Pack2Go Europe calls out conflict of interest, bias in EU report on single-use plastics

Complaints keyIn a rational, science-based industry, such as the plastics sector, one would think that objective, scientific research is the gold standard for scientific reporting. It seems, however, that is not exactly the way things happen.

Pack2Go Europe, the association of food and beverage service and convenience packaging manufacturers in Europe, has officially complained to the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, about the way the European Commission prepared the EU Plastic Strategy (released Jan. 16, 2018) and then drafted a proposal for a directive on single-use plastic items (released May 28, 2018). 

The complaint by Pack2Go Europe cites “blatant conflict of interest, a biased consultation process and failure to carry out proper impact assessment of proposed measures.”

Specifically, Pack2Go questions the appointment of Eunomia, a British environmental consulting firm, as the European Commission’s objective advisors in the consultation and policy development process around the EU Plastics Strategy. Pack2Go noted that Eunomia had “publicly and actively” campaigned for “a range of restrictive measures against single-use packaging and other single-use items.” Yet, Eunomia was engaged as a “neutral” advisor to the Commission.

In other words, Eunomia already had an agenda, as did the Commission, when they collaborated to implement restrictions on single-use plastic items. Obviously, any research conducted by Eunomia would have been biased and in accord with the Commission’s goal of restricting the use of such plastic items. 

Noted Pack2Go, “at the very same time that Eunomia was working with the Commission to restrict single-use plastics in 2017, the Commission also paid the consultancy via the intermediary of lobbying NGO Seas at Risk to research and prepare an advocacy report on single-use plastics and the marine environment. The report was then used by Seas at Risk in the autumn of 2017 to lobby the Commission and other EU institutions at a crucial moment during the EU policy process. The conflict of interest in this situation is even more blatant. Many of the measures advocated by Eunomia in its campaigning and in the report written for Seas at Risk have since found prominence, directly or indirectly, in the proposed single-use plastics directive.”

Mike Turner, Managing Director of Graphic Packaging International Foodservice Europe and President of Pack2Go Europe, stated in the complaint, “It is surprising that the Commission employed as supposedly objective advisors a consultancy that was evangelical about its own policy views. It is shocking that the Commission then paid the same people to lobby it at the very moment that they were sitting together at the same table and drafting new EU policy together.”

Well, maybe not that shocking. Follow the money! Look at the agenda! Most of these groups both in the EU and in the United States that have the goal of ridding the world of evil plastic are in cahoots with lobbyists, so-called research scientists and other advisory groups that are willing to ignore good science in favor of promoting their own agenda and making money from that.

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