• Australia was represented at the 101st board meeting of the World Packaging Organisation by AIP executive director, Nerida Kelton (2nd row, far right), and AIP education director WPO president Pierre Pienaar (front, centre), who is also the president of the WPO.
    Australia was represented at the 101st board meeting of the World Packaging Organisation by AIP executive director, Nerida Kelton (2nd row, far right), and AIP education director WPO president Pierre Pienaar (front, centre), who is also the president of the WPO.

Australian Institute of Packaging executive director Nerida Kelton recently attended the 101st World Packaging Organisation (WPO) Board Meeting. She shares some highlights of her experience with PKN.

I recently attended the 101st World Packaging Organisation (WPO) Board Meetings, which were hosted by China National Export Commodities Packaging Research Institute (CEPI) in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong, China.

Over 30 WPO Member countries were represented during the week packed with events, including an International Green Packaging Summit hosted by CEPI, World Packaging Organisation Board Meetings, judging for the WorldStar Packaging Awards, WPO Sustainability, Education and Marketing committee meetings, an informative site tour of the Labthink main head office and networking events with the local packaging industry.

International Green Packaging Summit
With over 300 people in attendance the International Green Packaging Summit covered topics such as Sustainable Packaging, Food Waste, Save Food Packaging Design, Packaging and the Circular Economy, Green Packaging, Energy and more. Pierre Pienaar, president of the WPO and AIP education director, opened the conference, setting the scene for the global packaging industry.

The local packaging community had the unique opportunity to hear from a number of WPO representatives, which enabled them to attain a global understanding of these most important topics. Pienaar's presentation also highlighted how the WPO is a key link in accessing the wider global packaging community.

I was interested to hear about the Green Development Strategy for China and how companies like Alibaba have a ‘2020 green logistics blueprint’; how Beijing INCOM has developed the intelligent packaging recycling machines; how green packaging has replaced packaging as a necessity in China; and the importance of working together globally to develop a sustainable packaging future.

Other takeaways from the Green Packaging Summit were:

  • Plastics has taken 150 years to manipulate this planet
  • Should we consider global rebates for collection of packaging materials? What true value-added incentives are there for companies?
  • What is the sweet spot for creation of optimal Sustainable Packaging Design?
  • Is the current approach and definition for circular economy too narrow? How do we also discuss repurposing?
  • Packaging recyclability does have an end of life and we need to review what happens once packaging can no longer be recycled.
  • It is critical that we must be able to measure the positive (protection) of food in packaging.
  • This is a global problem, not a country problem and we must all work together to find the solutions.

A highlight of this event was when our very own Packaging Innovation & Design Award Winners Fresh Technologies/Sealed Air and Woolcool were recognised as Best-Practice Save Food Packaging Designs. A proud moment I must say to know that 300 people from the packaging industry in China heard about two amazing innovations from Australia and New Zealand and that they were being recognised globally.

World Packaging Organisation (WPO) Board Meeting
The 101st WPO Board Meeting was only the second meeting that I have attended as the ANZ Board Member so it was great to see such passion and genuine love for packaging across the globe. Even though I am new to the Board I was invited to present the ideas from the Sustainability Committee regarding the Interpack Save Food & Sustainable Packaging Design pavilion – which was a great personal development moment.

Much was discussed during the board meeting covering everything from global education training programs, the roll out of the CPP program, improvements to the WorldStar Packaging Awards, the plans for Interpack 2020, speaking opportunities for WPO Board members and a calendar view of packaging activities across the globe. The WPO now has 54-member countries and continues to grow and expand their reach and has a great Public Relations and Communications program to ensure that not only the WPO’s activities and programs are being recognised and promoted wherever possible, but also the member countries.

World Packaging Organisation (WPO) Committee Meetings
One day of the WPO biannual meetings is focused on committee meetings that discuss education, sustainability and marketing. These meetings allow all of the country members from across the globe to discuss their own initiatives, learn from others and also develop global strategies for the WPO.

A key outcome from the education meeting included the AIP becoming the liaison between the IoPP in the US and all WPO member countries rolling out the global Certified Packaging Professional (CPP) Program for their region. I was asked to be the point of contact for each country rollout due to the work the AIP has already undertaken over the last few years for our own CPP program. I am pleased to advise that we have already started work with Nigeria and South Africa on their programs. Countries to follow will include Spain, Brazil, Turkey and Kenya. The long-term objective is to have all WPO Member countries encouraging their local members to attain the Certified Packaging Professional designation which will ultimately lift the level of professionalism, skills and expertise globally for packaging designers and technologists. We look forward to seeing the growth of this program across the world.

An outcome from the Sustainability committee meeting is that the AIP will be working on the development of the Save Food & Sustainable Packaging Design Pavilion at Interpack 2020 with the wider team led by Antro Säilä from Finland. As the AIP have led the development of Save Food Packaging Design Awards globally it is only apt that we have been given the opportunity to contribute to the new pavilion layout, design and case studies posters for the Save Food program. This is an exciting project that I look forward to reporting further on as it progresses.

For more information, visit the AIP website: www.aipack.com.au



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