Fundamentals – not fundamentalism

Already the headlines are showing an interesting year: House prices are up not down; the service sector is on the rise not waning.

Christmas as usual has been duly enjoyed – despite the untimely and unseemly mid-December own-goal by Grant Shapps MP on how he thinks we should celebrate it.

Plot reversals, turnabouts and unbriefed politicians speaking out of turn are, of course, the perennial stuff of drama. And drama, like it or not, is increasingly the stuff of the media.

However, today’s infotainment often does less than nothing to help serious issues – and does nothing either for common sense or for common purposes such as our national recycling targets.

This month, Government and industry, as planned, are working closely together with each other in order to review and improve our current recycling practices and targets.

From where I sit, both parties are ready and equal for the task. Both are proving to be sensitive to the needs of the supply chain. Both are mostly refraining from ill-informed and ‘flaming’ comments. Both are conscious of the need to not impose further financial burdens on manufacturing margins that the UK can ill afford.

If I was in the hoping or wishing business for 2012 – sadly I’m not – I would ask that our industry and society could be granted a reprieve from headline grabbers and from fundamentalisms of various kinds.

Progress would then be much more assured. We could also deploy fundamentals in exactly the right way.

What are those fundamentals? Let me – without apology – restate them as follows.

  • Packaging is a net environmental benefit: It saves much more waste than it produces
  • Packaging conserves the resources and products that society wants
  • Packaging offers shoppers choice – a variety of goods and a variety of types of goods (brands) – all day, every day.

I am personally looking forward very much this month to helping Defra, BIS and their associates increase the resource efficiency of UK plc with these three simple truths in mind. I hope that they become the cornerstone for our joint continuing and effective work in this area through this year and beyond.

Happy New Year!

Dick Searle

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