Product stewardship portal: results of industry consultation

A web-based product stewardship Portal is being developed by Infoactiv to support the understanding and implementation of product stewardship by Australian businesses.

This report provides an overview of the objectives and proposed content of the Portal. It also presents the results of the initial industry consultation that was undertaken, with the support of the Department of Environment and Energy, to inform and guide its development.

The consultation involved an on-line survey, which received 89 responses from a diverse range of industry sectors and professions. Follow up interviews were conducted with 20 individual business representatives to explore some of the issues in more depth.

The feedback from industry stakeholders was generally positive, with most respondents expressing interest in a web-based resource for information and advice on product stewardship. Respondents were particularly interested in accessing relevant standards, guidelines, legislation, product-specific information and a directory of service providers.

While not rated as highly as other aspects of the Portal, over two-thirds of survey respondents said they or their colleagues would be likely to use a self-assessment tool (‘health-check’) that helped them improve their organisation’s understanding and capability in product stewardship.

Download a copy here.

Posted by steve macintype 4:24am 24th July 2017 No Comments

Product stewardship in action published

Product stewardship in action: the business case for lifecycle thinking has just been published by UK publisher Greenleaf.

Written primarily for a business audience, Product stewardship in action draws on the knowledge and experience of industry practitioners and other experts to provide a structured approach to product responsibility within firms.

Chapters on corporate strategy, packaging, e-waste, batteries, strategies and trends in product stewardship are supported by numerous case studies. These include a number of leading stewardship programs across a range of products:
– Resene Paintwise
– PVC Product Stewardship Program
– Foodstuffs packaging design
– REDcycle soft plastics recycling
– Glass Packaging Forum
– Close the Loop cartridge recycling
– Fisher & Paykel appliance recycling
– TechCollect TV and computer recycling
– MobileMuster phone and battery recycling
– Call2Recycle phone and battery recycling
– Battery World battery recycling

Unlike other resources on product stewardship and extended producer responsibility, which tend to focus on the design or evaluation of public policy, this book highlights the business case for action. It argues that companies can achieve ‘shared value’ – both public and commercial value – when they take a proactive and knowledge-based approach to the life cycle management of their products.

Copies of the book can be ordered here

Posted by steve macintype 2:56am 29th November 2016 No Comments

Business case for packaging sustainability

Companies that take a strategic approach to packaging sustainability can achieve multiple business benefits. This was the message from a project undertaken by Helen Lewis and Patrick Crittenden for the Australian Packaging Covenant in 2014. Industry case studies were used to identify seven strategies for success:
1. Involve staff from across the business
2. Build partnerships with external stakeholders
3. Use established business processes wherever possible
4. Focus on multiple benefits
5. Find and report early wins
6. Use other business developments to progress packaging sustainability
7. Recognise achievements.

The project explored the business case for packaging sustainability by examining successful projects in eleven signatory companies. A written case study is available for each of these: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, D&D Technologies, Kathmandu, Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark Australia, Metcash, Nestle, Nutrimetics, Officemax and Super Retail group.

A summary is provided in The business case for packaging sustainability: drivers, benefits and strategies.

Posted by steve macintype 11:09pm 1st June 2015 No Comments

Product stewardship in action

A new book by Helen Lewis will draw on interviews with industry and government experts to provide a practical and thought-provoking guide to product stewardship. Called ‘Product stewardship in action: The business case for ecodesign and extended producer responsibility’, the book is expected to be published by Greenleaf (UK) in late 2015.

The concept of ‘extended producer responsibility’ has been widely discussed in government reports and academic papers. This book fills a gap for practitioners by exploring a wider range of stewardship strategies including design for sustainability, supply chain initiatives and product take-back. The book has a strong focus on product stewardship from a corporate perspective, using industry case studies to identify the drivers for change, successful business strategies and the benefits of voluntary action. It also considers the role of government regulation and new regulatory models that combine voluntary actions with government oversight.

Helen has been closely involved in stewardship programs for plastics, packaging and batteries. She is the part-time CEO of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) and has been closely involved in the design and implementation of the Australian Packaging Covenant. Helen has co-authored two books: Design + Environment, Greenleaf, 2001 (with John Gertsakis); and Packaging for Sustainability, Springer, 2012 (with Karli Verghese and Leanne Fitzpatrick).

Posted by steve macintype 2:10am 10th October 2014 No Comments

The role of packaging in food waste

A recent report from RMIT University and Helen Lewis Research for CHEP Australia highlights the potential for packaging to play a greater role in reducing food waste in the supply chain.

Food security is an emerging challenge for policy makers and companies in the food supply chain. The global population is expected to grow to 9 billion and demand for food by 77% by 2050. Over the same period food production will be under threat from climate change, competing land uses, erosion and diminishing supplies of clean water. One of the solutions to this dilemma is increased efficiency and waste reduction in the food supply chain.

Helen Lewis will present the results at the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) National Conference on 17-18 June 2014.

The role of packaging in minimising food waste in the supply chain of the future can be downloaded here.

Posted by steve macintype 5:42am 26th April 2014 No Comments

Design smart material guides

The Australian Packaging Covenant has published a set of resources to assist those involved in the design, specification and procurement of packaging. The Design Smart Material Guides were written by consultants Sustainable Resource Use (SRU) and Helen Lewis Research.

The ten guides provide a ‘checklist’ of sustainability considerations to keep in mind when designing and/or specifying packaging based on particular materials. They cover fibre packaging, rigid plastic packaging, flexible plastic packaging, aluminium containers, steel containers, glass containers, composite packaging formats, degradable plastics packaging and packaging components/closures/labels.

The guides can be downloaded here.

Posted by steve macintype 3:48am 2nd March 2014 No Comments

Packaging for sustainability book published

Packaging for sustainability, edited by Karli Verghese, Helen Lewis and Leanne Fitzpatrick, was published in April 2012.

The packaging industry is under pressure from regulators, customers and other stakeholders to improve packaging’s sustainability by reducing its environmental and societal impacts. This is a challenge because of the complex interactions between products and their packaging, and the many roles that packaging plays in the supply chain.

Packaging for sustainability is a concise and readable handbook for practitioners who are trying to implement sustainability strategies for packaging. Industry case studies are used throughout the book to illustrate possible applications and scenarios. Packaging for sustainability draws on the expertise of researchers and industry practitioners to provide information on business benefits, environmental issues and priorities, environmental evaluation tools, design for environment, marketing strategies, and challenges for the future.

The book can be ordered or downloaded from the Springer website.

Posted by steve macintype 4:47am 26th April 2012 No Comments