Following last year’s DTI competitiveness study, the main UK packaging manufacturing trade associations have agreed to join forces with the Packaging Federation in a bid to forge closer links between the various organisations and better represent industry interests to Government with one strong, common voice.

As of 1 January the Federation became both a representative body of the major packaging manufacturers as full members and of allied trade associations as affiliate members. Affiliates to initially partner the Federation are Pro Carton [the Association of European Cartonboard and Carton Manufacturers], LFCMA [Liquid Food Carton Manufacturers Association], MPMA [Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association], British Glass, PIFA [the Packaging and Industrial Films Association] and BPF [the British Plastics Federation].

Says Packaging Federation chief executive officer Ian Dent: “This is a significant step forward for the industry, as it will enable us to address the common challenges facing packaging manufacturers.

“Although all our members battle fiercely with each other in increasingly competitive markets, those trade associations with a significant packaging sector interest recognise that external legislative forces are often more effectively addressed collectively. It is both to our advantage and the Government’s that a consistent, co-ordinated voice is presented for the whole industry.

“The competitiveness study stressed the need for this, particularly on the ‘macro’ issues. These range from ensuring UK packaging companies are not unfairly disadvantaged by the Packaging Waste Regulations and other European legislation to how best to address the growing trend for brand owners to centralise packaging buying in mainland Europe or simply move production overseas.”

Dent says the Federation’s focus will remain as an information and communication vehicle for the UK manufacturing industry, with a “special interface” with opinion formers such as politicians, civil servants and the media. Equally, the affiliated trade associations will keep their individual focus on material sector lobbying, marketing and technical issues.