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Diageo pledges over sustainable packaging

Diageo is aiming to change consumer perceptions that lighter packaging means a product is less valuable than others.

In releasing its first “Sustainable Packaging Guidelines”, the world’s biggest drinks group pledged to cut the average unit weight of product packaging by 10% by 2015.

In defining sustainable packaging, the company said it was a choice with the “lowest possible environmental footprint… ensuring the required functionality to protect, deliver and present our product and brands”.

Andy Fennell, chief marketing officer at Diageo, said: “Packaging is vital in delivering and protecting our valuable brands – and increasingly customers and consumers are demanding more sustainable packs from all leading consumer goods companies.

“Wal-Mart, for example, has established a comprehensive packaging scorecard on which suppliers are evaluated. These new guidelines will be adopted throughout our business to ensure we drive year on year improvements. ”

David Gosnell, Diageo’s president of global supply & procurement, added: “This is an important milestone that will ensure a consistent approach to developing new packaging and reviewing existing packs.

“The guidelines will not only help us meet our stretching sustainable packaging targets for 2015 but also support our engagement with customers and consumers – and further embed our position as corporate leaders in environmental sustainability.”

Diageo’s commitment to sustainable packaging includes identifying the potential for light weighting packaging, increasing the use of recycled content and optimising packaging for recycling or reuse.

The company moved to allay fears that lighter packaging would be more prone to breakages, saying that it valued its brands too highly and robustness must be ensured.

“This way, we don’t, for example, increase the number of breakages in transport because the packaging is too fragile,” said a Diageo statement.

“In fact, if our packaging can have a second life and be re-used, we may even consider ‘heavyweighting’ in certain circumstances.”

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