The 'EPR' regulation, which stands for Extended Producer Responsibility, has been introduced to the UK from the start of 2023. Producers of packaging now have more responsibility than ever to be transparent with their data. Specifically, businesses selling, importing, and handling packaged goods, who are defined as "producers". If companies already have the data, Defra expected them to start reporting on it from 1 January 2023. These regulations apply across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, each governed by their respective regulations.
The introduction of EPR is part of the country's Net-zero carbon emissions scheme, aiming to increase awareness among producers about sourcing, design, and the end-of-life treatment of packaging. Read more here.
Procurement managers have been facing the new challenges that come with being more environmentally conscious to comply with EPR, which has already been evaluated as being more expensive than the plastic packaging tax.
With most new regulations there comes a heightened emphasis on your carbon footprint as a business. As a procurement manager, this is another addition to the long list of environmental practices you're already keenly aware of, so it is crucial to evaluate and select packaging materials that align with your company's sustainability principles. Research and identify suppliers offering eco-friendly alternatives like recyclable, compostable, or reusable packaging materials.
I know we mentioned earlier how some businesses call it an expensive new change, but the return on this investment far outweighs the costs. Think of the savings in waste management, reduced environmental impact, and the overall benefits it has already had on your brand's reputation. (it could even be a new opportunity for your business to become a new leader in environmentally-friendly solutions). But of course, you can't just ignore the financial impact, so you need to ensure you have evaluated the cost-effectiveness of your current supplier situations. Consider bulk purchasing or explore alternative materials that balance sustainability with effective pricing.
Make sure your suppliers are competent! Have you introduced more stringent supplier compliance requirements in-line with these new laws? Ensuring you have the most responsible and professional suppliers, who are willing to follow your sustainability practices. If you haven't already, this should be done in collaboration with your legal and compliance teams to make sure nothing is missed. By diligently managing supplier compliance, procurement managers can mitigate the risks associated with non-compliance, penalties, and reputational damage.
It all comes down to how proactive you are with procurement, as procurement managers play a pivotal role in driving sustainable packaging practices in line with the EPR laws. Their collaboration with suppliers, focus on sustainability criteria, and commitment to cost-effective solutions, will contribute to achieving compliance, reducing the company's carbon footprint and positioning their organisations as leaders in another chapter of sustainable business practices.
Let us be your cure! At Summit Creative, we take out the mind-numbing management process of dealing with dozens of different suppliers who all have their own needs and processes by handing you the keys to your brand portal. What better time than now to have an all-in-one business to help you stay confident in managing stricter supplier regulations? [Get in touch](https://www.summitcreative.co.uk/contact-us
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