Could a data solution by the horticulture sector, for the horticulture sector, hold all the answers to our EPR problems?

by | Dec 12, 2023 | Business, Features, Horticulture, Innovation, Technology | 0 comments

EPR info from Ecoveritas

Nothing changes if nothing changes. And now, more than ever, real change requires a generation of leaders and businesses that think and act differently.

As garden centres, growers and nurseries continue to prepare for a landscape proactively dealing with climate change – and more specifically, packaging waste – they have very little to lose and everything to gain with regards to embarking on a new sustainability journey and setting meaningful targets around packaging sustainability.

We all know that change is hard. It’s unsettling, time-consuming, and all too often, we give up at the first sign of a setback. And while we appreciate the scepticism from businesses – really, we get it – the fact remains that those who handle the challenge well can prosper.

For all of its flaws – and yes, some remain – Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and its data collection and reporting functions for packaging will prove that running financially sustainable business and doing the right thing can happily co-exist. If you want to know how to make your packaging more sustainable and how to sell your brand better to your customers, packaging data holds the key. It can help you thrive despite the disruption and changing consumer values.

Ecoveritas supports businesses with collecting and reporting packaging data for EPR. We’ve been calculating and completing submissions for businesses around the world for 20 years now, and across various sectors. That work varies from collecting packaging data and metrics and doing the reporting for EPR.

Ecoveritas has been working with the Horticultural Trade’s Association (HTA) for about 10 years now, and we’ve been helping the membership with a solution to complete their submissions under the current packaging regulations.

As we now move into a period of new reporting requirements under EPR, Ecoveritas has been working hard over the past six months to make sure that we can also provide a solution that will help with EPR reports in the future. The process hasn’t been a straightforward one because of all the uncertainly around EPR, but we fully expect to be in a position to be able to offer enhanced support in the coming months.

We know all too well how complex the reporting process can be, and now that the obligation thresholds are changing, the legislation will impact a larger number of SMEs and businesses in the horticulture industry – and that those businesses might find it difficult! Even the prospect of having to collect packaging data from suppliers, and there may well be hundreds of suppliers if they stock a large product range, can mean increased labour and costs.

With rising compliance costs on the horizon, there is a lot of pressure on companies to submit accurate data. As a solution, Ecoveritas will be providing the horticulture sector with a software tool that will help businesses comply confidently with EPR. my.ecoveritas is a cost-effective way of managing your EPR data and reporting in-house. And it takes away the burden of having to collect packaging weights from suppliers.

The tool has been specifically built for garden centres, nurseries and growers, and we have taken into consideration the packaging that the industry handles. With the used methodology having already been approved by the Environment Agency, it should give you that added peace of mind that it meets the accuracy standards under EPR regulations.

Garden centres, growers and nurseries handle a small amount of packaging, but it can vary quite a lot, and unlike larger businesses, they may not have access to sophisticated systems for collecting packaging data and to complete the complex reporting requirements – until now!

my.ecoveritas does the hard work in matching the weights to your sales and purchase data, and the entire process has been designed to give step-by-step support and guidance.

There are six steps to get to the final report. Once you have created an account, you can build up a company profile, which is done through a series of questions that asks about your business activities, whether you import packaging, and whether you sell your own branded packaging. my.ecoveritas.com  will then use that company profile to advise what data is required. Once data is uploaded, it is then verified, and the tool will then match the weights against sales and purchase information. At that point, users can generate their EPR report in a format that can be submitted directly to the government portal, or to a nominated compliance scheme. These are the six steps that we’re looking to provide through the software and hopefully, the tool will make life a bit easier when it comes to reporting.

The tool will be launched fully by January 31 2024, but in the interim, there is an opportunity to set up a free account, where you can make use of an obligation checker to see what EPR reports you might need based on your business activities, obtain quotes for the tool, and, as you would expect, there is lots of EPR guidance in there, too.

As there is a bit of a wait before my.ecoveritas goes fully live, and EPR reporting has already started, we appreciate a lot of businesses still need support. We continue to support garden centres, nurseries and growers in the interim. This support can be purchased from within the free account.

We have been really lucky to have a mix of 15 businesses, comprising growers, nurseries and garden centres, that have helped test the first phase of the tool. We’re really proud that it will ultimately be an EPR solution by the horticultural sector for the horticultural sector. The input received while we have been building the tool has been invaluable. Thank you! And, as we move into the BETA phase, we are now looking for more companies to be involved in the process.

Ecoveritas is inviting those interested in getting early access to the tool and providing vital feedback to contact sales@ecoveritas.com. Anyone involved in the BETA phase will also get 50% off their first 12-month subscription in return for their valuable input.

This piece was written by Sandy Dhesi, Commercial Manager at Ecoveritas

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