Glass Packaging: Preserving Competitiveness and Innovation in the EU
In the dynamic world of international trade, products packaged in glass, such as wines and spirits, have long been a significant contributor to the EU’s external trade balance. However, the European Commission’s proposed Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) has raised concerns about the future of packaging design and its potential impact on the competitiveness of these products and their contribution to EU trade.
Leading the charge against the proposed PPWR’s packaging performance criteria are three influential associations: FEVE, spiritsEUROPE, and CEEV – Comité Vins. These associations represent the spirits, wine, and container glass sectors, and their goal is to safeguard the interests of their members while supporting the objectives of the PPWR. Together, they are fully committed to enhancing product sustainability and reducing packaging weight to achieve cost savings and lower carbon footprints.
While these industry organizations align with the overall objective of minimizing packaging, they express serious concerns that the current PPWR proposal may excessively restrict packaging design. This restriction could have far-reaching negative consequences on consumer choice, product value, brand identity, and the overall competitiveness of the European industry.
Design plays a pivotal role in building brands, elevating products, achieving premiumization, creating differentiation, and gaining consumer recognition. Packaging acts as a representative of the product it contains and the brand itself. Regrettably, the exclusion of ‘consumer acceptance’ and ‘marketing and product presentation’ from the packaging performance criteria (Annex IV) linked to packaging minimization (Article 9) poses a significant risk of standardized packaging design, potentially diluting the uniqueness and appeal of products.
Numerous packaging designs embody the rich traditions, cultural heritage, and expert craftsmanship of the EU. Intellectual Property (IP) rights, including Geographical Indications and trademarks, play a vital role in sectors that rely heavily on the added value of their innovations and the tangible and intangible qualities of their products. These IP rights are instrumental in ensuring the competitiveness of brands in both the EU and global markets, while also combatting counterfeit activities both offline and online.
Beyond its health and environmental benefits, glass possesses unique characteristics in terms of design, transparency, shapes, colors, and versatility. It seamlessly integrates with the product it contains, enhancing brand recognition and appealing to discerning consumers.
Glass-packaged products significantly contribute to Europe’s reputation, image, competitiveness, and profitability on the global stage, resulting in boosted exports and a positive impact on the EU’s trade balance. In fact, products contained in glass account for a substantial EUR 250 billion in EU external trade.
The sectors involved firmly believe that it is crucial to recognize and appreciate the added value of packaging within the product itself, along with the diverse functionalities that packaging offers to drive innovation, competitiveness, and sustainable growth.
To ensure the optimization of packaging, both in terms of volume and weight, while preserving its ability to fulfill its packaging functions and allowing for reasonable and proportionate design differentiation, it is imperative to consider the full industry position on this matter. To access the complete industry stance, please click here.
Source: FEVE with additional information added by Apazone