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Packaging and Product Liability for Unilever Essay

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Updated: Sep 15th, 2022

The European Union is always viewed as a model of regionalism or regional cooperation because of its developed units and agencies. The Union has always influenced member states to follow the provided strictly, especially on matters related to the environment. The European Union is determined to preserve the environment through the idea of sustainable development. Directive related to the management of packaging waste was first introduced in the late 1980s. The directive affected the performance of many companies, including Unilever because they had to readjust their packaging systems to comply with the new law. In particular, directive 85/339/EEC specifically covered the packaging of liquid products for instance beverage containers. Any product to be consumed by humans was to be packaged in a container (Dams 2008, p. 17). However, the policy was considered ineffective to bring about the synchronization of policies of various member states. Member states expressed their concerns over the law because it affected their industries in several ways. This paper explains the effects of the directive on the introduction of new sustainable packaging. The paper also looks at the relevance of the directives in Europe. This is accomplished by describing the process through which the laws are formed. It is noted that many companies, including Unilever, were affected greatly because they had to come up with laws that were a complaint to the provisions.

In 1992, the commission charged with the responsibility of overseeing policies related to packaging proposed a comprehensive policy on packaging and waste management. The council of ministers and the European Parliament adopted the proposal and enacted it as directive 94/62/EC. The directive influenced the packaging system of companies because its main aim was to harmonize national measures to respond to the standards of the commission. Unilever had to come up with extensive policies to cope with the new challenge because it had to observe the environmental laws when designing the packaging materials. Other companies that were threatened by the presence of Multinational Corporations had an advantage since the new law aimed at safeguarding them from the unnecessary competition. The law ensured that the internal markets of member states were functional implying that they could not rely on external markets for production. Unilever was affected since it relied on other countries for the supply of packaging materials (Noel 2009, p. 20). The law provides extensive policies on packaging waste, reuse of packaging materials, and recovery of packaging waste.

The law was evaluated in 2004 because of the loopholes witnessed in many markets. The new law clarified the term packaging. It also gave a clear definition of the term to include recycling of packaging waste. In 2005, some member states complained that they did not have time to adjust to the new laws. The law was amended to include a transitional clause, which allowed members to adjust to the new policies with time (Solomon 2010, p. 19).

The directives play a critical role as far as the regulation of packaging materials is concerned. This means that the law was created to protect the interests of the consumer. It is observed that the consumer has always suffered in the hands of manufacturers because they are provided with goods that are not packed by the health standards. The law made it a mandate of all companies to consider the effects of the packaging materials on the health of consumers. The laws are created through consensus. It is widely accepted that consumer security and environmental degradation are some of the global problems meaning that they are global commons. The European Parliament is concerned with the passing of the laws. The laws are drafted by the council of ministers and are taken to the parliament for subsequent approval.

List of References

Dams, A 2008, Law for business students, Pearson Longman Harlow.

Noel, H 2009, Consumer behavior, AVA Academia, Lausanne.

Solomon, M 2010, Consumer behavior: a European perspective, Prentice Hall, Harlow.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Packaging and Product Liability for Unilever'. 15 September.

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