Frequently Asked Questions

Covenant Obligations

The Australian Packaging Covenant (the Covenant) is a national regulatory framework under the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 (NEPM) that sets out how governments and businesses across Australia share the responsibility for managing the environmental impacts of packaging. The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is the entity in charge of managing and administering the Covenant. To find out more, click here.

The Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPGs) are a comprehensive, publicly available resource used to assist in the sustainable design and manufacture of packaging in Australia, and are a central part of APCO’s co-regulatory framework. The purpose of the SPGs is to assist Australian organisations in integrating ten key Sustainable Packaging Principles into their operations. To read the SPGs, click here.

APCO, its Members, industry, and state and federal governments all agree to comply with the obligations set out within the Australian Packaging Covenant document. This co-regulatory framework recognises that all sectors and governments have both a responsibility and a role to play, working together to find the best possible solutions for packaging efficiency and sustainability in Australia. Click here for more information.

Following submission of the APCO Annual Report, Members must then complete an APCO Action Plan in order to ensure ongoing commitments towards more sustainable packaging. APCO Action Plans are due on the 31st May each year via the APCO Annual Reporting Tool.

APCO Action Plans are a Member’s commitment to packaging sustainability actions for the next 1 – 3 years (depending on the timeframe they select).

Submission of an APCO Action Plan results in the development of the APCO Annual Report and Action Plan document. This is the public facing document which APCO must post on its website, and Members must post on their own website in order to meet the Covenant obligation of “publish the action plan and annual reports on its website in a prominent and readily identifiable way”.

All APCO Brand Owner Members must submit an APCO Annual Report by the 31st March each year via the APCO Annual Reporting Tool.

Members report against a series of 13 criteria which make up the Packaging Sustainability Framework. In addition, they must also then complete a section on packaging metrics, and can provide additional responses in a free form section.

Upon submission of an APCO Annual Report, Members instantly receive a Performance Summary document, outlining their performance against each of the 13 criteria. Performance is divided into 5 levels – ‘getting started’, ‘good progress’, ‘advanced’, ‘leading’ and ‘beyond best practice’. This document is only accessible to the Member and is not made public.

The Annual Reporting Tool (Reporting Tool) is an online platform through which APCO Members complete both their APCO Annual Report (due 31st March) and APCO Action Plan (due 31st May) each year. It allows Members to monitor and track their packaging sustainability progress over time by reporting against, and selecting commitments in line with, the Packaging Sustainability Framework.

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an extension for this Reporting round, however, the non-compliance procedure will provide additional time. It is important to note however that any submissions later than 31st March 2021 will not be eligible for the APCO Annual Awards, and you will receive notices as per the

Yes. The National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 (NEPM) and the Australian Packaging Covenant (the Covenant) both reference the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPGs) as a resource to assist the design and manufacture of packaging as they SPGs balance the demands of the market, consumer protection and the environment. APCO Brand Owners Members are obligated as Signatories to the Covenant, to review their packaging against the SPGs. APCO recommends reviewing packaging every three to five years.

If you are logging into the Reporting Tool for the first time, please remember that this is a separate platform to the Member Centre and requires you to use the reset password function to setup your account.

Having trouble logging into the Reporting Tool? We have developed a resource to support you in accessing your account with ease, which you can find here.