Plastic pollution and consumers’ environmental awareness have been driving businesses to adopt new strategies to safely deliver their products. However, capturing the sustainability and circularity credentials of packaging is still a challenge, and existing methodologies are limited in scope.
What is a sustainable packaging? How to ensure that all sustainability and circularity aspects are covered in a packaging analysis? Is it feasible to go beyond current assessment boundaries and create an all-encompassing framework? These are the questions that gathered members across the value chain around a common need: a holistic environmental assessment for their packaging.
Around 40% of the plastic produced globally is used for packaging applications. It is clear today that packaging value chains linear strategies entail significant economic and environmental drawbacks. However, a lack of common understanding about how to assess plastic packaging alternatives prevents the wide adoption and scale-up of circular and sustainable solutions.
Plastic packaging capital cost generated by its negative impact on the environment has been valued conservatively by UNEP at USD $40 billion. This figure will enormously grow if our current trajectory does not reverse. A widely accepted overarching framework for packaging environmental assessment is crucial to shape the future of circular and sustainable packaging and drive business long-term value creation.
Developing a standardized framework combining circularity and sustainability considerations will allow businesses to speak a common language across the value chain, ensuring credibility and comparability of outcomes. It will support companies’ objective decision-making process for packaging material or delivery system, in line with their sustainability strategy.