Our future objective

Packaging World has clearly been a leader in reporting on a key critical issue that all packaging professionals must wrestle with today: sustainable packaging.

Even before we produced the Field Guide to Sustainable Packaging—which has now sold more than 1,500 copies to people in more than 30 countries—we played a key role in convening a 2003 industry meeting whose attending companies went on to become the founding members of what is today known as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

For the past two years, we’ve also carried special sustainable packaging sections in February, July, and December. These have included interviews with key thought leaders such as Walmart’s Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar and P&G’s Tony Burns. Look for this special section in our upcoming December issue, where we’ll talk about what Kraft is doing in the way of sustainable packaging initiatives. And be on the lookout for our February, July, and December sustainable packaging sections next year, too.

While I’m terribly proud of the work we’ve done so far on the sustainable packaging beat, I do believe we’ve outdone ourselves with the Greener Package Awards competition, the coverage of which graces this issue. A total of 51 entries poured into our offices, and they came to us from around the world. For a first-time competition making its debut in a severe recession, I’d say that’s pretty remarkable.

From those 51 entries, our judges selected 10 winners. I hope some of you had a chance to see them on display recently at the Showcase of Packaging Innovations at Pack Expo Las Vegas. I would certainly encourage you to take a good look at them in our coverage in this issue. It begins on page 40.

The awards are just one component of GreenerPackage.com. If you haven’t visited this unique place—a “knowledge exchange” devoted to topics revolving around sustainable packaging—you really should. Part of its appeal is that it is so interactive. Not only does it have breaking news updated daily and blogs by sustainable packaging thought leaders. It also has a lively discussion section where visitors can pose questions that can be addressed by the more than 40 individuals from CPG companies, associations, and other relevant organizations who make up our Greener Package.com advisory panel of experts.

GreenerPackage.com is even doing something to keep greenwashing claims in check, as it has unveiled the first comprehensive guidelines to packaging sustainability claims. Developed by Environmental Packaging International with input from Packaging Knowledge Group, the Greener Package Guidelines to Sustainability Claims will be used as a basis for the review of claims made by suppliers submitting their product data to the Greener Product Database. These guidelines are available for immediate download at www.greenerpackage.com/guidelines.

Getting back to the award winners, one of the things that strikes me about the descriptions that begin on page 40 is how many of them include an element of “you-ain’t-seen-nuthin’-yet.” Frito-Lay’s Sun Chips bag, for example, is only stage one of a process that will culminate in a 100% compostable bag. And look at Marks & Spencer. Recognizing that further progress in sustainable packaging is essential, it works closely with government, industry, and NGOs with an eye to what the future can bring. ConAgra’s Gail Tavill also has the future in her sights. Now that ConAgra has solved the riddle of implementing recycled content into a traditionally nonrecycled material, she points out, “Our future objective is to work with key players in this industry to develop a recycling infrastructure that will be able to collect and reprocess CPET trays.”

We at Packaging World have a future objective, too: To remain your most reliable source of information on the sustainable packaging movement as well as on all things packaging.

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