Packagers, prepare to address another scorecard

U.K.'s Asda to roll out its own version of Walmart's packaging scorecard in 2010.

No surprise that Walmart's U.K. supermarket subsidiary Asda has “put together a think-tank of experts known as the Sustainable Value Network…consisting of representatives from packaging firms, trade associations, academics, [and] Asda staff.” The goal: Launch an initiative by the beginning of next year aimed at reducing packaging used by Asda suppliers and boosting recycling rates.

In a Food Navigator.com report, Dick Searle, chief executive of the U.K.'s Packaging Federation declared, “Anything that looks at packaging holistically must be good.” Well, it's good that an organization like this supports packaging, after all the media mudslinging focusing at what's perceived as excess packaging. But won't this be another restraint for consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) selling products in the U.K.? No doubt the Walmart scorecard is a thoughtful, complex document, although I'm curious about the environmental gains made as a result of the scorecard.

During a phone interview on a separate subject yesterday, I spoke with a package design firm representative who “questioned” some of Walmart's scorecard demands in light of all the other responsibilities and demands of a package. CPGs, for the most part, must understand the social and environmental importance of delivering sustainable packaging. Do they really need to meet another set of demands, which could potentially thwart package innovation?
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