Life Cycle Sustainability Goes Mainstream in Packaging Innovation

WILMINGTON, Del., June 16, 2016 – Assessing and reducing the environmental impact throughout the full lifecycle of products are central elements of packaging innovation today, according to a group of the industry elite gathered in Wilmington to judge the 28th DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.

Advancements in sustainability have been implemented across the value chain, from responsible sourcing to reusable packaging. The judges observed a pronounced, global, industrywide commitment to sustainability, with innovations around source reduction, lowering energy use during manufacturing, reusability, reducing food waste, and much more, as reported in the fourth of a six-part series of video interviews on industry trends, released today.

“The packages I’m seeing really speak to sustainability,” said Amazon Senior Manager of Supply Chain Packaging Suzanne Fisher. “Some people ask sometimes: ‘Where is the push for sustainability? Has it gone away? What’s going on with that?’ It really hasn’t; it’s just become more mainstream.”

Jeff Schuetz, staff vice president, Global Technology Consumer Packaging, Sonoco, agreed. “A theme that I’ve noticed is that packaging sustainability and environmental impact is still alive and well. We don’t talk about it so much, but it’s become much more mainstream in terms of how people are designing packaging with environmental impact in mind.”

Noting the opportunity for cross-cultural knowledge transfer on a variety of issues, including sustainability, Lead Judge David Luttenberger, CPP, global packaging director for the Mintel Group, said, “In India, it seems packages are reusable or repurposable in some way. We need to take solutions that have a functional approach to packaging innovation and cross-fertilize the economies around the world and the consumers around the world.”

Packaging sustainability needs to be innovative for both consumers and packaging companies alike.  “The biggest challenge in today’s packaging industry is to bring new innovative products to the marketplace while still targeting sustainability goals and profitability goals for both the consumer and the packaging company,” said Brian Rivers, Engineering Fellow and Strategic Sourcing at Sealed Air Corporation. 

Mars Global Petcare Packaging Sustainability Director Colin Yates agreed. “Sustainability is a big issue ... and we’re looking at responsible packaging. When we look at sustainability, we can do more … we cause innovation … we can be more sustainable.”

The DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation is the industry’s longest running, global, independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain and is recognized globally as the leading packaging awards program. The international competition honors innovations in packaging design, materials, technology and processes.

The independent panel of packaging experts from across the globe evaluated nearly 200 entries from more than 25 countries, selecting a total of 22 winners. Previously released videos in the series feature the judges’ discussions of: (1) the latest trends in packaging design; (2) the biggest challenges facing the industry; and (3) the global challenges that can be addressed by packaging innovation.

The DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation’s Diamond Award recognizes one entry which truly excels in all three categories: technological advancement, responsible packaging and enhanced user experience. The newly inaugurated Diamond Finalist award, given to six companies, acknowledges the growing number of packaging innovations that excel in all three categories. As a result of ground-breaking, cutting-edge excellence in the packaging marketplace, judges awarded a new Leadership in Innovation Award. The judges awarded five gold winners and nine silver winners based on “excellence” in one or two categories. Learn more about the awards by following DuPont Packaging on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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