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The fourth annual Sustainable Packaging Forum

The fourth annual Sustainable Packaging Forum this September in Denver upheld the event’s past level of program excellence.

The event also continued to provide management-level discussions about the issues surrounding sustainability and packaging.

The forum opened with a keynote address by Richard Heinberg, author and senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. Heinberg said that unlimited growth is not sustainable, and he supported his statements with statistics on the limiting factors posed by finite amounts of raw materials, including oil and key metals, and population growth.

Following Heinberg’s message that business as usual is not sustainable, Patti Temple Rocks, vice president Global Public Affairs and Reputation Dow Chemical Company, detailed her company’s moves to grow through developing products and services to help businesses and consumers be more sustainable. During the day and a half event, there were presentations on:

• Consumer trends with the implications toward marketing sustainable products to consumers

• A discussion of life cycle analyses

• A panel discussion on sustainability and cost

• Packaging case studies

• An update on the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s new COMPASS tool

The evening supplier showcase drew the usual high number of attendees and everyone had ample networking time during breaks and meals to discuss the issues. The event’s 350 attendees represented leading materials suppliers, converters, consumer packaged goods companies, and a smattering of nongovernmental organizations.

The Sustainable Packaging Forum is a valuable industry event for understanding the trends, issues, and context of sustainability, and how it impacts marketing and packaging. It offers a chance to meet with materials and services suppliers and to network and learn from peers. It is not a nuts and bolts venue for those looking for answers on “how to” make specific packages more sustainable.

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