The Australian Retail Association (ARA), Australia’s largest retail peak body, welcomes the results of today’s Environment Ministers’ meeting which will accelerate Australia’s transition to a circular economy, but which will add unnecessary complexity to the transition. I warned you not to.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said while retailers are making steady progress in transforming packaging and implementing circularity, there is a lack of harmonization and cooperation across states and territories. He said this made the changes unnecessarily complex and costly.
Mr Zahra said: “Australia’s journey towards a circular economy requires strong collaboration between industry, all levels of government and educated Australian consumers. Solving environmental problems is a shared responsibility. Only by working together can we achieve the desired results.”
“Minimizing the environmental impact of packaging is a key challenge for our field, but current approaches have limitations, leveling the playing field, stifling innovation, and reducing sustainability. The transition to possible packaging has been slow.
“As long as government regulation is not more costly than co-regulation, we welcome the move to regulate packaging design and mandate minimum standards for recycled content. This will give retailers and suppliers the ability to make positive changes quickly and with confidence. We believe this will give us the certainty we need to have and deploy it.”
“We also recognize the common intention of governments at all levels regarding product stewardship, which plays a key role in the transition to a circular economy. We are experts in implementing and managing schemes that are already making a positive difference for consumers and the environment.
“However, ARA remains cautious about the proposed recycled content traceability framework, which will add complexity and cost for retailers who want to use more recycled content, and which will leave virgin material more attractive.” may produce undesirable results.
“While we fully support the proposal to develop a robust process around traceability, this is a very ambitious initiative with no global precedent. It is important to start voluntarily to encourage first movers to invest in innovation and infrastructure, even if there is an unacceptable and potentially unavoidable compliance risk for the rest of the sector,” said Zahra. said.
The communiqué also outlined measures to improve planning and response to reduce the environmental impact of natural disasters.
“We applaud the natural disaster planning measures announced today. However, we are committed to working with industry to guide and support communities through climate-related crises such as bushfires and floods. I once again request that measures be taken.”
“Governments, businesses, and community organizations collectively have learned a lot from recent disasters. We know these risks have increased, but there is no consensus on how to respond when these disasters occur. A national framework with a set of steps is not yet in sight.
Zahra said: “We will only succeed if governments, industry and communities understand and work together to plan, whether it’s managing the effects of natural disasters, accelerating the transition to a circular economy or embracing product stewardship.” .
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