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L’Oreal Adds Two Sustainable Packaging Assessment Tools

L’Oreal USA has introduced two assessment tools to reduce the environmental impact of its package design.

The beauty company is now using the Sustainable Packaging Alliance’s Packaging Impact Quick Evaluation Tool (PIQET), an online system that identifies and reviews actions to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, particularly at the design development stage.

L’Oréal is also using a sustainable packaging scorecard (SPS) that it developed and piloted last year. The SPS allows L’Oréal to evaluate the sustainability of its product packaging and assess each new product using seven criteria: bio-plastics, recycled materials, PVC, certified paperboard, use of light-weighting techniques, packaging volume relative to fill weight and primary packaging size, and use of PIQET.

The SPS then assess each product on a point scale with a corresponding color code of green, yellow and red. The system allows L’Oréal not only to improve its packaging but to track improvements over time, the company said.

PIQET allows companies to quickly enter packaging specifications, manufacturing data and distribution information, and then run various scenarios by changing the packaging specifications. The process typically takes 15 to 30 minutes, according to the PIQUET website.

Cadbury Schweppes, Nestle Australia and Mars Australia were all involved in development of the tool, which was first released in Australia in 2008, and developed for global use in 2009.

“Although we have made significant inroads in reducing the environmental impacts of our product packaging, there is still much more to do,” said Philippe Bonningue, L’Oréal USA’s vice president of packaging and development of corporate operations. “In addition to testing new materials from renewable sources like green-PE, bio-PET and PLA, and identifying opportunities for refillables, light weighting, recycled content and the use of cardboard from only certified wood sources, we are committed to offering consumers more sustainable product choices.”

L’Oréal is a member of the Sustainability Consortium and the Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Packaging Project, and is ranked by Corporate Knights as one of the 100 most sustainable corporations in the world. L’Oréal USA, headquartered in New York City, had over $4.6 billion in revenues in 2009.

The global market for sustainable packaging is projected to reach $142.42 billion by 2015, according to a report from Global Industry Analysts (GIA). The study found that more than 600 new beauty products with a green label were introduced in Europe in a two-year period, driven by consumer preference for eco-friendly plastic packaging materials.

Personal care companies Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble are among the major U.S. firms that this week announced the formation of the American Institution for Packaging and the Environment (Ameripen), a trade and lobby group for sustainable packaging.

P&G’s past announcements on sustainable packaging include a pilot of sugarcane-derived plastic on selected packaging for its Pantene Pro-V, COVERGIRL and Max Factor brands.

Recently, household and cosmetic product manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser announced it is halfway to its goal of reducing its products’ impact on climate change by 20 percent by 2020. The company’s measurement of carbon impacts includes emissions embedded in packaging and raw materials, as well as production, travel, customer use and disposal.

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