Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance

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The Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance (CPMA) was established to represent the interests of packaging manufacturers, particularly in legislative debate related to plain (standardised) packaging of tobacco products and other tobacco control measures. On the CPMA website, the organisation is described as “an independent advisory body which works alongside the packaging industry and British and European governments…to ensure that packaging legislation is fair to both the consumer and the industry as a whole.”1
The CPMA, which caters directly to its subscribers, offers “advice and updates on regulatory reform, EU proposals and parliamentary debates as well as regular newsletters targeted specifically at the packaging industry and brand owners.”2 In addition, the CPMA also acts as a common “spokesperson” for the various companies associated with the packaging industry. As of 25 March 2014, eleven companies had subscribed to the services offered by the organisation.2 It is not known who these members are or whether any tobacco companies are among its members.
Mike Ridgway, Director of the CPMA, is a former executive in the packaging industry. Since retiring in 2010, Ridgway has focused his efforts on representing the packaging industry and its associates in legislative debate concerning tobacco control legislation such as plain packaging in the UK and the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). In the past, he has adamantly lobbied Members of European Parliament against the TPD and has been vocally opposed to Plain Packaging in the UK.3

A Voice Against Plain Packaging

Since the 26 June 2014 publication of the UK Government’s second Consultation on plain packaging, CPMA Director Ridgway has been outspoken against the regulations, warning that:

“Plain packaging would have a catastrophic effect on the packaging industry and its supply chain that currently employs over 60,000 people across the UK. It would remove the need for a series of highly skilled printing and packaging techniques that currently support jobs and flourishing apprenticeships schemes. Plain packaging could result in the loss of jobs within the supply chain…It is extraordinary that the Government has so far failed to take these concerns into account.”4

The CPMA also argued that requiring plain packaging of cigarettes would increase the illicit trade of cigarettes, making it easier for counterfeiters to copy a standardised design. In addition, warned Ridgway, “Standard packs would also make it easier to deceive consumers, undermine trust in genuine merchandise and lead to a collapse in the value placed on legally marketed goods due to commoditisation of a whole product category.”4
In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the CPMA cautioned the government against implementing plain packaging legislation, warning against unexamined economic consequences and claiming it would have “catastrophic effects” on the packing industry. With regards to foreign investment, the letter also pointed out that the measure, if implemented, “would inevitably lead to jobs and investment being redirected to other parts of Europe and indeed the World.” 5
The alliance has also expressed concern that enforcing the plain packaging of cigarettes would “spread to alcohol and other sectors.”6
For information on the evidence against these arguments, see:

TobaccoTactics Resources

TCRG Research

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  1. Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance, Plain & Simple – Packaging is important!, accessed July 2014
  2. abHannah Jordan, New Packaging Advisory Service Launched, Print Week, 25 March 2014, accessed July 2014
  3. Conservative Europe, Lobbying contacts report 1st January -30th June 2013
  4. abBradford Telegraph & Argus, Plain packaging for cigarettes is a ‘danger to jobs’, says company boss, Telegraph & Argus, 4 July 2014, accessed July 2014
  5. Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance, CPMA: Manufacturing jobs threatened by plain packaging as new consultation is launched- Business groups call on Treasury & BIS to conduct thorough review of economic consequences, Politics Home, 26 June 2014, accessed July 2014
  6. F. Briggs, Plain packaging will put iconic British exports at risk, Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance warns, Retail Times,23 May 2014, accessed July 2014