Packaging and the Road to a Circular Economy

August 3, 2018 EcoVadis ‏‏‎

Nearly everything we touch has packaging.

 

Think about all the variables in packaging – types of plastic or metal, variations in shapes, inks added for marketing and regulatory labeling, the list goes on. This sheer volume of packaging means the industry has a significant potential to impact the sustainability of supply chains, and makes it a crucial element to achieving a circular economy.

 

We’ve discussed the value and path toward a circular economy – it could bring 2 million jobs by 2030 and up to €600 billion in savings per year. It has the potential to improve resource resilience and support significant waste reduction across the globe. How the world develops and uses packaging will obviously play a key part in achieving all of these benefits, pushed forward by procurement teams.

 

During our Sustain conference in April,  Amcor presented its plan and  pledge to have 100 percent recyclable packaging by 2025. They are working to deliver this through operational improvements, collaborations with suppliers and partners (like EcoVadis) and driving innovation through product design. Specifically, they noted key areas where procurement can help deliver on the goals of recyclable packaging, including:

 

  • Locating and collaborating with partners who share the same innovative ideas and vision;
  • Setting  higher requirements and standards for recycled content;
  • Including packaging requirements and procedures in vendor assessment;
  • Collaborating with research and development teams for fresh ideas on sourcing;  materials, processes all aimed at improving the environmental impact of packaging.

Admittedly, there are some barriers for organizations seeking to improve their impact via packaging innovation, such as:

 

  • Lack of demand pull for circular products and service, especially for procurement;
  • Lack of transparency through value chain;
  • Lack of standardization in the market.

 

Collaborating and innovating with suppliers will be essential to  combating these barriers and reaching the potentials of a circular economy, as well as motivating and educating consumers about their purchasing habits and its impact on sustainability. Procurement, with their visibility and influence on suppliers and partners are well positioned to lead the charge towards packaging’s circular future, not just for improved bottom lines, but for a better world.

About the Author

EcoVadis ‏‏‎

EcoVadis is the world’s most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings, intelligence and collaborative performance improvement tools for global supply chains. Backed by a powerful technology platform and a global team of domain experts, EcoVadis’ easy-to-use and actionable sustainability scorecards provide detailed insight into environmental, social and ethical risks across 190 purchasing categories and 150 countries.

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