Business Support for Packaging Accord
9 August 2004
Business Support for Packaging Accord
The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (the Business Council) has described the Government’s new five year Packaging Accord to be signed by Government and industry tomorrow as “another step in the right direction”.
The voluntary accord has been developed by Ministry for the Environment, members of the Packaging Council of New Zealand along with Local Government New Zealand and R.O.N.Z. (Recycling Operators of New Zealand.
Peter Neilson, Chief Executive said: “This voluntary agreement clearly demonstrates the willingness of many manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste by re-designing the packaging which is used around their products. It is vital that manufacturers and retailers take on their responsibilities in product stewardship and factor in the full life cycle of products, which they design and sell. This new Accord marks a significant change from the previous one, which focused primarily on the packaging manufacturer. If the targets set in the accord can be reached the compliance costs for business and the taxpayer will be substantially less than those within a regulatory environment, which would not necessarily deliver better outcomes.”
The Business Council’s “Guide to a Sustainable Supply Chain” highlights the responsibilities of manufacturers and retailers in product stewardship. All products have the potential to cause environmental degradation either from their manufacturing, use or disposal. There has been a rapid increase in consumer products partly due to an increase in disposable income and smaller households and this has inevitably increased the amount of packaging to protect and promote products.
Nielson believes that this new Agreement signed with many of New Zealand’s largest businesses will provide a collaborative approach to designing products with the minimum packaging needed to protect the product and to ensure consumer safety: “This Accord will help continue to take New Zealand forward in a manner that is in line with international development on waste reduction and resource efficiency. It encourages manufacturers to rethink the design of their products and the type of packaging around them and retailers to select and promote the products they sell on the basis of their environmental impact. Ultimately if the consumer does not buy such products in preference to others and then recycle them, then legislation such as we see in Europe is inevitable. We often forget the role of consumers in product stewardship. It is the consumer that makes the choice between competing products and who must use and dispose of products responsibly.”
Business Council members have been showing leadership in the area of packaging reduction.
For example, The Warehouse has revised its packaging guide and has begun re-specifying packaging through a series of product audits and exception reporting at the company’s distribution centres. Easy wins which resulted in high volume packaging reductions include eliminating unnecessary plastic strapping and inner plastic bag liners.
Member companies that have signed up to the Packaging Accord include: DB Breweries Ltd; Fonterra; Griffins Foods Ltd; Shell NZ; The Warehouse; Sanford Ltd.
The Business Council is a coalition of around 50 leading businesses united by a shared commitment to sustainable development via the three pillars of economic growth, environmental protection and social progress. Its mission is to provide business leadership as a catalyst for change towards sustainable development, and promotes eco-efficiency, innovation and responsible entrepreneurship.
The Business Council’s Guide to a Sustainable Supply Chain is one of a series of Guides to Sustainable Practice. It is being rolled out to members and the wider business community through workshops and seminars. Companies can download the guide and use the interactive tools on www.nzbcsd.org.nz/supplychain.
Peter Neilson was appointed Chief Executive in April 2004 to spearhead the Business Council’s move towards policy development and advocacy work. Peter is a former cabinet minister of revenue, customs and works and was associate minister for state-owned enterprises and finance under the Lange Labour Government. Following a period as Leader of the Opposition’s Economic Advisor, Peter moved to private industry, managing a number of international advisory roles, with Ernst & Young and more recently with the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.