"Better a Bad Regulation than no Regulation?"
3/19/2024 Retail Brands Industry Look into Europe Article

"Better a Bad Regulation than no Regulation?"

At the German Packaging Congress in Berlin, around 300 representatives from the industry discussed current political and economic issues under the motto "Packaging 2024: Shaping Europe's future". The German Institute (dvi), organizer of the congress, also announced its newly eletced Team of board members.

Impression of the dvi packaging congress 2024. The dvi's German Packaging Congress took place in Berlin under the motto "Packaging 2024: Shaping Europe's future".
The opinion among the almost 300 participants at the German Packaging Congress of the German Packaging Institute (dvi) was clear: according to a show of hands survey, most of them were in favor of the PPWR negotiated to date. However, many had attached a "but" to their "yes". During the course of the congress, several representatives of the packaging industry stated that they did not like the regulation, but that they finally wanted uniform regulations in the EU and a conclusion to the negotiations. The congress participants were therefore eagerly awaiting the presentation by Judith Skudelny, the environmental policy spokesperson for the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag. In response to questions from the audience and from moderator Claudia Fasse, for the first time, she declared publicly that the FDP would agree to the Packaging Ordinance along with the German government. The official result came the next day: after months of wrangling, the project achieved the required majority in the vote of EU ambassadors on Friday, March 14. The coalition government had previously agreed to give its consent.
A woman and a man standing in front of the German Packaging Congress 2024 poster. Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and the new Chairman of the dvi, Thomas Reiner, before the opening of the German Packaging Congress.

Keynote Speech by Federal Minister Lemke

The most prominent speaker at the dvi Congress, of which FACHPACK is a premium partner, was Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Grüne), who described the trilogue agreement as "excellent news". "The German government was able to push through all of its demands in the trilogue," she said. "It was important to us that the well-established German reusable system remains in place within the new legal framework. The trilogue result is a compromise, but it is a good compromise. An imperfect regulation is better than no regulation," said the Environment Minister. Turning to the FDP, she said that it would be negligent to jeopardize this. It was not a question of "talking about little sugar sachets", but of getting systematic changes underway.

The demand for secondary raw materials had to be boosted, and rich Europe had a role model function: it could show that and how sustainability works. She warned against throwing the baby out with the bathwater. "Plastic packaging also makes sense in many places," she explained. And even if Lemke still preferred to drink her coffee from a porcelain cup, consumer habits had changed considerably over the past 30 years and this would have had an impact on packaging.

In addition to the current political situation, best practice examples of recyclable packaging and sustainable supply chains were presented by representatives of major brands and retailers. On the topic of transformation in the value chain, Dietmar Böhm, CEO of PreZero International, said that circularity starts with packaging design. However, paper as a packaging material is not always the solution. Mono plastic packaging is often the right choice from the point of view of waste disposal companies. Heike Vesper, Director of Transformation Politics and Economy at WWF Germany, explained that the gap between waste volumes and recycling rates in Germany is still too wide. The environmental protection organization WWF is calling for a so-called resource tax on packaging for all materials, which all initial distributors should pay. As expected, this proposal met with little enthusiasm from the audience. Christoph Zeiler, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, from Metsä Group, emphasized the sustainability of fibre-based packaging. The manufacturer of folding boxboard is owned by 90,000 Finnish forest owners.
Founded in 1990, the dvi is owned by around 250 companies from all areas of the value chain - this is what makes the network so unique.

Reiner Back at the Helm

During the congress, the dvi announced a new management team that had been elected by the members. The new Chairman of the dvi is Thomas Reiner. As a co-founder of the dvi, the CEO of the Berndt+Partner Group was already its Chairman of the Board from 2006 to 2018 and was appointed Honorary Chairman last year. The members elected Oliver Bruns, CEO of Gundlach Verpackung GmbH, as Deputy Chairman of the Board. The new Treasurer is Michael Arndt, Managing Director of FIXUM Creative Technology GmbH. Immo Sander, Head of Business Development DE BE NL at ALPLA Werke Lehner GmbH & Co KG, is the new Secretary. Sabine Gauger-Wahl (OPTIMA packaging group GmbH), Dr. Nabila Rabanizada (REMONDIS Recycling GmbH & Co. KG) and Maresa Zimmermann (Henkel AG & Co. KGaA) are also members of the board. The new Management Board was elected for a period of three years in accordance with the Articles of Association.