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PepsiCo exec previews next steps in sustainable packaging

PepsiCo exec previews next steps in sustainable packaging
Tony Knoerzer, PepsiCo

Pira Intl. has published the first in a series of conference speaker interviews to preview topics to be presented at the Sustainability in Packaging 2012 conference. The event, to be held Mar 12-14 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, FL, is organized by Pira Intl. in association with Packaging Digest and Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News. Super Early Bird pricing, which saves attendees $200 off the regular fee, expires Fri., Jan. 6, 2012.


Tony Knoerzer, PepsiCoTony Knoerzer, vp advanced research-food packaging at PepsiCo, will be kicking off the 6th annual Sustainability in Packaging conference with his presentation on Innovation that Disrupts the Supply Chain. Knoerzer is responsible for the creation of new packaging materials and technologies that deliver greater performance and value. He also leads the development of sustainable food packaging, coordinating a global team whose goal is to reduce the environmental impact of packaging. Finally, Knoerzer leads the efforts to convert agricultural byproducts into valuable commodities for internal usage or resale.


Here is the Q&A with Knoerzer, courtesy of Pira...

Q: As a preview to your presentation at the conference in March 2012, could you share with us your views on how to combine innovation with sustainability while keeping the value and the consumer happy?

A: We've had success with a portfolio perspective. Many sustainability programs are focused on reduce which often leads to lower costs. When viewed as a portfolio the projects that save money can offset the projects that require investment. By using this strategy we've created a pipeline of projects that delivers lower costs, lower packaging usage and planned, periodic big introductions that dramatically change the trajectory of packaging. From the consumer perspective you can create a continuous News stream that shows ongoing commitment to sustainable packaging while delivering periodic major achievements.

Q: What are the next steps for packaging sustainability in Pepsi? Can you share with us the next steps for the green bottle?


A: I really can't say much about the green bottle at this time. As for our next steps we believe that more sustainable packaging should start with more sustainable raw materials. It is our opinion that one of the best places to look for those materials is among agricultural wastes, and in particular those things that are gathered along with the product and not readily re-introduced back to the field. Things like hulls, peels/skins, seeds, cores and shells are in this category. We also believe that under the right circumstances growing crops is a viable starting point—provided provisions are made to graduate to Ag wastes in the future.

Q: What are you looking forward to hear at the 2012 Sustainability in Packaging Conference?


A: How suppliers are going to adapt to the changing environment; increasing demands from end users on both cost and performance, rising consumer expectations around environmental performance and the proliferation of smaller startup companies (driven by people becoming entrepreneurs in the weak economy) that want to cherry pick the best opportunities. Collaboration and flexibility are no longer the competitive advantages they once were but are rather requirements of the new economy—what will become the new competitive advantage?


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