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GS1 launch new standard for global packaging sustainability

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Date posted: 10th September 2013

GS1 has launched the Global Protocol for Packaging Sustainability (GPPS), including members such as Boots, Tesco and Unilever. The standard, developed by GS1 and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), includes over 40 environmental, economic and social indicators for packaging sustainability.

Packaging sustainability is at the forefront of the waste hierarchy, where after reduction priority is given to reuse and then recycling. While recycling is a fantastic way to rework materials, reusing an item in its original form, i.e. reuse of a wooden pallet, has a greater priority and is the most preferred options in accordance with the waste hierarchy. The GPPS will allow the consumer goods and packaging industries to discuss packaging sustainability clearly.

The protocol language will be included in part of a trade item’s product information which will be available on GS1’s Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN). Using the GSDN will enable trading partners to recall sustainability data about a product’s packaging. This will allow packaging to be comprehensively designed with the product’s overall environmental performance being taken into account.

Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said: “One of the strengths of this project is how it has brought together so many companies and organisations from across our industry to work collectively on developing this common language.

“Now we need to put the language to work. We are already doing so in Unilever and we are seeing the benefit.”

GS1 chief executive Miguel Angel Lopera said: “GS1 is totally committed to supporting the drive for sustainable consumption and production.

“It has been a real pleasure to collaborate with the CGF to deliver an open global standard for an efficient and cost-effective way of exchanging vital data about packaging to optimise the resources used to protect consumer goods.

“This project is a real example of a partnership working to meet a critical need, and I believe it augurs well for addressing product sustainability in a similar manner.”

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