Production and consumption trends can have a direct impact on sustainable development and the environment. The European Commission’s Communication on Building the Single Market for Green Products intends to facilitate more sustainable consumption and production through a higher uptake of so-called green products and greener practices by companies in the EU market.
This Communication is a follow-up to the 2008 Sustainable Consumption & Production Action Plan and aims to increase market uptake of resource efficient products. It introduces the Product Environment Footprint (PEF), an EU harmonised methodology for measuring the environmental impact of products, and is accompanied by a Commission Recommendation that encourages Member States and the private sector to use this tool. It also includes a set of principles for communicating the environmental performance of products.
EUROPEN is contributing to the development of harmonised metrics in the EU and globally. In doing so, our aims are to allow for the optimisation of every kind of packaging material and packed product and to support continuous environmental improvement. EUROPEN played a key role in developing the Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability (GPPS), which enables the global packaging value chain to assess the relative sustainability of packaging, as part of the product, with one harmonised tool and common language.
It is important that packaging is not considered in isolation when assessing its environmental performance. A life-cycle approach is needed that takes into account the functions and role of packaging as well as the integrated packaging system. This comprises all stages of a packed product’s lifecycle, from responsible sourcing, processing, packaging, distribution, use-phase to the end-of-life stage. To develop a life-cycle approach to measuring the environmental performance of food and drink products, EUROPEN joined other food supply chain partners as a founding member of the European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production Round Table since packaging is considered to be part of the product and hence contributes towards its environmental performance. Through the Round Table, we have played a key role in coordinating the packaging sector’s contribution to the ENVIFOOD Protocol, a harmonised environmental assessment methodology for (packed) food and drink products.
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