerns come as proposed revisions to the EU’s packaging and packaging waste directive are due to be announced later this month, and the UK’s extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations will be enforced starting January 1, 2023. Under EPR, producers are responsible for financial costs, or the physical treatment or disposal of post-consumer waste.

Greg Lawson, managing director at Aura, said: “Brands’ concerns over packaging legislation are justified. Not only are there new compliance standards being introduced across different categories on a regular basis, but significant UK, EU and US regulations are set to roll out over the next few years that will have a big impact on brands and retailers doing business in those markets. Add in the fact that there’s still very little global legislative standardization in terms of what materials are recycled and how, brands operating across territories face an uphill struggle to make their packaging strategies sustainable and cost-effective.”

The industry experts were also asked what changes they would like to see to improve data collection and analysis or packaging sustainability. Responses included greater simplicity and accuracy, as well as ‘harmonized definitions,’ ‘end to end data compatibility’ and ‘managing in real time.’

Lawson concludes: “The key to handling the shifting sands of legislation has to be data. Brands need access to real-time technical and sustainability packaging data to enable them track progress against their current targets and future roadmaps. An important benefit of data transparency is the capacity to identify emerging regional and global trends that will underpin their longer-term strategic approach.”

About Aura:

Aura combines consultancy, strategy, and technology to deliver best-in- class, sustainable packaging solutions. Their technology solution, e-halo, powers solutions with clear and transparent structural packaging and sustainability data, helping clients optimize packaging, manage compliance and tax liabilities – and reduce environmental impact.

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