Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Australian businesses have expressed a commitment to sustainability throughout their entire supply chain, creating opportunities for Wisconsin companies.

With the global movement toward environmental consciousness, the sustainable packaging industry is experiencing significant growth. Australian companies and industry actors have pledged to better manage their packaging waste, resulting in a move towards a more circular economy for packaging. The shift toward recyclable materials, especially with highly visible in-store retail packaging, means demand for sustainable packaging material across the supply chain will only increase.

The increasing awareness of environmental damage and changing attitudes toward commercial single-use plastic packaging has become the driving force behind the demand for innovative alternative packaging that is reusable, recyclable or compostable. The Australian government has expressed its commitment to ensure that 100% of all Australian packaging meets that criteria through its 2025 National Packaging Targets.

A funding package of $203 million AUD ($136 million USD) announced in 2019 directed toward initiatives to increase recycling and reduce waste reflects Australia’s agenda in driving and delivering those sustainability targets. As part of the package, The National Consumer Education Program will receive $1.1 million AUD ($740,000 USD) to create a consistent national approach to consumer education on reducing, reusing and recycling packaging over the next four years.

An additional $1.6 million AUD ($1.1 million USD) in funding will support the development of a Circular Economy Hub, a new online platform and marketplace that will help drive innovation in the transition to a circular economy in Australia. In addition to highlighting the latest sustainability education and resources, the site will match buyers and sellers in waste resources to help them identify products with sustainable materials, including recycled content. This online marketplace functionality will help to build the critical end markets for recycled products in Australia and provide essential education to the supply chain about the availability of sustainable options.

A number of Australian retail, logistics, manufacturing and waste management businesses have expressed a commitment to sustainability throughout their entire supply chain, providing windows of opportunity for Wisconsin exporters to meet renewed industry demands. Companies and organizations supporting the pledge include Aldi, ALGA, Amcor, Australia Post, Boomerang Alliance, Chep, Close the Loop, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coles, Detmold, Goodman Fielder, Lion, Metcash, Nestlé, Orora, Pact Group, Planet Ark, Redcycle, Simplot, Suez, Tetra Pak, Unilever, Veolia, Visy and Woolworths.

Revenue of the Australian packaging industry generally is expected to grow at a stable rate of 1.9% annually to a total of $2.3 billion AUD ($1.5 billion USD) in 2023-24. With increasing consumer interest in the environmental impact of the products they purchase, existing industry players are increasingly expected to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability through investment in research and development.

Wisconsin exporters are encouraged to review the regulatory framework of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organization and their Sustainable Packaging Guidelines to familiarize themselves with the expectations of Australian companies that have affirmed their obligation to reduce the environmental impact of consumer packaging.