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A Green Deal to challenge packaging

DETIC takes up the gauntlet!

Everyone knows how important packaging is for a product. It protects and preserves the contents, provides information for the consumer and contributes to the product’s image and marketing. The Flemish Government has decided to set a major challenge for packaging in the form of a Green Deal designed to promote bulk selling or the reuse of packaging in the DETIC sectors. And it is quite a challenge as it has to contend with countless constraints in terms of safety, hygiene, regulations and feasibility. In fact, contrary to popular opinion, it is not easy to do away with packaging. The cosmetics sector is amongst those in which quality and safety constraints are the most difficult to overcome. Similarly, the challenge is equally great in the detergents sector where the stringent regulations applied are essential to protect consumers.

The Flemish agency (OVAM) and four professional federations (DETIC (non-food), Fevia (food industry), Comeos (distribution), and VIL (logistics sector) have joined forces to create a strong partnership to take up this challenge and promote new consumption habits. The aim is to reduce product packaging whilst complying with the regulations and hygiene and quality requirements that are essential to ensure consumer safety. DETIC is asking its members to participate proactively and undertakes to promote the Green Deal within the federation, coordinate the initiatives put forward and link up with universities and colleges. It will also ensure that the Green Deal is a springboard for good ideas that lead to a real reduction in the environmental impact of products while, at the same time, maintaining a high degree of safety for consumers and end-users. There is no room for ideas which appear good but only at first sight.

A flexible structure with substantial resources

packaging green deal

The Green Deal comprises two parts, the first of which is a creative period that will last for one year. During this period, companies taking part in the Green Deal will be able to seek and hopefully find solutions. It should be noted that firms can participate without having concrete projects and can take advantage of this creative period to develop or refine an innovative, new or pre-existing solution. The second period, which will last for two years, will involve developing the project in practical terms, either alone or in a partnership. For this period, thanks to funding provided by Fost Plus, the sum of EUR 600,000 has been set aside to help companies. The total budget is EUR 1.7 million over four years. It is worth mentioning that, during the creativity period, DETIC would like to conduct objectivation studies in order to provide scientific value to support the choice of packaging and to draw up guidelines for companies. Studies will be conducted with universities and colleges to achieve this. On the one hand, the aim will be to objectify potential choices on the basis of life-cycle assessments and, on the other, to carry out a consumer acceptance study. After all, it is important to find out whether consumers really will change their consumption habits and opt for bulk purchases and/or refill packaging, and to assess the limits of such a sales model.

No strict performance obligation but a strong signal to boost creativity

Companies signing up to this Green Deal will not be subjected to any performance obligation. The undertaking only concerns the development and implementation of a project, and there is no penalty if the project fails since even a failed idea can provide results from which constructive conclusions can be drawn. The Flemish Government’s aim is to promote a new way of selling cosmetics and detergents by trying to find solutions which reduce the environmental impact. This is the strength of the Green Deal, the main focus of which is to boost creativity at the company level.

Over to enthusiasm

DETIC strongly urges its members to take part in this initiative. In fact, many DETIC members are already involved in projects that aim to reduce the environmental impact of their products by changing methods of consumption. The Green Deal offers these companies a real opportunity to demonstrate their determination to move forward and to test projects on the market. Those submitting ideas have nothing to lose and everything to gain! The Green Deal is open to all companies, both Belgian and European, the only condition being that projects must be tested and developed on the Flemish market.

Further information about the Green Deal Anders Verpakt is available here, but please do not hesitate to contact DETIC if you have any questions.