Criteria and Scoring

1.1 Packaging Sustainability Strategy

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Objective

To integrate packaging sustainability goals and targets into a corporate strategy, including the use of the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) or equivalent.

Description

This criteria considers actions to integrate packaging sustainability into business strategies. This includes having documented commitments and targets that have been approved by management, and ensuring that these are reflected in policies and procedures for marketing, product development, procurement and operations.

Your APCO Annual Report and Action Plan could be used to meet the requirements for a Packaging Sustainability Strategy if it meets the specified requirements, including:

  • it commits the organisation to use the SPG (or equivalent) for packaging;
  • it includes specific, measurable and time-based targets;
  • it is integrated into business processes;
  • progress against targets is publicly reported in the APCO annual report and action plan or elsewhere;
  • there is a process for continuous improvement.

Scoring

Core:  this criteria must be attempted by all Members.
Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next.

Sector Variations

  • Packaging suppliers:A broader ‘sustainability strategy’ may be more relevant to your organisation as everything you do has implications for the life cycle impacts of packaging. The strategy should include actions to improve the sustainability of operations, as well as specific commitments and targets for packaging (e.g. packaging design, renewable materials, recyclability etc.).
  • Retails: The scope of the strategy is all packaging that your organisation can influence, including packaging for own-brand products, procurement requirements (e.g. for retail-ready packaging), packaging used for distribution from distribution centres to stores, retail carry bags and other packaging given out in stores, packaging waste generated on-site, etc.
  • Global companies:You may like to consider whether your organisation has a corporate sustainability strategy developed by head office and if this impacts activities in Australia. Your commitment to use the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) or equivalent could be documented in another formal document that has been approved by management in Australia.

Level 1: Getting Started

To achieve this level, your organisation must have produced formal documentation on how it plans to deal with packaging sustainability within your organisation. Having formal documentation approved by senior management sends a clear message to employees and stakeholders that packaging sustainability is a priority for your organisation. Minimum requirements of this documentation are two high-level commitments:

  • Improve sustainability and/or environmental performance of the organisation by improving packaging sustainability.
  • Commitment to packaging sustainability using the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) or equivalent (guidelines based on the same principles).

Resources

Case studies:

Level 2: Good Progress

To achieve this level, your organisation must have integrated your packaging sustainability strategy into business policies and processes to ensure that it is implemented across the organisation. A strategy will only be effective if its objectives and targets are integrated in other plans and processes, such as a business plan, marketing plan, product development processes or procurement procedures. Staff within the organisation must be accountable for implementation, for example through their position descriptions and performance reviews.

Level 3: Advanced

At this level, your organisation must have a process in place to ensure continuous improvements to your overall packaging sustainability strategy. Management processes that promote continuous improvement usually reflect the Deming PDCA cycle: Plan, Do, Check, Act.

PLAN: Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output (target goals) by establishing output expectations.

DO: Ensure that adequate resources, processes and systems are in place to deliver the strategy and meet the targets that have been set.

CHECK: Ensure regular reviews are conducted to check the validity of targets, monitor and measure performance and share this information internally or externally.

ACT: This phase should take the learnings from the CHECK phase to address the effectiveness of the sustainability strategy. During this phase, ACT to determine whether the policies, objectives or other systems are relevant to your goals, and repeat the process for continuous improvement.

Resources

Level 4: Leading

This level requires the inclusion of specific, measurable and time-based targets in your packaging sustainability strategy. Select targets that will help to meet customer expectations while supporting your other business, marketing and sustainability goals.

Resources

  • Fitzpatrick, L., K. Verghese, K. and H. Lewis (2012), Packaging for sustainability, Springer: London UK (Chs. 1 & 7))

Case Studies:

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

 To achieve this level, your organisation must be reporting publicly on your progress towards packaging sustainability. Transparency builds trust and allows you to share your packaging sustainability journey with stakeholders. This could be achieved by publishing and promoting your APCO annual report, or by reporting progress in your corporate sustainability report, corporate website or other avenues appropriate to your organisation.

1.2 Closed Loop Collaboration

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Objective

To encourage supply chain initiatives to recover packaging and create sustainable closed loop economies.

Description

This criteria covers collaborative initiatives to improve recovery of packaging. These actions could take many different forms, e.g. an industry-led collection program for a particular packaging material; or collaboration with other organisations (e.g. research group, local council) to develop a new market for a recycled material.

Scoring

Core:  this criteria must be attempted by all Members.
Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next.

Sector Variations

  • Global companies:You should only report on organisational initiatives occurring outside Australia if they have implications for packaging recovery in Australia. For example, this could include an initiative that is likely to result in more recycled material being used within packaging sold in Australia, or research and development  in a new recycling technology that could be adopted in Australia, etc.

Level 1: Getting started

Closed loop collaborations bring industry together to identify and address barriers to the recovery and reuse of waste packaging. Examples could include collaboration to establish a collection program for used packaging; to develop a new application or market for a recyclable material; to address a problematic material; or to develop an industry standard for collection or recovery, etc.

Achieving this level requires that your organisation is investigating options for joining or starting a collaborative closed loop program.

Resources

Level 2: Good progress

Achieving this level requires your organisation to have joined a collaborative program to address a shared problem (e.g. a problematic packaging material). Alternatively you could have worked closely with other organisations to set one up. Collaboration could be with competitors/peers, local councils, community group, a university, a recycler etc.

Level 3: Advanced

At this level, your organisation has added rigour to your program by collecting data to monitor the outcomes of your collaborative program(s). Data is important for monitoring and reporting outcomes, e.g. the amount of product collected, the recycling rate, tonnes of recycled material used in the manufacture of new products etc.

Level 4: Leading

At this level, your organisation is continuing to monitor progress and identify areas for further improvement. The aim is to be able to demonstrate real, tangible outcomes such as tonnes or percentage of packaging collected, the percentage of consumers that have access to a recovery system, or tonnes of recycled material used in products etc.

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

At this level your organisation has introduced a formal process to continually identify new opportunities for collaboration or to improve existing initiatives. An example of a formal process could include a documented strategy to continue to look for new opportunities or improved outcomes from existing initiatives. The process may be documented internally within your organisation, or within the organisation responsible for managing the process.

1.3 Consumer Engagement

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Objective

To inform and educate consumers about sustainability through packaging.

Description

This criteria covers activities that engage consumers in packaging sustainability. These could include:  information on your website about packaging sustainability initiatives; on-pack claims and labels  on supply chain certifications, recycled content, etc. (excluding disposal information and labelling which should be reported on within Criteria 2.5 Consumer Labelling); packaging design to encourage more sustainable behaviour (e.g. less food waste); or marketing campaigns on particular issues or campaigns.

Scoring

Recommended: reporting against this criteria is not mandatory, however Members are highly encourage to attempt recommended criteria where possible.

Additive: any question within this criteria can be answered to receive credit.

Sector Variations

  • Packaging suppliers:The criteria refers to business customers rather than individual consumers.
  • Global companies:You should only report on organisational initiatives occurring outside Australia if they help to engage Australian consumers.

Level 1: Getting Started

To achieve this level you must be providing consumers with information on the sustainability of packaging through your website or other publications (in addition to disposal/recycling information). This could include environmental information on the packaging that you use, or environmental outcomes such as the percentage of recycled content, renewable materials, sustainability certifications for supply chains (e.g. Forest Steward Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified fibre), innovation in packaging design, material savings (e.g. ‘10% less material’) etc.

Level 2: Good Progress

To achieve this level your products will have on-pack claims or labels relating to packaging sustainability (excluding disposal/recycling labels, which are covered under criteria 2.5 – Consumer Labelling). This information could relate to outcomes such as the percentage of recycled content, use of renewable materials and their sources, certified sustainable supply chains (e.g. FSC or PEFC certified fibre), innovation in packaging design, material savings (e.g. ‘10% less material’) etc.

Level 3: Advanced

At this level, at least some of your products have some form of information to encourage consumers to adopt more sustainable practices, for example to reduce food waste or over-use/waste of consumables (detergents, paint, etc.). Examples of consumer engagement through packaging could include advice on how to store food correctly, tips for minimising waste, how to use products efficiently, etc.

Level 4: Leading

To achieve this level, your organisation would be actively engaging consumers through structural packaging design for at least some products, to reduce impacts of consumption. Design initiatives could include portion control or resealable packaging designed to reduce food waste.

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

At this level, your organisation actively engages consumers in packaging sustainability through marketing campaigns for at least some products e.g. through advertising or social media. On-pack information is used to engage consumers to reduce the impacts of consumption and is supported by other forms of communication. Partnerships with environment or community organisations can also be used as evidence to show a willingness to engage with consumers about packaging sustainability.

1.4 Industry Leadership

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Objective

To promote other initiatives within Australia that improve packaging sustainability through collaborations and industry leadership.

Description

This criteria considers actions that aim to improve packaging sustainability through collaboration and industry leadership. This could be achieved, for example, through involvement in R&D; negotiation of an industry standard; development or advocacy for a packaging sustainability policy; peer-to-peer knowledge sharing through events or training; sponsorship of a litter reduction program, etc.

Scoring

Recommended: reporting against this criteria is not mandatory, however Members are highly encouraged to attempt recommended criteria where possible.

Additive: any question within this criteria can be answered to receive credit.

Sector Variations

  • Global companies: You should only report on organisational initiatives if they have implications for packaging sustainability in Australia.

Level 1: Getting Started

You will achieve this level if your organisation is investigating actions to improve packaging sustainability through collaboration and industry leadership (excluding initiatives reported under criteria 1.2 – Closed loop collaboration). This could be achieved through:

  • involvement in R&D.
  • negotiation of an industry standard.
  • development or advocacy for a packaging sustainability policy.
  • peer-to-peer knowledge sharing through events or training.
  • sponsorship of a litter reduction program.

Level 2: Good Progress

You will achieve this level if your organisation is involved in one program or initiative to improve packaging sustainability through collaboration and industry leadership (excluding initiatives reported under criteria 1.2 – Closed loop collaboration). Examples could include:

  • Involvement in R&D.
  • Negotiation of an industry standard.
  • Development or advocacy for a packaging sustainability policy.
  • Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing through events or training.
  • Sponsorship of a litter reduction program.
  • Other examples of leadership relevant to your product or sector.

Level 3: Advanced

You will achieve this level if your organisation is involved in one additional program or initiative to improve packaging sustainability through collaboration and industry leadership (excluding initiatives reported under criteria 1.2 – Closed loop collaboration). Examples could include:

  • Involvement in R&D.
  • Negotiation of an industry standard.
  • Development or advocacy for a packaging sustainability policy.
  • Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing through events or training.
  • Sponsorship of a litter reduction program.
  • Other examples of leadership relevant to your product or sector.

Level 4: Leading

You will achieve this level if your organisation has received an award or external recognition for packaging sustainability within the past 12 months. Look for opportunities to submit your initiative for an awards program.

Resources

Level 5: Beyond best practice

You will achieve this level if you are actively engaging with your peers to promote packaging sustainability and share sustainability knowledge for non-commercial purposes (e.g. by holding workshops, providing training, sharing of intellectual property etc.).

2.1 Packaging Design and Procurement

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Objective

To ensure that the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) or equivalent are being used to evaluate packaging.

Description

This criteria considers actions taken to ensure that sustainability principles are considered in the design or procurement of packaging. You should have a documented procedure to use the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG), or an equivalent set of principles, to evaluate and improve packaging. You should also be tracking the number of products that have had their packaging designed or reviewed with reference to sustainability principles.

Scoring

Core:  this criteria must be attempted by all Members.
Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next.

Sector Variations

  • Product manufacturers/brand owners:The scope of this criteria is all packaging used to distribute your products, including retail packaging, packaging for online sales, shelf-ready packaging, and distribution packaging (shippers, pallets, stretch wrap etc.).
  • Packaging suppliers:The scope of this criteria is the packaging used to distribute your products.
  • Retailers:The scope of this criteria includes own-brand product packaging, retail packaging (e.g. retail carry bags and fresh produce bags), and any other packaging that your organisation can influence or control (e.g. retail-ready packaging for fresh produce). Retailers without own-brand products should focus on the packaging given to consumers at point of purchase to carry products home (e.g. carry bags, tissue paper, stickers etc.), internal distribution packaging (e.g. from distribution centres to stores), and packaging for online sales.
  • Global companies:If design and procurement are undertaken outside of Australia and you already have an equivalent corporate procedure to evaluate and improve packaging, you may not need to introduce a new procedure. Regular reviews of packaging should however be undertaken, and any improvement opportunities fed back to those responsible for product development. You may need to introduce a documented procedure to evaluate any packaging sourced locally using the SPG or equivalent, and keep records of any equivalent assessment procedure used by your overseas office.
  • Importers/distributors with limited control over packaging:Focus on any packaging that you source within Australia, e.g. distribution packaging.

Level 1: Getting started

At this level you must have a documented procedure for using the SPG or equivalent to evaluate and improve your packaging. This procedure could take many different forms, for example:

  • a step-by-step procedure for new product development that shows when and how the SPG must be applied
  • a procurement policy or procedure that requires procurement staff or packaging suppliers to review all new packaging against the SPG and to identify potential improvements
  • a commitment to considering the sustainability performance of packaging during product/packaging reviews undertaken as part of a normal business process

Ideally, the SPG will be used as early as possible in these processes, when there is scope to make design changes. It can also be used to review outcomes prior to market launches.

Resources

Case studies:

‘A guide to effective packaging assessment’

Level 2: Good progress

At this level you must have data that allows you to monitor the percentage of your products that have had their packaging designed or reviewed with reference to the SPG or equivalent. Up to 20% of products have had their packaging reviewed or re-designed to meet SPG guidelines. The scope for this criteria is all packaging supplied to the consumer, regardless of whether it is sold through stores, online or other channels. This would include distribution packaging to customers such as online sales packaging, retail carry bags etc.

Level 3: Advanced

At this level you are continuing to design or review your packaging with reference to the SPG or equivalent. Between 20% and 80% of your products have had their packaging designed or reviewed with reference to the SPG or equivalent.

Level 4: Leading

At this level, 80% of product packaging will need to have had their packaging designed or reviewed with reference to the SPG or equivalent and 50% of product packaging has been reviewed using LCA or similar life cycle assessment tool.

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

At this level, your organisation is improving the rigour of packaging assessments by using a life cycle assessment (LCA) or similar life cycle tool to assess packaging sustainability. To achieve this level, 100% of product packaging needs to have had their packaging designed or reviewed using an LCA tool with supporting evidence.

Notes on data collection

At the beginning of the Annual Reporting Tool you are asked to provide a “baseline metric” for assessing your organisations performance. This criteria will use this baseline metric to measure performance against this criteria.

2.2 Packaging Materials Efficiency

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Objective

To reduce material consumption and associated environmental impacts in the packaging life cycle by optimising the volume and weight of packaging.

Description

This criteria considers actions taken to reduce the amount of material used in packaging, or to ensure that packaging has been ‘optimised’ within current constraints. Optimisation must be reviewed regularly as changes in commercial arrangements, materials and technologies may present new opportunities to improve. These actions may have been taken as a result of a Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) review, or in response to another business driver (e.g. business efficiency, supply chain review etc.).

Scoring

Core:  this criteria must be attempted by all Members.
Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next.

Sector Variations

  • Packaging suppliers:The scope of this criteria is the packaging used to distribute your products.i.e. to transport packaging materials and components to customers.
  • Retailers: The scope of this criteria includes packaging for own-brand products, any packaging given out in store (e.g. carry bags, fresh produce bags, tissue paper etc.), and any packaging used for online sales to consumers.
  • Global companies:This criteria applies to all products put on the market in Australia, regardless of where they were designed or manufactured.
  • Importers/distributors with limited control over packaging:Focus on any packaging that you source within Australia, e.g. distribution packaging.

Level 1: Getting Started

At this level, your organisation has a plan to optimise material efficiency, such as a documented packaging sustainability strategy. At a minimum this should apply to packaging of products that your company controls or influences.

Resources

Case studies:

Level 2: Good Progress

To achieve this level, you will need to have data on the percentage of products for which packaging weight has been reduced or optimised for material efficiency. Improved material efficiency can be achieved through a range of strategies including light-weighting materials, shifting to a lighter material, eliminating unnecessary layers or components, etc. These actions may be taken as a result of a Sustainability Packaging Guidelines (SPG) review (or similar process), or in response to another business driver (e.g. business efficiency, supply chain review etc.).

This level requires that up to 20% of products have had their packaging weight reduced or optimised.

Level 3: Advanced

At this level you are continuing to collect data and monitor progress towards material efficiency. Greater than 20% of products have had their packaging weight reduced or optimised for material efficiency.

Level 4: Leading

At this level you are continuing to collect data and monitor progress towards material efficiency. Greater than 50% of products have had their packaging weight reduced or optimised for material efficiency. This can be demonstrated by providing proof of the methodology used to evaluate optimisation. This could be based on the international standard ISO 18602 (or equivalent) which describes a procedure for assessment of packaging to ensure the weight or volume of its material content is optimised. The process should identify the single performance criteria that prevents further reduction in quantity (weight or volume) of the materials used without endangering functional performance, safety and user acceptability. these critical areas include: product protection, packaging manufacturing processes, packing/filling process, logistics.

Resources

  • ISO 18602: 2013, Packaging and the environment: Optimization of the packaging system

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

At this level you are continuing to collect data on the percentage of products for which packaging has been optimised. You have already indicated that you have seen material efficiency achievements in 100% of your product packaging. To achieve this level you will need to show that 100% of packaging has been optimised for material efficiency. This can be demonstrated by providing proof of the methodology used to evaluate optimisation. The process should identify the single performance criteria that prevents further reduction in quantity (weight or volume) of the materials used, and substantiate the identification. ISO 18602 refers to ‘critical areas’: specific performance criteria that prevent further reduction of weight or volume without endangering functional performance, safety and user acceptability. These critical areas include: product protection, packaging manufacturing processes, packing/filling process and logistics.

Optimised’ means that no further improvement in packaging material efficiency is possible, considering interactions between the packaging and product (e.g. impacts on product waste), regulatory restrictions etc. ISO18602 refers to ‘critical areas’ – specific performance criteria that prevent further reduction of weight or volume without endangering functional performance, safety and user acceptability. Includes: product protection, packaging manufacturing processes, packing/filling process, logistics, product presentation/marketing, user/consumer acceptance, information, safety, legislation, other (this should be specified for each product).

Notes on data collection

At the beginning of the Annual Reporting Tool you are asked to provide a “baseline metric” for assessing your organisations performance. This criteria will use this baseline metric to measure performance against this criteria.

2.3 Recycled and Renewable Materials

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Objective

To support a circular economy for packaging by optimising the quantity of materials that are renewable and/or contain at least some recycled material.

Description

This criteria considers actions taken to increase the amount of recycled or renewable material in packaging, or to ensure that recycled and renewable material in packaging has been ‘optimised’ within current constraints. Here, ‘optimised’ means that the current levels of renewable or recycled materials used in packaging cannot be increased without compromising product safety or quality. Optimisation must be reviewed regularly because changes in commercial arrangements, materials and technologies may present new opportunities to increase the use of recycled or renewable materials. These actions may have been taken as a result of a Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) review, or in response to another business driver (e.g. cost, marketing etc.).

Scoring

Core:  this criteria must be attempted by all Members.
Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next

Sector Variations

  • Packaging suppliers:The scope of this criteria is the packaging used to distribute your products.
  • Retailers:The scope of this criteria is packaging for own-brand products, any packaging given out in store (e.g. carry bags, fresh produce bags, tissue paper etc.), and any packaging used for online sales to consumers.
  • Global companies:This criteria applies to all products sold in Australia, regardless of where they were designed or manufactured.
  • Importers/distributors with limited control over packaging: Focus on any packaging that you source within Australia, e.g. distribution packaging.

Level 1: Getting started

To achieve this level, your organisation is investigating opportunities to optimise the amount of recycled and/or renewable material in your packaging. At a minimum, these activities should apply to the packaging of products that you control or influence. Identify appropriate strategies or targets for using recycled and renewable materials, considering your broader sustainability goals, any regulatory/technical constraints and trade-offs with other packaging performance objectives.

Resources

Level 2: Good Progress

To achieve this level you will need to have data on the percentage of products with packaging that incorporates some recycled or renewable content. Up to 20% of your packaging incorporates recycled or renewable content, or has been optimised for recycled and renewable content. These actions may be taken as a result of a Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) review, or in response to another business driver (e.g. cost, marketing etc). ‘Optimised’ means that renewable or recycled materials cannot be used or the amount cannot be increased at the present time for various reasons. Optimisation must be reviewed regularly because changes in commercial arrangements, materials and technologies may present new opportunities to increase the use of renewable or recycled materials

Fibre-based packaging materials are generally regarded as renewable, although certification (e.g. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)) ensures that the fibre is from a sustainable source. Most packaging materials can incorporate a percentage of recycled material, and in some cases, up to 100%. Check with your packaging suppliers to find out if any of your packaging already contains recycled material, and to identify any improvement opportunities. Identify appropriate strategies or targets for recycled and renewable materials, considering your broader sustainability goals, regulatory/technical constraints and trade-offs with other performance objectives.

Level 3: Advanced

To achieve this level you are continuing to collect data and monitor recycled or renewable material content in packaging. Greater than 20% of packaging incorporates recycled or renewable content or has been optimised for recycled and renewable content. Fibre-based packaging materials are generally regarded as renewable and certification (e.g. FSC, PEFC) ensures that the fibre is from a sustainable source. Most packaging materials can incorporate a percentage of recycled material, and in some cases, up to 100% of packaging is made from recycled materials. Check with your packaging suppliers to find out if any of your packaging already contains recycled material, and to identify any improvement opportunities. Identify appropriate strategies or targets for recycled and renewable materials, considering your broader sustainability goals, regulatory/technical constraints and trade-offs with other performance objectives.

Resources

Level 4: Leading

At this level you are continuing to collect data and monitor recycled or renewable material content in packaging. Greater than 50% of products have packaging that incorporates recycled or renewable content or has been optimised for recycled and renewable content. Fibre-based packaging materials are generally regarded as renewable and certification (e.g. FSC, PEFC) ensures that the fibre is from a sustainable source. Most packaging materials can incorporate a percentage of recycled material, and in some cases, up to 100% of packaging is made from recycled materials. Check with your packaging suppliers to find out if any of your packaging already contains recycled material, and to identify any improvement opportunities. Identify appropriate strategies or targets for recycled and renewable materials, considering your broader sustainability goals, regulatory/technical constraints and trade-offs with other performance objectives.

Resources

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

At this level you are continuing to collect data and monitor recycled or renewable material content in packaging. To achieve this level you need to show with supporting evidence that renewable/recycled content has been optimised for all packaging. Often 100% renewable or recycled content is not achievable. In some cases, the amount of recycled (reprocessed) material is limited by performance requirements, e.g. for material strength or appearance. Recycled content can also be restricted by regulations e.g. for packaging in contact with food. Ensure that you have a process in place to evaluate whether the proportion of recycled materials has been optimised and whether any increase is currently feasible. Evidence that you have optimised all packaging materials for renewable/recycled content must be provided to support achievements at this level.

Resources

Notes on data collection

At the beginning of the Annual Reporting Tool you are asked to provide a “baseline metric” for assessing your organisations performance. This criteria will use this baseline metric to measure performance against this criteria.

2.4 Post-consumer Recovery

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Objective

To increase the proportion of packaging that can be collected in Australia for reuse, recycling, composting or energy recovery.

Description

This criteria considers actions taken to improve the recovery of packaging at the end of its life. These actions may have been taken as a result of a Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) review, or in response to another business driver. You should be tracking the amount of packaging that can be recovered through an existing collection system that most of your customers in Australia can access, e.g. by putting it in their kerbside recycling bin or by taking it to a drop-off point.

Scoring

Core:  this criteria must be attempted by all Members.
Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next.

Sector Variations

  • Packaging suppliers: The scope of this criteria is the packaging used to distribute your products, i.e. to transport packaging materials and components to customers.
  • Retailers:The scope of this criteria includes packaging for own-brand products, any packaging given out in store (e.g. carry bags, fresh produce bags, tissue paper etc.), and any packaging used for online sales to consumers.
  • Global companies:This criteria applies to all products put on the market in Australia, regardless of where they were designed or manufactured. The ‘recoverability’ of packaging relates to the recoverability in Australia, not other markets where your products or packaging may be sold.
  • Importers/distributors with limited control over packaging:We encourage you to seek information on the recoverability of packaging in Australia from your suppliers or third parties.

Level 1: Getting started

At this level, if your organisation is investigating opportunities to optimise the recoverability of your packaging. At a minimum, these activities should apply to packaging of products that you control, i.e. private label product and/or distribution packaging.

To check the recoverability of your packaging, check the availability of systems to collect in Australia (e.g. kerbside recycling, drop-off point) and reuse, recycle, compost or recover energy from packaging in Australia. Recoverability can be improved, for example, by switching from a non-recyclable to a recyclable material, or by eliminating components that inhibit recycling (e.g. incompatible labels, mixed materials etc.).

Resources

Case studies:

Level 2: Good Progress

To achieve this level, you will have data showing the percentage of your products that have primary packaging that can be recovered in Australia for reuse, recycling, composting or energy recovery. Up to 20% of your primary packaging can be recovered through existing post-consumer recovery systems.

To check the recoverability of your packaging, check the availability of systems in Australia to collect (e.g. kerbside recycling, drop-off point) and reuse, recycle, compost or recover energy from packaging. Recoverability can be improved, for example, by switching from a non-recyclable to a recyclable material, or by eliminating components that inhibit recycling (e.g. incompatible labels, mixed materials etc.).

Resources

Case studies:

Level 3: Advanced

You will achieve this level if you have data showing greater than 20% of primary packaging can be recovered in Australia through existing post-consumer recovery systems.

To check the recoverability of your packaging, check the availability of systems to collect (e.g. kerbside, drop-off) and reuse, recycle, compost or recover energy from packaging in Australia. Recoverability can be improved, for example, by switching from a non-recyclable to a recyclable material, or by eliminating components that inhibit recycling (e.g. incompatible labels, mixed materials etc.).

Resources

Case studies:

Level 4: Leading

You will achieve this level if you have data showing greater than 50% of primary packaging can be recovered through existing post-consumer recovery systems that achieve the highest potential environmental value.

To check the recoverability of your packaging, check the availability of systems to collect in Australia (e.g. kerbside, drop-off) and reuse, recycle, compost or recover energy from packaging in Australia. Recoverability can be improved, for example, by switching from a non-recyclable to a recyclable material, or by eliminating components that inhibit recycling (e.g. incompatible labels, mixed materials etc.).

Highest potential environmental value means that the waste hierarchy has been applied to ensure that the value of the embodied materials and/or energy is retained as much as possible and for as long as possible, e.g. through closed-loop recycling (e.g. bottle to bottle) or by recycling into another high value product that can itself be recycled a second time. Case-by-case analysis is required to determine whether the highest value has been achieved.

Resources

Case studies:

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

You will achieve this level if you have data showing 100% of primary packaging can be recovered through existing systems that achieve the highest potential environmental value.

To check the recoverability of your packaging, check the availability of systems to collect in Australia (e.g. kerbside, drop-off) and reuse, recycle, compost or recover energy from packaging. Recoverability can be improved, for example, by switching from a non-recyclable to a recyclable material, or by eliminating components that inhibit recycling (e.g. incompatible labels, mixed materials etc.).

Highest potential environmental value means that the waste hierarchy has been applied to ensure that the value of the embodied materials and/or energy is retained as much as possible and for as long as possible, e.g. through closed-loop recycling (e.g. bottle to bottle) or by recycling into another high value product that can itself be recycled a second time. Case-by-case analysis is required to determine whether the highest value has been achieved.

Resources

Case studies:

Notes on data collection

At the beginning of the Annual Reporting Tool you are asked to provide a “baseline metric” for assessing your organisations performance. This criteria will use this baseline metric to measure performance against this criteria.

2.5 Consumer Labelling

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Objective

To encourage the use of on-pack labels that enable consumers to easily determine the correct disposal method for packaging.

Description

This criteria considers the extent to which packaging has been labelled to help consumers determine what to do with packaging at end of life, e.g. put it in their recycling, compost or rubbish bin. Relevant labels include recycling and anti-litter symbols and advice, such as the Australasian Recycling Label. Higher levels require tracking of the number of products that have appropriate on-pack labels.

Scoring

Recommended: reporting against this criteria is not mandatory, however Members are highly encouraged to attempt recommended criteria where possible.

Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next.

Sector Variations

  • Packaging suppliers:For this criteria ‘consumers’ refers to your business customers, e.g. brand owners or retailers, rather than individual consumers. Labelling requirements apply to your business-to-business (B2B) packaging.
  • Retailers:The scope of this criteria includes packaging for own-brand products, any packaging given out in store (e.g. carry bags, fresh produce bags, tissue paper etc.), and any packaging used for on-line sales to consumers.
  • Global companies:This criteria applies to all products put on the market in Australia, regardless of where they were designed or manufactured. You will need to consider whether recovery labels applied for other markets (e.g. ‘Green Dot’ logos) have potential to mislead consumers.
  • Importers/distributors/brand owners with limited control over packaging: Focus on any packaging that you source within Australia, but also check that labelling on imported packaging is compliant with Australian Consumer Law, i.e. is not false or misleading. We encourage you to discuss labelling solutions with your suppliers.

Level 1: Getting Started

To achieve this level, your organisation is investigating opportunities to improve on-pack consumer labelling for disposal or recovery. At a minimum, this activity should apply to packaging of products that the organisation directly controls. It applies to all packaging that goes to consumers.

The purpose of a disposal/recycling label is to assist the consumer to decide how the package should be disposed of, e.g. to a recycling or rubbish bin. Commonly used labels include the chasing arrow recycling symbol (‘Mobius loop’) or anti-litter logo (‘Tidyman’). Written advice can be more specific, e.g. ‘Please recycle’ or ‘Rinse and recycle’ where appropriate. It will assist consumers if general statements such as ‘Please dispose of thoughtfully’ are supported with more specific advice on disposal or recovery options. Note: The Plastics Identification Code is not a recycling symbol (it indicates the type of plastic used).

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Level 2: Good Progress

To reach this level you will have data on the percentage of products that have labels on packaging for disposal or recovery. At this level, you will have data showing up to 20% of products have this type of label.

The purpose of a disposal/recycling label is to assist the consumer to decide how the package should be disposed of, e.g. to a recycling or rubbish bin. Commonly used labels include the chasing arrow recycling symbol (‘Mobius loop’) or anti-litter logo (‘Tidyman’). Written advice can be more specific, e.g. ‘Please recycle’ or ‘Rinse and recycle’ where appropriate. It will assist consumers if general statements such as ‘Please dispose of thoughtfully’ are supported with more specific advice on disposal or recovery options. Note: The Plastics Identification Code is not a recycling symbol (it indicates the type of plastic used).

Level 3: Advanced

To achieve this level you will have data showing that greater than 20% of products have labels on packaging for disposal or recovery. Look for opportunities to add disposal/recycling labels, or to make them more specific or easier to follow.

Level 4: Leading

To achieve this level you will have data showing greater than 50% of products have labels on packaging for disposal or recovery. Look for opportunities to add disposal/recycling labels or to make them more specific or easier to follow.

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

To achieve this level you will have data showing that 100% of products have labels on packaging for disposal or recovery in accordance with the principles in Australian Standard AS 14021: Environmental labels and declarations. You will also have a system in place to ensure that all new and existing labelling complies with the principles in Australian Standard AS 14021: Environmental labels and declarations – Self-declared environmental claims (Type II environmental labelling) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Green marketing and Australian Consumer Law.

The AS 14021 is a voluntary international labelling standard that provides useful definitions of terms, and guidance on use of environmental claims and labels. The principles and guidelines aim to promote labelling that is clear, effective and unambiguous. Misleading claims and labels (e.g. saying that a package is recyclable when there is no system to collect it in Australia for recycling here or overseas) are contrary to Australia consumer law.

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Notes on data collection

At the beginning of the Annual Reporting Tool you are asked to provide a “baseline metric” for assessing your organisations performance. This criteria will use this baseline metric to measure performance against this criteria.

2.6 Product-packaging Innovation

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Objective

To reduce the environmental impact of your packaging throughout its lifecycle, through innovation in the design of the product-packaging system.

Description

This criteria considers actions to reduce the life cycle environmental impact of packaging through innovation in the design of the product-packaging system as a whole. Product-packaging system includes the product and all associated packaging (retail and distribution). This involves redesign of the product and its packaging at the same time.

Tracking the number of product-packaging systems that have been evaluated and optimised is required to progress. Optimisation must be reviewed regularly because changes in commercial arrangements, materials, and technologies may present new opportunities to improve packaging sustainability. Actions under this criteria may have been taken as a result of a Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) review, or in response to another business driver (e.g. cost, marketing, new technology etc.).

Past examples of product-packaging innovation include the development of concentrated liquid products and flat-packed furniture that significantly reduces packaging requirements; and transformation of software sales from physical delivery (discs) to internet downloads.

Scoring

Recommended: reporting against this criteria is not mandatory, however Members are highly encouraged to attempt recommended criteria where possible.

Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next.

Sector Variations

  • Packaging suppliers:The scope of this criteria is the packaging used to distribute your products.
  • Retailers:This criteria is most relevant to organisations that sell own-brand products.
  • Global companies:This criteria applies to all products put on the market in Australia, regardless of where they were designed or manufactured. If design and procurement is undertaken outside Australia, and you already have an equivalent corporate procedure to promote product-packaging innovation for products sold in Australia, you do not need to introduce a new procedure.
  • Importers, distributors and brand owners with no control of product/packaging development:This criteria may not be applicable, but you are encouraged to answer if you have something to report. For example, you may have headquarters outside Australia where product innovation is being imported into Australia.

Level 1: Getting started

To achieve this level, your organisation has developed a plan or is investigating opportunities to change the design or delivery of at least one product to improve packaging sustainability. This could involve, for example, changes in the product format (e.g. concentrated to reduce size and weight), product delivery system (e.g. from physical delivery to digital download), or business model (e.g. from product to service). This type of innovation will not always be possible, but it can deliver significant environmental and business benefits.

Level 2: Good progress

At this level you need to be recording and monitoring the percentage of your product-packaging systems that have been evaluated using LCA or similar life cycle approach to identify any remaining opportunities for innovation. Up to 20% of your product-packaging systems have been evaluated and packaging outcomes have been optimised. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use life cycle assessment (LCA) or a similar life cycle approach that considers the impacts of the product and all its packaging.

Level 3: Advanced

At this level you need to be recording and monitoring the percentage of your product-packaging systems that have been evaluated using LCA or similar life cycle approach to identify any remaining opportunities for innovation. Greater than 20% of your product-packaging systems have been evaluated and packaging outcomes have been optimised. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use life cycle assessment (LCA) or a similar life cycle approach that considers the impacts of the product and all its packaging.

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Level 4: Leading

At this level you need to be recording and monitoring the percentage of your product-packaging systems that have been evaluated using LCA or similar life cycle approach to identify any remaining opportunities for innovation. Greater than 50% of your product-packaging systems have been evaluated and packaging outcomes have optimised. You will need to be able to provide evidence that life cycle reviews of the product-packaging systems have been undertaken and that no further improvements are feasible at the current time.

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

This level requires 100% of your product-packaging systems to have been been optimised and this can be shown using a documented process of the sustainability outcomes. You will need to provide evidence that life cycle reviews of the product-packaging systems have been undertaken and that no further improvements are feasible at the current time. Optimisation must be reviewed regularly because changes in commercial arrangements, materials and technologies may present new opportunities to improve packaging sustainability.

Notes on data collection

At the beginning of the Annual Reporting Tool you are asked to provide a “baseline metric” for assessing your organisations performance. This criteria will use this baseline metric to measure performance against this criteria.

3.1 Business-to-Business (B2B) Packaging

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Objective

To reduce the amount of single use business-to-business packaging.

Description

This criteria considers actions to reduce the amount of material used in business-to-business packaging (B2B). This could be achieved through a range of strategies, for example, to improve pallet utilisation, reduce weight or volume, eliminate components, switch to reusable packaging etc. It applies to packaging used to distribute products to business customers or between business units. Higher levels will be tracking the amount of B2B packaging used.

Scoring

Core:  this criteria must be attempted by all Members.
Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next.

Sector Variations

  • Product manufacturers/brand owners: This criteria refers to all distribution packaging used internally (e.g. if you add packaging to distribute products between operational sites) or to transport products to business customers.
  • Packaging suppliers: This criteria refers to distribution packaging used to transport products (packaging materials and components) to your customers.
  • Retailers: This criteria applies to distribution packaging used internally to transport products from your distribution centres to individual stores.

Level 1: Getting started

To achieve this level your organisation will have developed a plan or are investigating opportunities to reduce the amount of single-use business-to-business (B2B) packaging you use internally or send to customers (i.e. you can provide at least one case study). Reduced B2B packaging can be achieved, for example, by improving packaging efficiency (weight or volume), by switching to bulk distribution, by reusing incoming packaging for distribution to customers, or by introducing reusable packaging (e.g. plastic drums or crates). While each opportunity needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the preferred strategies from a sustainability perspective are likely to be reduction/elimination followed by multi-use systems. A systems approach, for example by using LCA, is essential to ensure that reuse achieves an overall sustainability benefit.

Level 2: Good progress

At this level, you have data showing up to a 20% reduction in absolute or relative consumption of single-use B2B packaging to business customers , or up to 20% of your B2B packaging to business customers is already reusable. This can be achieved, for example, by improving packaging efficiency (weight or volume), by switching to bulk distribution, by reusing incoming packaging for distribution to customers, or by introducing reusable packaging (e.g. plastic drums or crates). While each opportunity needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the preferred strategies from a sustainability perspective are likely to be reduction/elimination followed by multi-use systems. A systems approach, for example by using LCA, is essential to ensure that reuse achieves an overall sustainability benefit.

Level 3: Advanced

To achieve this level, you will have data showing greater than 20% reduction in absolute or relative consumption of single-use B2B packaging to customers over the last 12 months, or greater than 20% of your B2B packaging to customers is already reusable.

Level 4: Leading

To achieve this level, you will have data showing a greater than 50% reduction in absolute or relative consumption of single-use B2B packaging to customers over the last 12 months or greater than 50% of your B2B packaging to customers is already reusable.

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

At this level, 100% of your B2B packaging is used internally or 100% of B2B packaging going to customers is reused or collected for re-use.

Notes on data collection

Performance against this criteria can be measured by collecting data on the tonnes of single-use business-to-business packaging sent to customers in the last 12 months and in the 12 months before that. You will also need to calculate the percentage of business-to-business packaging that has been optimised.

3.2 On-site Waste Diversion

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Objective

To increase the recovery of packaging waste generated on-site. A proxy measure is used (total solid waste), as most organisations do not measure packaging waste separately from other waste.

Description

This criteria considers the amount of on-site solid waste diverted from landfill. This is measured as the ‘diversion rate’, i.e. the percentage of solid waste that has been recovered for reuse, recycling, composting or energy recovery, as a percentage of the amount of solid waste generated.

Scoring

Recommended: reporting against this criteria is not mandatory, however Members are highly encouraged to attempt recommended criteria where possible.

Conditional: must satisfactorily meet the conditions of one question before progressing to the next.

Sector Variations

  • Product manufacturers/brand owners/packaging suppliers: The scope of this criteria is all solid waste generated in manufacturing facilities, distribution centres and offices.
  • Retailers: The scope of this criteria is all waste generated in distribution centres, retail stores and offices.

Level 1: Getting started

To achieve this level, your organisation must be investigating opportunities to divert its solid waste (generated in factories, warehouses, offices, retail stores etc.) from landfill.

Level 2: Good Progress

To achieve this level, you will have data showing up to 20% of the solid waste generated at the company’s facilities (factories, warehouses, offices, retail stores etc.) is diverted from landfill. The diversion rate is measured by dividing the quantity recovered for reuse, recycling, composting or energy recovery by the total quantity generated in the reporting year.

Level 3: Advanced

To achieve this level, you will have data showing greater than 20% of the solid waste generated at the company’s facilities (factories, warehouses, offices, retail stores etc.) is diverted from landfill. The diversion rate is measured by dividing the quantity recovered for reuse, recycling, composting or energy recovery by the total quantity generated in the reporting year.

Level 4: Leading

To achieve this level, you will have data showing greater than 50% of the solid waste generated at the company’s facilities (factories, warehouses, offices, retail stores etc.) is diverted from landfill.  The diversion rate is measured by dividing the quantity recovered for reuse, recycling, composting or energy recovery by the total quantity generated in the reporting year.

Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

At this level, you will have data showing 100% of the solid waste generated at your company’s facilities (factories, warehouses, offices, retail stores etc.) is being recovered through systems that achieve the highest potential environmental value. This means that the waste hierarchy has been applied to ensure that the value of the embodied materials and/or energy is retained as much as possible and for as long as possible, for example, through closed loop recycling (e.g. drum to drum) or by recycling into another high value product that can itself be recycled a second time. Case-by-case analysis is required to determine whether the highest value has been achieved.

3.3 Supply Chain Influence

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Objective

To engage with suppliers to build support for, and capacity to achieve, packaging sustainability goals.

Description

This criteria considers actions to engage suppliers and business customers in packaging sustainability. These could include, for example, strategies to communicate your packaging sustainability goals and requirements to suppliers; collaboration with supply chain partners to share knowledge and improve outcomes; a process to evaluate packaging supply chain risks; monitoring supplier compliance, etc.

Scoring

Recommended: reporting against this criteria is not mandatory, however Members are highly encourage to attempt recommended criteria where possible.

Additive: any question within the criteria can be answered to receive credit.

Sector Variations

  • Packaging suppliers: This criteria refers to engagement with upstream suppliers (i.e. suppliers of the packaging used to transport components to your business customers) and customers.
  • Retailers: This refers to engagement with upstream suppliers of packaging for own-brand product packaging, retail packaging (e.g. shopping bags, produce bags), retail-ready packaging and other distribution packaging.
  • Product manufacturers: This refers to engagement with upstream suppliers of packaging as well as business customers (e.g. retailers).
  • Global companies: This criteria applies to supply chain activities that influence the sustainability of packaging put on the market in Australia, regardless of where these activities were undertaken.

Level 1: Getting Started

At this level, you are communicating your organisation’s packaging sustainability goals (e.g. in your packaging sustainability strategy) and packaging guidelines (SPG or equivalent) to your entire supply chain, in particular immediate upstream (tier 1 suppliers) and downstream contacts (business customers). Tier 1 suppliers are those that provide goods or services directly to your organisation.

Level 2: Good Progress

At this level, your organisation provides support to suppliers to improve their understanding of packaging sustainability goals and strategies, e.g. through regular dialogue or training. Initiatives that build knowledge and capacity amongst suppliers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, will improve the organisation’s ability to achieve its packaging sustainability goals. These initiatives could be the provision of detailed guidelines or training sessions.

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Level 3: Advanced

At this level, your organisation collaborates with key suppliers to share knowledge and improve packaging sustainability. Look for opportunities to harness suppliers’ sustainability expertise to identify opportunities for improvement. At a minimum, this can be achieved through regular face-to-face meetings to share information and ideas for improvement. Collaboration goes beyond the duration of an individual contract, e.g. it could involve longer-term initiatives to develop a new packaging material or packaging format, etc.

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Level 4: Leading

At this level, your organisation has business processes to evaluate supply chain risks and opportunities for influence throughout the entire supply chain. Risks and opportunities can be evaluated in different ways, for example by analysing individual suppliers, risks/opportunities in their supply chains and capacity to influence. Alternatively, or in addition, purchase categories could be mapped against key sustainability issues to identify risks and opportunities.

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Level 5: Beyond Best Practice

At this level, your organisation has put in place processes to monitor and track compliance with key packaging sustainability requirements throughout the entire supply chain (e.g. beyond tier 1 and both up and down the supply chain) (full traceability). This could be done, for example, by developing a scorecard methodology to monitor sustainability criteria along with service, quality, delivery, cost etc. Regular review meetings with suppliers will provide an opportunity for both parties to communicate, share concerns and foster good business relationships.

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