European Brands Assn. welcomes adoption of European Council’s position on packaging legislation, but regrets failure of member states to ensure protection of distinctive packaging and establish future-proof labelling requirements

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December 19, 2023 (press release) –

– AIM, the European Brands Association, welcomes the adoption of the Council’s position on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) but regrets the failure of EU Member States to ensure the protection of distinctive packaging and establish future-proof labelling requirements.

AIM supports the clarifications made under the packaging performance criteria that manufacturers will rely upon in the assessment of the minimisation of the weight and volume of the packaging. Moreover, AIM supports the intention behind the proposed changes in the labelling requirements which aim to avoid Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) symbols being displayed on the packaging while ensuring the full harmonisation for future Deposit and Return System (DRS) symbols.

Moreover, AIM supports the intention behind the Council's recent amendments aimed at safeguarding distinctive packaging covered by Community designs and registered Trade Marks. This represents an important stride towards the protection of designs safeguarded by intellectual property rights.

However, the Council missed the opportunity to introduce legal clarity and technical feasibility in the minimisation requirements, through the establishment of a realistic timeline and the possibility for manufacturers to preserve the shape of the packaging when minimising the its weight and volume. Furthermore, the adoption of the requirement to define maximum limits for the weight and volume of packaging will inadvertently result in a standardisation of packaging, which undermines Brands' identity, with a consequent negative impact on key packaging functions related to the presentation of the product, including Brands' competitiveness, innovation, and the consumer identification of the packaged product.

We furthermore regret the lack of opportunity to truly implement a digital transition to provide information through digital means when there is limited space on the packaging. This will make the labelling requirements impractical, as manufacturers will be required to minimise the volume of their packaging while having to fit information requirements, and will not set the PPWR on track to be ‘future-proof’ legislation.

"Our Brands and their distinctive packaging are part of the Intellectual Property (IP) Rights industry, which represents 47.1% of the EU's GDP. At a time when we need to focus on both the EU's objectives on competitiveness, and the digital and green transition of the economy, the PPWR should not weaken our ability to protect creativity and foster innovation", commented Michelle Gibbons, Director General of AIM. "The PPWR should reconcile the need to protect the environment and the economy, so we have a balanced, future-proof framework".

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