6 Sustainability Principles Help Inform Decisions

Insight into how the American Institute for Packaging and the Environment looks at sustainability ensures that all involved parties are aligned to speed advancements in sustainable packaging.

Dan Felton, Executive Director

January 26, 2022

2 Min Read
Rancz Andrei / Alamy Stock Photo

A new set of Sustainability Principles from AMERIPEN, the American Institute for Packaging and the Environment, were designed to help communicate and inform the organization’s approach to sustainability. When we meet with legislators and other packaging stakeholders, having a set of principles that explains how we engage in dialogue, consider policy, and educate on packaging choices helps define expectations.

AMERIPEN’s principles are focused on engagement and communication of how packaging decisions should be made. The AMERIPEN principles have been designed to complement, not compete with, the definition of sustainable packaging from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) or any other design guideline. The AMERIPEN Sustainability Principles came out of dialogue with members as they were seeking ways to better align policy advocacy with corporate sustainability goals and to promote how they balance the value of packaging with environmental priorities.

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The following six principles help provide a framework through which the industry can advocate and communicate around sustainable packaging systems.

Innovating: To advance a sustainable packaging system, AMERIPEN commits to support and promote innovations across the packaging value chain — from raw material and design to recovery and end markets.

Optimizing: AMERIPEN seeks to optimize packaging materials while minimizing negative environmental impacts across the packaging value chain from raw material to design and to end-of-life management.

Educating: AMERIPEN drives initiatives that help close the knowledge gap between supply chain partners so we can collectively advance a systems perspective of packaging sustainability.

Advocating: AMERIPEN advocates for progressive, proactive, and evidence-based policies and strategies to advance sustainable packaging systems.

Collaborating: AMERIPEN collaborates with stakeholders across the packaging value chain to advance packaging sustainability.

Transparency: AMERIPEN seeks transparent dialogue amongst all stakeholders. Open dialogue about successes and challenges will help explore unintended consequences and uncover valuable solutions necessary to advance a sustainable packaging system.

These principles will inform much of our strategy for engagement as we seek to work with stakeholders to advance our collective goals of a sustainable packaging value chain. In addition to testing our policy work against these principles, we also intend to report bi-annually on members’ efforts related to sustainability. Although not a report per se, AMERIPEN started this process in November 2021 with the release of its first round of Sustainability Stories that highlights collaborative successful member efforts across the packaging value chain to increase packaging recycling.

In releasing its Sustainability Principles (which you can download by clicking the Download button below), AMERIPEN hopes to inspire a process of engagement to advance the necessary conversations the industry must have to create a more sustainable future.

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About the Author(s)

Dan Felton

Executive Director, AMERIPEN

Dan Felton is executive director of AMERIPEN — the American Institute for Packaging and the Environment — an association that represents the US packaging value chain by providing policymakers with fact-based, material-neutral, scientific information. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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