Planet Protector Packaging founder Joanne Howarth has won the Cartier Women’s Initiative for the South Asia and Oceania region, making her the first Australian winner since the launch of the global initiative in 2006.
Howarth is one of seven winners in the 2020 Cartier Women’s Initiative, gaining the title of Laureate for South Asia and Oceania, as well as USD$100,000 and a scholarship to further her entrepreneurial studies in France.
Planet Protector Packaging uses sheep wool waste to develop sustainable packaging and aims to eliminate polystyrene in the supply chain. It has developed award-winning products such as its Lobster Protector, which won Gold at the 2020 PIDA Awards.
Speaking with PKN, Howarth said that since embarking on the program over the past 12 months, and despite its intensity, she and team have learnt a lot throughout the process.
“It has been incredible and to be the first Australian to win, ever, is so amazing,” said Howarth.
“I’m proud for Australia, and for myself and our team. It was very much a collaboration and everyone was involved, so it’s a marvellous program that Cartier has put together to support female entrepreneurs.
“Across the process of the 12 months, you get training across all aspects of business in strategic and finance modelling, and communication, and so working with my team across all these segments, we can now grow and raise capital to become a global force.”
Howarth said that she aims to spend most of the prize money on establishing a new operation down in Tasmania, as well as covering costs across parts of the business.
“There’s so much beautiful produce down there and it’s the polystyrene headquarters down there, so if we are going to make a serious impact, we need to supply into Tasmania, and getting across the Bass Strait, the transport cost is prohibitive. We’re already doing a lot of work and feasibility, so hopefully by the end of the year we will be open in Tassie,” Howarth told PKN.
“I really wanted to spend the prize money on establishing a new operation and say that Cartier did that for us.”
“The momentum is building. People really want sustainable alternatives, so if we can all push in this one direction, we really will be able to achieve this mission.”
Planet Protector Packaging has replaced the equivalent of 5.2 million polystyrene boxes from landfill, and the rapid growth of the business has seen accounts such as DHL, Blackmores and Unilever added to the customer portfolio.