Environmental labelling in focus

Interview with Michel FONTAINE
Jul 2011
Waste and loss prevention of mass-market products: The key role of packaging
Aug 2011

Environmental labelling in focus

Starting on… July 1st, 2011
The article 228 of the Grenelle II Act (see December 2010 CNE’s newsletter) states that “starting on July 1st 2011 and after consulting with all actors of the relevant sectors, an experiment will be carried out for at least a year in order to progressively inform consumers, by all appropriate means, about the carbon equivalent values of products and packagings, as well as the impact on natural resources or natural habitats of those products throughout their life cycle.”

 

By July 1st, this national and voluntary experiment will thus start under the aegis of the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing (MEDDTL) and with the support of the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) and the French national organisation for standardisation (AFNOR), which are supervising works on interprofessional organisations in order to establish referentials for product markets. The good practice reference document, entitled BPX30-323, defines the general principles for environmental labelling of FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) products.

 

The French Packaging Council (CNE) reminds us that environmental labelling applies to the product/packaging combination throughout their life cycles. It is based on a multi-criteria – among which carbon equivalent value – evaluation.
168 companies and groups of companies responded to the MEDDTL’s call for participation. They represent a wide range of markets, products and sizes (for more information, see the French Ministry’s press release: http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/Mise-en-place-de-l-affichage.html in French).

 

During the experiment, all referentials will not be available or applied as companies can use existing methods to carry out the environmental analysis of their products.

 

In the coming year, it will be possible to use any “tangible” (packaging, catalogues, leaflets, etc.) and/or dematerialised supports (dedicated Website, mobile Internet, etc.). Indeed, between the operational reality associated with the technical implementation of such a project and the July 1st deadline, the enforcement date was given priority and compromises had to be made. However, this one-year period will be used to test several display possibilities and to evaluate downstream the consumer’s perception and attitude with regards the “format” of environmental information. This will also allow for assessing whether this information is sincere, objective and complete* (as much as possible, insofar as some data are still provisional).

 

With the support of its members, the CNE will keep you posted on the progress of the experiment, the implemented measures, the first results, the potential obstacles and the associated solutions.

 

*Extract from the Grenelle I Act