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Galen Weston (Loblaw): “Reduce the negative impact of plastic packaging on our environment”

TORONTO – Galen Weston, Chairman & President of Loblaw, in a letter to national brand supplier partners, talks about reducing the negative impact of plastic packaging on our environment. 

“Loblaw – Weston writes – has always aspired to make a positive difference in the communities we serve – from support for women’s health and children’s hunger, to a wide range of sustainability efforts, like dramatically reducing our carbon footprint and food waste years ahead of plan. In each instance, suppliers play an important role in our ability to drive impact. Today, I am writing about what I believe is among the most urgent and imminent challenges we face as an industry: plastic waste”.

“At a time when some estimate we consume an entire credit card’s worth of microplastics in our food and water each week, the imperative is clear. And, it is gaining momentum with consumers and government. We see the result, with bans on single-use plastics and a range of other incremental regulation, all of which adds complexity and cost for us as manufacturers and retailers”.

“Responsible for one third of plastic waste, our industry will only see that pressure grow. That is why I joined Alan Jope, global CEO of Unilever, as co-chair of the Consumer Goods Forum’s coalition of action on plastic waste. Together with worldwide manufacturers and retailers, we have purposefully developed nine pragmatic solutions for how we can move towards better plastic packaging, and use less of it”.

“Known as the ‘Golden Design Rules’, they offer a practical path to ease the burden of plastic waste through industry action rather than incremental regulation. Designed alongside plastics experts, they have been endorsed by the world’s largest retail and CPG companies – including many of your global headquarters – representing trillions in global revenues and much of the world’s plastic packaging. Many of those leaders contributed to this recent video on the group’s progress”.

“Here in Canada, momentum behind this proactive approach is growing. In early 2021, more than 20 of our industry’s largest companies endorsed the first Golden Design Rules. The newly formed Canadian Plastic Pact (CPP) has continued to shape the rest of the rules. Just last month, it announced that 30 of the nation’s largest retail and CPG companies have endorsed Golden Design Rules”.

“Late last year, I sent a letter much like this to our control-brand and in-store packaging suppliers. In it, we relayed our new internal packaging standards inspired by the Golden Design Rules. We are already beginning to make change, find solutions, and drive for our goal of 100% recyclable or reusable plastic packaging by 2025”.

“Like Loblaw, many of you have started the journey to a more sustainable future. We hope that progress and innovationon plastic packaging is also an urgent and energetic topic for national brands like yours. I encourage you to review the following links:

  • Canada Plastics Pact, Golden Design Rules Announcement here
  • Canada Plastics Pact, Golden Design Rules Microsite here
  • Packaging Association of Canada, “Golden Design Rules Essentials Course” here
  • FYI only: The Loblaw Materials Guidance Document for control-brand and in-store packaging vendors can be found on the Loblaw vendor portal. 

…as plastic becomes an increasingly important part of the relationships with our suppliers, we are providing this information in hopes that you will join us on this journey to address the plastic problem and help illuminate the best path forwards. Please – Weston concludes – expect to hear more from us over the year”.

Pic from the website

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