Last July, the CNE published its new eco-design methodological guide for packaged products; could you explain to us how CNE documentation is prepared?
The CNE documentation is a result of the collective work of its partners and members: over a six-month period and during 4 half-day meetings, participants to our working groups discuss very specific topics. Usually, a CNE document is made thanks to the pieces of information and ideas debates of 20 to 40 people.
Regarding the eco-design methodological guide, let me thank the 23 people who contributed to its writing. People from the whole value chain of packaged products, be it designers, packagers, marketers, stakeholders at the end of the packaging’s life, consumers or environment NGOs, or public institutions such as the ADEME (French Agency for Environment and Energy Management).
Let me also place a reminder that it is also a guide for any eco-design of a packaged product, and not of a packaging because, for the CNE, a packaging’s eco-design does not really make sense, since the consumer, or user, buys a packaged product indeed; they do not buy packaging.
What major elements should stakeholders in the packaged product industry remember from this eco-design documentation?
This guide is a considerable overhaul of the 2012 document, considering the European and national legal framework and the societal evolutions regarding packaging; it was important to update it. As a major evolution, I suggest remembering two essential prerequisites before beginning any elaboration of a product and its packaging:
- Being in compliance with current regulation
It may seem obvious, but it goes better with repeating!
- Working altogether, each setting out their constraints and solutions:
« Altogether » means ALL stakeholders, the company’s departments as well as external stakeholders (designers, machines and packaging suppliers, consumers, etc.)
Beyond these 2 prerequisites, 4 topics compiling 26 questions to ask oneself have been identified by the working group:
- The packaging to the benefit of the packaged product
- The packaged product to the benefit of the consumer/user
- A reduced environmental impact of the packaging
- The packaging after the consumption of the product.
This methodological guide thus proposes 26 questions for a successful eco-design. Could you give us some examples?
I would invite the reader to download the document on our website. It is free and can be found here: https://conseil-emballage.org/en/eco-design-of-packaged-products-methodological-guide/
The questions must be asked while caring about the whole packaging system (primary and secondary packaging, as well as transport packaging), respecting the use by the consumer or user (it should not degrade the provided service), while thinking an analyze of the complete, multi-criteria and multi-stages cycle of life of the packaged product. Those points must be considered at each stage of the life cycle of the packaged product, whether during production at the supplier’s, during product’s conditioning, logistics, storage, preservation/protection, during the fight against the loss/spill of the product, use and at the end of its life, its packaging’s new life.