Making sense of sustainable labeling

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Global label converters have been coming under ever increasing pressure in terms of their environmental performance and ‘green’ credentials in recent years. Almost every issue of label and packaging industry trade magazines carries news and features on the topic, conference sessions discuss the issues, trade associations have committees and panels, and industry suppliers and leading converters are regularly promoting their environmental credentials.

But the challenge today is significantly wider than basic environmental performance. It’s about waste streams, life cycle assessment and documented waste management programs, FSC/SFI/PEFC and chain of custody certification, about packaging disposal, carbon footprints, renewable resources, global supply and distribution chains, label sustainability, energy targets, association programs, issues of excess packaging, the recycling or reuse of used packaging and label materials, development of on-pack recycling logos and consistent consumer labeling schemes, pack and label reduction targets, increasing potential pack reuse, biodegradability, the building of waste composting targets, etc. Almost every month sees some kind of new initiative.