AIPIA Smart Packaging for Sustainability seminar attracts 500+ delegates

The recent on-line seminar Smart Packaging for Sustainability, organized by AIPIA with the help of its partners AWA Associates, was a huge success, attracting more than five hundred delegate registrations to listen to the presentations and panels on the topic. It involved 16 speakers and moderators, including a keynote introduction by Stefan Casey, Global Front End Innovation Packaging and Digital Transformation Senior Specialist at Nestlé.

Three panels all looked at different aspects of the sustainability question: Packaging Waste & Recycling, Food Waste, and Supply Chain Efficiency. Specialists from each area were given the chance to state their views or showcase a technology and, where time allowed, a short Q&A enabled them to interact with delegates, who seemed to have plenty of questions on the subject.

In an upbeat introduction Stefan Casey laid out his vision on where he believes the Smart Packaging sector stands today and where it needs to be going. He sees an enormous amount of interest from Brands in connected packaging technologies, which have evolved from promotional ‘gimmicks’ to become a major tool for consumer, as well as B2B communication, data gathering and important information channels.  The use of smart packaging is accelerating rapidly but there is a need for collaborative partnerships across the Value Chain to achieve this, he believes.

Stefan sees a massive opportunity for the sector, particularly as legislative pressures to improve sustainable performance means investment is necessary. But he cautioned that Brands do not have an open cheque book for investment and need the technology providers to realise there has to be  solid reasons to invest as well as a ROI. The technology should also be easy to access, understand and use, so these are challenges that the Smart Packaging sector must meet. He is optimistic that, through collaboration, these can be overcome.

Each panel delved into particular issues impacting on sustainability and some note was made that a digital connection on the pack is seen to improve communication and aids the gathering of data, both of which were recurring themes. The role of the consumer is seen as a core issue with education leading to behavioural change a key factor in reducing both food waste and packaging waste. A ‘carrot’ rather than a ‘stick’ approach was seen as the required approach because the messages just containing warnings or negative messages do not seem to get a good response. And passive labelling about sustainability and recycling is often misunderstood or ignored.

In terms of the more B2B facing aspect of Supply Chain Efficiency which involve sustainability the landscape has changed from a linear view of supply chains to one where it needs to become more circular. The importance of standardisation, such as the GS1 Digital Link, was highlighted, as well as the need to design products which are going to meet sustainability goals rather than adapting existing formats which may be hard to redesign or reformulate.

Summing up the seminar AIPIA managing director Eef de Ferrante said, “This was a great start and we see clearly there is a strong demand for this kind of event and the information it provides. Of course we need to refine the format a bit. We need to give our panelists more time to interact with delegates. So next time we will give much more focus to that element. Virtual events always present challenges and you learn from it! But for sure we will do more of these on this and other topics. And, of course, our USA Smart Labelling event in Chicago  in September and the AIPIA World Congress in Amsterdam in November offer great ‘in person’ opportunities, and now we have a China summit in Shanghai in July too,” he added.

A recording of the full Smart packaging for Sustainability seminar is available on this link: WEBINAR LINK

AWA and AIPIA Smart Labeling Chicago

AIPIA and AWA Smart Packaging World Congress Amsterdam

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