What a wild ride! The year 2023 has barely allowed us to catch our breath when it comes to sustainability policy and the packaging industry. We take a brief look back at key packaging-related regulations for you and look ahead to next year and the topics of green claims, food contact, chemicals and due diligence legislation. We also tell you what should definitely be on your work plan in the area of sustainability in 2024.
We discuss the PPWR in detail further in the policy section of this newsletter. Here and now we will focus on the numerous other regulations.
Are you still with us? The bullet point list for the review of the many packaging-related regulations in 2023 is long, even if we only pick out the most important ones. We provide links to key articles from our 2023 newsletters for you to read and explore in more detail.
- EU Deforestation Regulation with implications for the folding carton industry
On 16 May, the Council of the European Union adopted the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), which came into force across Europe 20 days after its publication. This will be followed by a transitional period of 18 months (micro-enterprises have 24 months). In all likelihood, the requirements will therefore come into force from December 2024.
- The reporting standards (ESRS) for the Corporate Sustainability Directive (CSRD) with implications for all companies with more than 250 employees
The guesswork is over: The European Commission adopted the first 12 European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) on 31 July 2023. The ESRS will have a massive impact as a central component of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). In our article, we highlight the most important aspects for you. We show you which ESRS are mandatory and what reporting content is required, how ESRS relate to other standards and what companies need to do now to be prepared for the new political requirements.
The Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) is the German implementation of the so-called EU Whistleblower Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union of 23 October 2019). It was promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette on 2 June 2023 and came into force on 2 July 2023.
The adoption of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) affects all companies in the mechanical engineering, tooling and aluminium packaging sectors. The Regulation on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and has been in force since 1 October 2023.
The Single-Use Plastics Act was passed, along with the penalties for certain single-use products due from 2025. The payments are based on the volume (kg) placed on the market in 2024. Other EU countries have also launched their SUPD implementations.
- The micro-plastic regulation
The EU Commission has adopted measures that not only prohibit the sale of microplastics per se, but also of products to which microplastics have been deliberately added and which release these particles during use. The German Representation to the EU Commission provides information here.
- The EcoDesign Regulation, for which an agreement was reached between the Council and Parliament on 5 December 2023.
- Green Claim Directive
Packaging will be subject to the EU directive on environmental claims, the so-called Green Claim Directive. A final agreement on the directive is expected by April 2024. Its aim is to regulate more precisely which environmental claims may be made about various products in order to prevent greenwashing in the marketing of products. Only once it has been adopted, will there be final clarity on what data is required in the EU in order to be able to label and advertise products as carbon neutral, renewable or plastic-free, for example. We already presented details on the Green Claims Directive in October.
- Food contact materials
In addition, the European Commission is preparing further legislation to ensure the safety of food contact materials. The impact on packaging materials is unavoidable as most packaging in Europe is used for food packaging.
- Chemicals and microplastics legislation
Last but not least, there will also be a lot of work for chemical experts in packaging companies. This is due to the new chemicals and microplastics legislation currently being drafted, which will have an impact on packaging materials and further increase companies’ reporting obligations.
- The European Due Diligence Legislation (EUDDD)
On 14 December 2023, the EU Parliament and the Council of the Member States reached an agreement on the EUDD. This makes an introduction from 2025 likely. It is also clear that significantly more companies will be affected by the EUDDD than by the German Supply Chain Act. Specifically: all companies with 500 or more employees and a global turnover of over 150 million euros.
It is clear that the stream of regulations will not stop. Don’t wait until you are faced with a fait accompli, but prepare yourself for the facts.
What should be on your sustainability work plan for 2024
- Prepare for the CSRD reporting obligation, tackle the double materiality analysis and start the climate scenario risk assessment (see also the linked article in the “Sustainability” section).
- Approach labour and human rights assessments for own sites and selected suppliers – mandatory for LkSG, CSRD and EUDDD
- Understand the new EcoVadis rules and adapt the assessment.
- Company Carbon Footprint and Product Carbon Footprint.
- Examine the packaging portfolio for the effects of the PPWR, the SUPD (single-use plastics legislation), the EU Deforestation Regulation and the Green Claim Directive
We at B+P will continue to endeavour to shed light on the legal jungle for you and provide you with practical guidance – both for the sustainable development of your company and your products.