The conversation around the use of plastics has hit the headlines with increasing regularity and is of growing concern to consumers and governments alike. The UN Environment Programme estimates that plastics constitute “as much as 95 percent of the marine litter found on coastlines, the sea surface, and the ocean floor
”. And when it comes to plastics it is packaging which is the biggest culprit, with the UK alone producing over 2 million tonnes
of plastic packaging every year. Given the gravity of the global plastics crisis, businesses can no longer assume that unsubstantiated claims, pledges, or pacts around their use of plastic will be enough to secure the public’s trust in their brand. Now more than ever they need to prove the ways in which they are cutting the use of plastic and adopting alternative, compostable, materials through a robust certification process.
Research by YouGov suggests plastic usage in food packaging is the top concern amongst consumers when it comes to food production. The research suggests that 8 in 10 are trying to cut down on the amount of packaging they buy, and half would be willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging. And so, when it comes to public trust and brand image, Brandwatch rightly discuss how “photographs which show discarded brand packaging leave a damaging legacy… (and) isn’t the way that brand managers tend to want their logos appearing on the internet”.
Furthermore, this plastics crisis is permeating discussions across local, national, and international levels of government, with bans, reduction plans and charges being three popular policy tools. For both consumers and businesses, this is where the importance of independent certification comes into play.
At Control Union, we have a broad array of plastic related certification and verification schemes, which companies of all size and from all sectors can engage with in order to reduce their plastic impact, meet regulations and secure the public’s trust for the long term. These schemes are:
- Plastic Free certifies that end products, packaging and materials contain 0% plastic.
- Responsible Plastic Management Through this scheme businesses to report on their reduction of plastic use across their organisation. Certification gives them the opportunity to show how they are working towards a circular plastic economy.’
- Ocean Bound Plastic is designed to encourage the removal of ocean bound plastic from the environment by adding value in effectively collecting and treating it before it reaches oceans.
- Global Recycle Standard is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions
- Recycled Claim Standard has 100% and Blended versions, these standards track recycled raw material through a supply chain to verify its presence in a final product.
- ISCC Plus is focused on recycled plastics and bio-based materials. It assists businesses in their transition towards a circular plastics economy.
Over the coming weeks we will be shining a light on each of these certifications in turn, to help you understand in more detail what makes them credible, how they are helping businesses to tackle the plastics crisis, and which might be relevant for your organisation.
Keep an eye out for articles and case studies, and sign up for our webinar on 19th May to find out more.