EPIL on Mooncake Over-packaging of Xinghualou Group: Unfulfilled Social Responsibility

After the Mid-Autumn festival, mooncake over-packaging has surged public debate. According to the official account of Shanghai Municipal Administration for Market Regulation. In the on-site enforcement checks and supervisory sampling of mooncake over-packaging, 5 batches of mooncake were unqualified, including Godiva, Cai Lan and Guimanlong.

Gao Guilin, professor from the Capital University of Economics and Business, chair of the Beijing Law Society Environmental Resources Law Research Association, shared his view on the case of Xinghualou Group mooncake over-packaging case. He proposed that mooncake over-packaging was a violation to public interests and should held companies responsible.

Xinghualou Gruop, this century-old Shanghai brand is most known for its mooncake. In the second half of 2020, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) has found that one type of mooncakes packaging produced by Xinghualou Group has multiple layers, which has violated state’s restrictions.

On September, 2020, before the Mid-Autumn festival, CBCGDF has filed a lawsuit against Xinghualou Group to the Third Intermediate People’s Court of Shanghai Municipality. According to the judgement, two defendants shall stop producing and selling this type of mooncake immediately; to recall the mooncake on the market that do not meet the national packaging standards and repair damage done to the environment.

Ma Yong from the CBCGDF said that the mooncake packaging shall not have over 3 layers. While the Xinghualou Group mooncake has violated national restrictions.

This case was officially filed as environmental public interest litigation on Feb 2021. On June 3, 2021, the Third Intermediate People’s Court of Shanghai Municipality has made a judgement that this case does not pollute the environment. On June 16, 2021, CBCGDF has filed an appeal to Higher People’s Court of Shanghai Municipality. The case was established on July 28.

On September 14, before the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Research Department of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Developement Foundation has organized an online seminar on Over-packaging of mooncakes——the case of ShangXinghua Lou in Shanghai. Experts from ecological protection, food and nutrition, consumer protection and law were invited to join the discussion.

Professor Gao shared his thoughts on this seminar. His main ideas were fourfold. First, the concept of over-packaging should be confirmed. Second, whether over-packaging has polluted the environment. Third, over-packaging would violate public interest. Last, this environmental public interest litigation has fall into the wrong legal category. Professor Gao also stressed that the food packaging should be supervised by the society.

On Sep.2,2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation held a press conference on Requirements of restricting excessive package-Foods and cosmetics. Chen Hongjun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Standards and Technology, the State Administration for Market Regulation introduced that to fasten green development and reach the goal of dual carbon. The Requirements are strict national standards.

Requirements of restricting excessive package-Foods and cosmetics set the packaging void ratio, the number of packaging layers and packaging cost requirements, as well as the corresponding calculation, detection and determination methods. Specific content includes: First, the specification of 31 types of food, 16 types of cosmetics packaging requirements; Second, greatly simplifies the determination of excessive packaging of goods, consumers only need to check the weight or volume of the goods themselves, and measure the volume of the outermost packaging, through the calculation of the initial determination of whether there is excessive packaging of goods; Third, strictly limited the number of layers of packaging requirements, food grains and their processed products Should not exceed three layers of packaging, other food and cosmetics should not exceed four layers of packaging.

Chen Hongjun said that the new standard will be officially implemented on September 1, 2023, setting a two-year transition period for enterprises and the market. The next step, the State Administration for Market Regulation will work with relevant departments, combined with the new deployment of new requirements of the dual carbon, free public full text of the standard, the system to carry out standard publicity and training, increase supervision and enforcement, and urge food and cosmetics manufacturers to start as soon as possible to meet the standard diagnosis and product packaging compliance design. At the same time to create a good public opinion environment for green consumption, improve consumer awareness of the standards to limit excessive packaging of goods, advocate reasonable consumption, and guide consumers not to buy excessive packaging of goods.

According to incomplete statistics, China’s annual production of packaging waste accounts for about 33% of municipal solid waste, and at a rate of more than 12% year by year. Among them, more than 50% of the packaging waste belongs to excessive luxury packaging, and most of these luxury packaging is found in disposable products like moon cakes and short-term consumer goods.

To this end, food and cosmetic enterprises should pay great attention to the luxury over-packaging in order to attract attention, not only to increase the cost of enterprise products, more importantly, will also cause pollution to the environment, may be subject to market supervision department punishment, and even trigger environmental civil public interest litigation, to bear a huge amount of public interest compensation liability.

From: Shangfa News

Source: Shangfa News

Original Chinse Article https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/sA4lFHqZmZWvvOpSN7gqBg








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