One idea that may continue to gain momentum over the next few years is the implementation of an environmental tax. Such a tax would be based on the “carbon footprint” of a product. A carbon footprint is based on the amount of greenhouse gas emitted to build a product.
One need not look much further than the massive east coast destruction caused by hurricane Sandy to find increased motivation for a carbon tax. Many are saying that global warming is causing more severe and destructive storms. Many politicians may look at the 2012 election results as a mandate to implement more environmental controls and with the pressure to reduce the deficit mounting, any kind of added tax is going to be seriously considered.
We think that most ecologists would agree that trying to determine the exact carbon foot print of a product is impossible. But a carbon tax is sure to have an impact on shipping and packaging. There are probably two major areas of consideration relating to shipping and packaging:
- The packaging materials used
- The distance that material is transported to produce a product
Packaging materials: Paper-based vs. plastic based.
Plastic gets a lot of bad press because of the issues that occur at the end of its life, but if the criteria is based strictly on greenhouse gasses produced, paper based material is hands down the bigger environmental culprit and probably would command the larger eco tax. One wonders how reusable packaging materials would play into this equation.
Distance Shipped: Obviously the further materials travel the more greenhouse emissions generated. Products and materials exported from china or other countries would get taxed accordingly. Depending on the severity of the tax, resourcing decisions could change the global manufacturing landscape.
Whether or not an eco tax gets implemented in the near future is pure speculation, but regardless of the changes that take place in the shipping and packaging industry, Packnet will stay on top of the issues so that they can create the best packaging solutions to meet your needs.