The Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) recently called for revisions to the Sustainability Accounting Standard Board’s (SASB) proposed Containers and Packaging Standard in a letter to SASB, in which PPC and other prominent packaging organizations asserted that several aspects of the standard should be clarified if it is to be a viable metric for assessing sustainability performance across the packaging industry.
A proposed sustainability accounting standard for the packaging industry, SASB’s Containers and Packaging Standard aims to provide investors information on packaging companies’ relative sustainability performances. A draft, recently released for public comment, contains proposed metrics for calculating sustainability topics such as water and energy management, product safety, materials sourcing, and product life cycle management.
In response, PPC, the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), Ameripen, the Glass Packaging Institute, the American Chemistry Council, and the Flexible Packaging Association identified several issues of concern. The proposed standard does not account for the diversity of the packaging industry, thereby limiting the validity of the metric. It also uses nation-specific rather than internationally recognized standards, thereby complicating the reporting process for global companies. Furthermore, since many companies already report sustainability metrics, adoption of the SASB standard may lead to duplicate and/or inconsistent sustainability reporting that may confuse shareholders and create legal risks.
In general, the response calls for SASB to clarify its standard and become more transparent in its development process, so as to create a flexible and voluntary standard that works for both the packaging industry and its current and potential stakeholders.
“Although we do not endorse the Sustainability Accounting Standard Board’s proposed packaging standard, we have offered our assistance in revising the document,” said Ben Markens, President of PPC. “By working collectively with SASB and other packaging industry organizations, we can make sure that the voice of the folding carton industry is heard throughout the revision process.”
To learn more about policy issues currently affecting the paperboard packaging industry, visit the Knowledge Center at paperbox.org.