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Big name retailers such as Unilever, P&G and Kraft Heinz have come in for criticism recently for failing to put recycling labels on all their products, leading to consumers throwing away material that could be recycled.
There are measures in place to try and encourage recycling, but arguments are being made that they don't go far enough and that governments should introduce legislation that makes labelling, in terms of how consumers can dispose of packaging, clear.
Before any such legislation is introduced procurement should take the lead on the issue and ensure that the business can introduce this ahead of time and at an effective price point.
When it comes to advising consumers on recycling waste, such labels on packaging are an effective tool. 50% of consumers will throw items away if they are unsure if they can be recycled or not, according to media firm Upworthy.
Procurement holds the key to the relationship with the company's packaging suppliers and so can work with them to bring in such labels in a way that will clearly tell consumers what they need to do with the packaging without adding significant costs.
That will involve category managers talking with suppliers at the design stage and communicating the company's needs clearly and effectively.
It may be a small change but it has the potential to make a big impact in terms of sustainability measures.
The challenge will come in trying to convince the business to spend money on such an initiative. However, there are arguments that can be made to ensure that that investment comes. Consumers care about sustainability and it is something that increasingly matters to them when they are purchasing goods.
If they recognise your products as sustainable that can have a positive impact on revenues and demonstrate a positive impact that a focus on sustainability can have.
Beyond that, it will also show that procurement can take the lead on a project, which adds significant value both to the company and its customers.
This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders' content team.
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