Since the BBC aired Blue Planet 2 in 2017, the conversation around the use of plastics has continued to hit the headlines with increasing regularity and is of growing concern to consumers and governments alike. The UN Environment Programme estimates that plastics constitute “as much as 95 percent of the marine litter found on coastlines, the sea surface, and the ocean floor”. And when it comes to plastics it is packaging which is the biggest culprit, with the UK alone producing over 2 million tonnes of plastic packaging every year. Given the gravity of the global plastics crisis, businesses can no longer assume that unsubstantiated claims, pledges, or pacts around their use of plastic will be enough to secure the public’s trust in their brand. Now more than ever they need to prove the ways in which they are cutting the use of plastic and adopting alternative, compostable, materials through a robust certification process.
Research by YouGov suggests plastic usage in food packaging is the top concern amongst consumers when it comes to food production. The research suggests that 8 in 10 are trying to cut down on the amount of packaging they buy, and half would be willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging. And so, when it comes to public trust and brand image, Brandwatch rightly discuss how “photographs which show discarded brand packaging leave a damaging legacy… (and) isn’t the way that brand managers tend to want their logos appearing on the internet”.
Furthermore this plastics crisis is permeating discussions across local, national, and international levels of government, with bans, reduction plans and charges being three popular policy tools. For both consumers and businesses, this is where the importance of independent certification comes into play.
At Control Union UK, we have a broad array of plastic related certification and verification schemes, which companies of all size and from all sectors can engage with in order to reduce their plastic impact, meet regulations and secure the public’s trust for the long term. These schemes are:
Over the coming weeks we will be shining a light on each of these certifications in turn, to help you understand in more detail what makes them credible, how they are helping businesses to tackle the plastics crisis, and which might be relevant for your organisation.
Keep an eye out for articles and case studies, and sign up for our webinar on 19th May to find out more.