Big Packaging Debate highlights carbon labelling obstacles

01st March 2012 - Fine Cut

The problems associated with carbon labelling were highlighted by a panel of experts at the Big Packaging Debate.

EdieWaste reporter Maxine Perella said that several key figures were involved in discussions at Birmingham's Packaging Innovations show on Wednesday (February 29th), with the general consensus being that such labels will not happen in their current form due to excessive complexity.

Tom Heap, a freelance broadcaster, pointed out that it is not just the manufacturers' actions that may need to be considered when creating printed labels of this kind, since a consumer's behaviour may add a great deal of energy into the equation. For example, a raw potato has a significantly higher carbon footprint when it is baked in the oven for an hour by a customer.

Stuart Lendrum, head of packaging and design at Sainsbury's, said: "I don't see a point where we'll have such a metric on-pack - it doesn't help and is meaningless for the consumer. What we do need is something like that at product system level which will allow us to focus on hotspots during lifecycle analysis."

Another expert on the panel was director of carbon management consultancy Giraffe Innovation Rob Holdway, who pointed out that sustainable packaging and manufacturing practices must be considered within wider environmental issues, according to Packaging Europe.

In his opinion, the ultimate goal is resource efficiency, which must be backed up by government policy, consumer interest, scientific research and analysis.

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