During a Webcast on Thursday afternoon, industry experts presented their views on sustainable packaging industry views and behaviors. The speakers also discussed the results of Packaging Digest's fifth annual Sustainability Survey, a glimpse into current industry behaviors and attitudes, and what lies ahead.
Anne Johnson, director of survey partner Sustainable Packaging Coalition, remarked that packaging industry professionals are more knowledgeable about issues pertaining to sustainability than ever before. "It's really clear that awareness of sustainability is very, very mature," she said.
Johnson noted that professionals in all sectors are showing a significant interest in increasing their sustainability knowledge, but added that education about sustainability "needs to extend beyond packaging and reach into other areas."
Roger Zellner, director of Sustainability for Research, Development and Quality for Kraft Foods pointed out that packaging is an important first step in bringing consumers into the sustainability conversation. . He shared commercials from various Kraft brands, including a Capri Sun spot highlighting the brand's partnership with TerraCycle to recycle its beverage pouches.
Also, Zellner discussed the need for retailers, suppliers, and parties throughout the supply chain to collaborate to further the cause of packaging sustainability. He discussed the Global Packaging Project http://globalpackaging.mycgforum.com/, an online forum for companies to collaborate on various sustainability-related issues.
Finally, Packaging Digest editorial director John Kalkowski shared results of the 2011 Sustainability Survey, a study that includes input from CPG firms, retailers, materials and equipment firms and others in the packaging industry. Among the findings:
• Sustainability is one of the top four factors influencing business planning
• Nearly two-thirds of respondents indicate they believe it is "very important" to significantly improve recycling and recovery efforts in the next five years
• Packaging sustainability targets vary somewhat between privately owned and publicly held firms
• Factors perceived to be the most significant obstacles to improved sustainability include raw materials costs, lack of alternative products and technologies, ability to produce sustainable packaging with quality comparable to current capabilities and ability to integrate sustainable packaging into current operations.
The archived webcast presentation—including comprehensive data from the 2011 Sustainability Survey--is available here; registration is required.