Published on 21 - June - 2012
Retailers take the lead with greener products campaignA "ground-breaking" new collaboration setting out to reduce the environmental impact of everday products, from DIY materials to dairy produce, is being spear-headed by more than 80 organisations of retailers and suppliers.
The Product Sustainability Forum (PSF), set up under the umbrella of Government waste reduction body WRAP, has pledged to cut the total environmental footprint of a wide range of consumer goods. Everyday products are responsible for an estimated 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the British Retail Consortium.
The new forums will measure the impact of products for the first time across a range of sustainability targets including carbon, water, use of raw materials, energy and waste, and identify how best to make them more environmentally friendly.
The BRC says this co-ordinated approach will allow industry to make "far more significant progress on environmental targets than can be achieved by businesses working alone."
BRC head of environment Bob Gordon said: "Retailers have made substantial progress in reducing the environmental impact of their businesses, addressing everything from how they heat their stores to the type of packaging goods are sold in. But the biggest prize is something retailers don't have total control over - cutting the overall impact of the goods they sell.
"This new collaboration will help businesses find the best ways to manufacture, transport, store, display and dispose of a wide range of products so they have the smallest possible impact on the planet. It's truly ground-breaking."
It comes as retailers and suppliers step up sustainability efforts for Recycle Week 2012 (June 18 - 24) in a bid to reduce waste. The Less Packaging Company recently unveiled four new concept designs to reduce packaging waste. It claims these cost less to produce, use less energy and are as robust as existing packaging designs.
As an example, Less optimised the packaging required for a standard dinner service set, resulting in 25% saved on packaging, 8% on cube and 30% on cost. Less partner Ian Bates said: "We as an industry have a responsibility to be designing the waste and non-recyclability out of packaging right now, it is what the consumer wants.
"The expertise and technology to precycle is available today but sometimes other priorities get in the way. Packaging has an important role to play in getting products safely from the factory to the consumer but it can often be done more efficiently."
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