European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee report falls short of ensuring a harmonised, future-proof and balanced framework for packaging
Brussels, 24 October 2023 – AIM, the European Brands Association, welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee of the report on the proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, but regrets it is not sufficient to ensure a harmonised, balanced and future-proof approach to the labelling and minimisation of packaging.
AIM members support the objectives set out in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) and are fully committed to further innovation to improve the eco-design of their packaging solutions and achieve these objectives. For this to happen, it is paramount that rules ensure 1) full harmonisation to avoid the creation of any barriers to the free movement of goods in the Single Market, 2) clarity and balanced approach for branded goods manufacturers, and 3) a future-proof approach that fosters innovation.
AIM regrets in particular that the text adopted by the ENVI Committee missed the opportunity to:
- Foster the use of digital means to provide information to consumers on sorting instructions, reusability and recycled content. This is necessary especially when the provision of such information is not warranted due to the limited space available on packaging and the need to fit other mandatory labelling requirements. Digital means would allow manufacturers to have the necessary flexibility, minimise their packaging, and provide up-to-date information to the consumer (without having to continuously change the artwork of their packaging).
- Ensure a fully harmonised approach to labelling requirements, pivotal for the preservation of the Single Market. Member States should not be allowed to require national or regional symbols to identify packaging covered by extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes.
- Protect relevant intellectual property rights protecting the packaging design. Although we support the intention behind the mention of “Community design rights” under Article 9(2), we believe this is not sufficient to safeguard the IP rights for distinctive packaging designs that can be protected by other categories of IP rights (e.g., three-dimensional trade marks, patents or copyright), beyond the design rights or geographical indications included in the legislative text.
- Recognise the role of packaging in the presentation of the product and allow for reasonable packaging differentiation. As acknowledged by Article 3(1), packaging plays a key role for branded consumer goods as it performs several functions, from ensuring the safety of the packaged good, to allowing its transportation for distribution, to presenting the packaged good to the consumer. The design of the packaging, with differentiated volumes and shapes, is in many cases, intrinsically and inseparably linked to the product itself, contributing to immediate identification by the consumer. It is often inherent to the product brand identity and equity, reflects know-how, or tradition and cultural heritage. As such, it is often protected under IP rights in the EU. Packaging design can also play a role in preventing counterfeiting, which is facilitated by standard and simple shapes. Article 9 and the performance criteria should acknowledge the functions listed in Article 3(1) and avoid prescribing maximum limits for the weight and volume of the packaging, as this would de facto lead to a standardisation which undermines brands’ identity and freedom to design packaging.
- Ensure an applicable framework for environmental claims related to the packaging. We support the clarification brought by Article 12b on environmental claims, which is broadly aligned with the horizontal rules set out in the proposal on Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition. However, the reference to the Green Claims Directive, whose discussion started only recently and whose rules will not be applicable by the entry into force of the PPWR, will create a legal void.
“The PPWR is the EU’s greatest opportunity to bring together the objectives of the Digital and Green transition for a competitive European economy, harnessing digital tools to communicate green objectives to consumers. It’s regretful ENVI has not supported this digitised approach in 2023, nor is it taking the opportunity to support the EU’s competitiveness by protecting the core of innovation, intellectual property” commented Michelle Gibbons, Director General of AIM. “We urge the Parliament to take these points into account in the forthcoming plenary so we have a future-proof framework for innovation and competitiveness in the EU”.
AIM is therefore calling on MEPs to address these shortcomings by tabling appropriate amendments in plenary, to ensure the adoption of a clear, harmonised and balanced legal framework for packaging and packaging waste.
For further information, please contact: Simona Camilli
Tel: +32 2 736 03 05 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AIM (Association des Industries de Marque) is the European Brands Association, which represents manufacturers of branded consumer goods in Europe on key issues that affect their ability to design, distribute and market their brands. AIM’s membership comprises 2500 businesses ranging from SMEs to multinationals, directly or indirectly through its corporate and national association members.
More information: www.aim.be