spiritsEUROPE, the representative body for the spirits industry at a European level, has welcomed the decision of EU environment ministers to exempt spirits from mandatory re-use targets for packaging.
EU environment ministers reached an agreement on PPWR (Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation), which also includes improved provisions to safeguard packaging diversity, distinctive designs and Intellectual Property (IP) Rights, the body said in a statement.
Sarah Melina Siebel, director, internal market and sustainability at spiritsEUROPE said, commented, “We welcome the decision of EU environment ministers to exempt spirits from mandatory re-use targets and to align their approach on this point to the one taken by the European Commission and the European Parliament.
“This is the most sensible and sustainable approach forward – and will help preserve bottle diversity in the future while delivering real sustainability benefits on the ground.”
While minimisation requirements will further improve the carbon footprint of packaging, such provisions should not come to the detriment of creative, innovative and distinctive packaging designs protected by Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) under EU and international legislation, spiritsEUROPE noted.
According to Ulrich Adam, director general of spiritsEUROPE, it remains unclear why the council distinguishes between trademarks on the market and future ones – which will not get the same level of IPR protection - as it may hinder innovation and artificially distinguish products in "an unhelpful way".
Adam stated, “Packaging is, and will always remain, a central pillar of spirits brands. It plays a key role in consumers’ unique experiences and competitive dynamics in the sector. We can and should not compromise on quality, functionality, brand equity and consumer preferences.”
“We now count on the co-legislators to agree a reasonable and workable compromise which safeguards the existing IP Rights for iconic spirits drinks – and their bottles – and excludes them from mandatory minimisation criteria whenever they could jeopardise existing IP Rights on packaging”, he added.