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Forum aims for standardized language, metrics in sustainable packaging

The Consumer Goods Forum's Global Packaging Project (GPP) met in Toronto Jan. 19-20 to establish a common industry language for packaging and sustainability and to outline final terms for the launch of pilot projects, with a final report coming in November 2010. The forum is made up of 650 retailers, manufacturers, and service providers, as well as other stakeholders across 70 countries. The GPP effort drew leaders from consumer goods giants like Kraft Foods and retailers like Tesco, among others.

Roger Zellner, GPP co-chair and director of sustainability, research, development, and quality at Kraft said, "By creating a common language and identifying shared global industry metrics, this initiative will enable manufacturers and retailers to work together to develop packaging solutions to help achieve agreed sustainability goals."

Participating parties said there was recognition that inconsistent measures along the packaged goods supply chain that are intended to improve packaging sustainability risked leading to "unnecessary complexity, added cost, and suboptimal environmental, economic, and social results."

The next phase of the project is to validate the packaging/sustainability principles and agreed set of indicators and metrics within real business situations. Pilots will take place over a six-month testing stage, with the Forum targeting approval of new, industry-wide guidelines in November 2010.

The definitions and principles adopted by the GPP mirror packaging and sustainability guidelines produced by ECR Europe and EUROPEN, the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment. The metrics the GPP will test have been adapted from those recently released by the U.S. Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC). [email protected]

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