ANALYSIS: New Packaging Guidelines

We can probably all agree that there is a much needed “common language” in order to discuss and assess the relative sustainability of packaging among the consumer goods and packaging industries.  We are happy to report some good news along these lines!

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) released its Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability (GPPS) recently. The 74-page guide on packaging sustainability not only aims to help companies reduce their carbon footprint but also serves as a step in the right direction to increase efficiency and effective communication by creating a common language that consists of a framework and a measurement system.  Another plus is that it was designed by a broad range stakeholders (retailers, brand owners, packaging suppliers, manufacturers) … versus a silo of industry professionals.  We are excited to see the results and if this will make it easier for a wide range of audiences to tackle a range of questions related to packaging sustainability while speaking the same language throughout the chain. 

Here are some more quick hits on the GPPS that might perk your ears:

  • Over 650 prominent companies from the packaging, retail, and consumer good sectors helped to form this set of agreed-upon definitions and metrics.  
  • Think of the metrics to be the words in this new common language, the guide to be the dictionary, and the framework the context that these words fit into.  
  • The indicators and metrics fall into three categories: Environmental, Economic, and Social.
  • There is not a set formula you have to adhere to in determining how many indicators or which indicators to use, which allows for flexibility in creating an accurate and useful picture of actual impacts as they relate to what you need to know … like the kind of questions you are asking and what your specific company goals are.

Like we said earlier this month, careers in sustainability today mean staying abreast of new changes … it’s really half the battle.  And as new standards and guidelines like this surface it’s important to make sure we are all continuing to speak the same language and inserting ourselves into valuable industry conversations and developments like this.  What are some of the new standards you have seen recently?  Do you think they have been helpful in defining a clear path forward? 

You can read more about the GPPS here or download it here.