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Big Brands Launch Sustainable Packaging Trade Group

Big-name companies such as ConAgra, Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg, Procter & Gamble, DuPont and Dow Chemical formed a new trade organization to give industry a voice on policy issues related to sustainable packaging.

The American Institution for Packaging and the Environment (AMERIPEN) launched this week in the mold of its European and British forebears, EUROPEN and INCPEN. The group plans to lobby for science-driven sustainable packaging policies that don't favor any one type of material over another.

"We want to make sure that the people who are making decisions are doing so based on data and not perception," said Joan Pierce, AMERIPEN president and vice president of global design and packaging at Colgate-Palmolive.

In a phone interview this week, Pierce said the organization would function with a "material neutral" voice. But first, the group will reach out to packaging industry stakeholders to identify opportunities to work together on issues that include improving the sustainability of packaging and reducing waste.

"Specifically, we'll be collaborating with existing trade associations. We want to enhance and support their organizations and learn about the programs they've implemented and how they all fit together," Pierce said. "We'll be bringing together the individual voices -- be it plastics, metals, glass, paper or aluminum -- bringing together those who are interested in that value chain to make sure industry has the appropriate voice and alignment."

AMERIPEN will fill a different role than that of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), the industry working group that provide tools, education and best practices for the industry.

"We've been in conversations with them for awhile about possible ways we could work together, and they presented on AMERIPEN to our membership at our members-only meeting in September 2010," said an SPC spokesperson.

Many companies will likely be members of both, Pierce said.

"They generally do more specific research projects," she said. "AMERIPEN is looking for a point of view that represents its membership and industry."

Members also include The Coca-Cola Company, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, MeadWestvaco, Sealed Air Corporation and Tetra Pak Inc. 

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Bakar_88.

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