European Brands Assn. says European Parliament has adopted a balanced and future-proof approach to labelling and packaging minimization measures, but says the PPWR proposal fails to ensure full harmonization of labelling requirements

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November 27, 2023 (press release) –

AIM, the European Brands Association, welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament of its position on the proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.

AIM members support the objectives set out in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) and are fully committed to continuously improving the eco-design of their packaging solutions to achieve these objectives. The improvements adopted during the voting session of the European Parliament will contribute to the creation of a balanced and future-proof framework for the labelling and minimisation requirements.

We welcome in particular the adoption of clarifications in the text to:

  • Allow for the use of digital means to provide information to consumers. This is crucial to ensure that manufacturers have the necessary flexibility to provide information whenever it is not possible to display it on the packaging due to its limited size or the need to fit other mandatory information required by EU legislation. This will allow the proposal to be future-proof and provide opportunities to adopt innovative solutions, including the way information is provided to the consumer.
  • Allow manufacturers to reduce the weight and volume of their packaging while protecting intellectual property rights on the packaging and permitting reasonable packaging design differentiation. This is key to avoiding the standardisation of the packaging and ensuring that the minimisation of the weight and volume is carried out while allowing for reasonable design differentiation, considering the shape of the packaging and the functions to be performed, as well as ensuring the protection of relevant intellectual property (IP) rights. The design of the package, with its differentiated volume and shape, is in many cases intrinsically and inseparably linked to the product itself, contributing to the immediate identification of the product/brand by the consumer and building a trust-based relationship. Packaging design can also play a role in preventing counterfeiting, which is facilitated by standard or simple shapes. For counterfeiters, placing illegal goods on the market becomes easier for them the more standardised and simple packaging becomes. Moreover, differentiated volume and shape of the packaging are often inherent to the product brand identity and equity, reflect know-how, or tradition and cultural heritage (e.g., seasonal products, perfume bottles, wines and spirits), that can highlight brand equity, product type and/or geography, and support premiumization and brand elevation. As such they are often protected under intellectual property (IP) in the EU – including, but not limited to, trade marks, registered designs and protected Geographical Indications. Intellectual property, which can also protect packaging, plays a vital role for those sectors whose businesses rely directly on the added value of their innovations and the tangible and intangible values of their products.

However, AIM regrets that the text adopted by the European Parliament still fails at ensuring the full harmonisation of the labelling requirements, which is paramount to safeguard the integrity of the Single Market. Particular attention to this aspect should be given during the upcoming negotiations with the European Commission and Council.

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Jason Irving
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