Committed to action: insights from EUROSAC Congress 2021
Under the theme “Show commitment – take action!”, the delegates discussed recent developments in the paper sack and sack kraft paper industry and on EU level, megatrends in plastic films and different aspects and activities of how to adapt a business to societal and climate change. A special focus was put on the role of sustainable packaging.
“In response to a rapidly changing world and very ambitious climate goals, our industry can only grow sustainably by showing a strong commitment and taking action,” stated EUROSAC president Olivier Tassel as he opened the Congress which was streamed live from Düsseldorf, Germany. “As we have done in the past, we will continue developing and providing solutions that meet our customers’ needs, are in line with current legislations and function perfectly without compromising the quality of life of future generations.” The industry’s strong commitment has borne fruit in its figures: despite the pandemic, the European paper sack industry recorded a solid plus of 2.8% paper sack deliveries in 2020. An upward trend (+0.2%) continued in the first quarter of 2021 with more potential in sight according to the outlook into the coming months.
From linear to circular economy
Climate, circular economy and packaging reductions – the Congress started with an overview on the topics that are the heart of EU policies and legislations setting out to transform all areas of the economy for a sustainable future. It was discussed how these will affect the sack kraft paper and paper sack industry and which initiatives, research and communication activities the industry has started in order to reach the EU’s and its own ambitious targets. The transition to circularity was taken up in more detail with regard to plastic films as they are part of some paper sack constructions for adding special barrier functions. The audience received an update on recent megatrends in plastic films – from the possibilities of recovery of packaging materials with a focus on chemical and mechanical recycling to the rising market of bioplastics.
Inspirations for a better world
A keynote speech from Emmanuel Druon, CEO of French-based envelope producer Pocheco, on “ecolonomy” provided inspiration of how to conduct a successful business with respect to the environment and its biodiversity. Ecolonomy is based on three principles: protecting human health, saving the planet, and being financially less expensive or more productive.
With many examples from his own and other companies, he demonstrated to the audience that even small changes can have a big impact. Another company which has already made impressive progress on its way to a net zero ambition is Coca-Cola. The company identified that packaging plays a critical role for achieving this target by 2040.
Maria Bescós, Head of Sustainable Packaging of Coca-Cola’s office in Iberia, described the actions the company is taking to make all their packaging more sustainable by removing unnecessary plastic and reducing virgin plastic. “Companies that don’t act sustainably will be left behind,” Bescós is convinced. “We keep exploring how to best answer our customers’ and consumers’ needs by leveraging existing propositions and developing new offers. Innovating for the present is our investment in a sustainable future.”