BfG News Issue 3 - Expert View: Sustainable Packaging Strategies

03 Jul 2007|Added Value

Each month News invites one of our experts to give us their view on a topical issue. This month, we asked Charlotte Henderson, Retailer Initiative Manager for WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) her view on the areas to consider when building-in sustainable packaging to an ethical marketing plan:

Packaging optimisation and minimisation are areas rich in opportunity for the improvement of a brand’s ethical credibility, profitability and environmental performance. Over 6 million tonnes of packaging are thrown away by UK homes each year, and WRAP’s work on the Courtauld Commitment is proving a powerful vehicle for change. This agreement ,between WRAP and major grocery organisations, is to initiate new packaging solutions and technologies so that less rubbish ends up in the household bin.  It pledges to stop packaging waste growth by 2008 and deliver waste reductions by 2010 in addition to identifying ways to reduce the food waste we throw away each year.

Twenty five major grocery organisations have joined the Courtauld Commitment, including all the major UK grocery retailers plus thirteen major brands, such as Cadbury Schweppes, Coca-Cola, Duchy Originals and Dairy Crest.  WRAP works in partnership with retailers, brand owners, manufacturers and their packaging suppliers to develop innovative packaging solutions across the whole supply chain.  Co-operation, understanding and collaboration are key areas that need to be considered when setting off on a sustainability strategy because changes must be inclusive if they are to have ethical credibility. Change will not be effective if it ignores the needs of links in the retail chain.

We encourage brand owners and manufacturers to explore areas such as materials, pack design and function, and distribution methods, as means of reducing packaging, while ensuring that product integrity is maintained. Our teams of experts in construction, retail, manufacturing, organics, business growth, behavioural change, and local authority, support advise on issues such as market development, recycling and materials resource efficiency- providing a valuable source of knowledge and experience for businesses to tap into, when reviewing packaging sustainability strategies.

WRAP has setup a number of initiatives to encourage businesses to move forward with their ambitions to make packaging more sustainable.  One example is The Guide to Evolving Packaging, which provides clear and consistent guidance for industry, so that it can respond quickly and effectively to consumer demands for change.  Another useful tool available is Best in Class which is a WRAP database that allows brand owners, manufacturers, and retailers to compare data on packaging weights. It gives an indication of the lightest weight packaging that is used for food and drink products found on the UK supermarket shelf – a useful benchmarking tool that helps drive efficiency and give direction to packaging development.

To find out more about how WRAP can help make sustainable packaging part of your ethical marketing plan, visit

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