“It's great to see that sustainability is taking off,” says Olga Adamovich, director of the conference produced by Pira Intl. and Packaging Digest. “This conference was about more than just planning and measuring. Companies are really executing sustainability strategies at all levels of their organizations.”
The conference keynote address was delivered by David Hoover, chairman and CEO of Ball Corp. In his presentation, Hoover stated the case that sustainability is good business, but making packaging more sustainable depends on cooperation of the entire value chain. He says Ball has engaged all its shareholders, who help drive the company's sustainability priorities in areas such as recycling, material use, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and safety. The result, Hoover says, has been a stream of innovations, such as its Alumi-Tek® metal bottles and PET wine bottles.
Representatives of U.S. and European packaging organizations updated the audience on sustainability developments. Julian Carroll, managing director of the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment (Europen), described development of The Consumer Goods Forum's global packaging sustainability project. The forum is composed of many of the world's largest consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs), retailers, packaging manufacturers, associations and academic institutions. In this project, these groups are attempting to provide guidance on how to improve global packaging sustainability, covering the role of packaging, common definitions and principles of sustainability, and establishing packaging sustainability indicators and metrics to enable better internal decision making and improve trade dialogue on packaging improvements.
Katherine O'Dea, senior project manager of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, described how her group's efforts to develop packaging indicators and metrics dovetail with the global project.
The conference also featured presentations that were divided into specialized tracks, including updates on bioplastics, branding and sustainability, a look beyond packaging, recycling and waste management, materials, design and supply-chain sustainability.
Numerous CPGs, including Morton Salt, Coca-Cola, Safeway, Crate & Barrel and Procter & Gamble offered insights on how they are meeting the challenges of sustainability and their expectations of their suppliers, while the supplier community explained how they are responding to retailer and consumer concerns.