VOLUME 15.5 – 2020
DIFFERENT STRATEGIES / SINGLE PURPOSE MEET THE SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS 2020 FINALISTS CLOSING THE GLASS LOOP • SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS • E-COMMERCE • ENHANCING PAPER FUNCTIONALITY
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VOLUME 15.5 – 2020
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Editorial Victoria Hattersley Sustainable Packaging Summit Taking the pulse of sustainability Fuseneo interview What’s the secret to effective e-commerce packaging design? Enhancing Material Properties How far can paper replace plastics? Software A software market overview EDPA Discussion Nude products: Is the end of packaging coming? Close the Glass Loop An inside look On second thoughts... We cannot recycle our way out of plastic pollution
t’s been a strange and difficult few months for us all, and even if we are now returning to some semblance of ‘normality’, nothing will quite be the same again – for our industry and for the world as a whole. Perhaps that’s how it should be. But we still need to look to the future, and we can’t turn our eyes away from the unfolding catastrophe – let’s not mince words – that is the global climate crisis. With that in mind, this issue we will be focusing on some of the topics we would have addressed in our Sustainable Packaging Summit (which, you may recall, was due to take place in lovely Lisbon in October). Since we have taken the sad but necessary step of cancelling this we will instead be going ‘virtual’ with a series of high-level panels, presentations and networking sessions across October and November – including the eagerly-awaited announcement of our Sustainability Awards 2020 winner! In the meantime, Tim Sykes takes a look at the 30 shortlisted submissions across our seven categories. The cross-section of this year’s finalists provides a snapshot of the trends and challenges that the value chain is responding to and the increased diversity of circular economy strategies – such as design for recycling, reuse systems and bringing increased functionality to paper. 2020 is also the first year we will have LCA tools as finalists, reflecting the increasingly holistic sense of sustainability.
Victoria Hattersley Senior Writer
Also in this issue, I talk to Adeline Farrelly from FEVE about the Close the Glass Loop initiative and its ambitions to dramatically increase bottle-to-bottle recycling throughout Europe. And following his overview of the machinery sector in our last edition, Fin Slater explores software solutions for a range of different packaging applications – from labelling to improving efficiency. Meanwhile, Libby Munford talks with Brent Lindberg, founder of Fuseneo, to catch his curiosity on innovative packaging design for leading brands (including Amazon) in the e-commerce market. Finally, on the subject of ‘Enhancing Material Properties’ we ask the question: How far can paper replace plastics? All that remains is for me to say a huge thank you to the 275 entrants to our Sustainability Awards – the highest number so far, from across every continent – and we hope to connect with as many of you as possible during our virtual events. Sign up to our newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn and n Twitter to ensure you don’t miss the details of the programme.
Victoria Hattersley Victoria Hattersley email@example.com | @PackEuropeVicky
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TAKING THE PULSE OF SUSTAINABILITY The most important global competition focusing on sustainable packaging innovation is back! The Sustainability Awards 2020 attracted a record-breaking 275 submissions, up nearly 50% on last year’s record and representing every continent across the globe. Tim Sykes reports.
ou’ll have to wait until October to find out this year’s Sustainability Awards winners, revealed during the Sustainable Packaging Summit – a series of high-level virtual events, rather than the originally planned physical one in Lisbon (for obvious reasons). However, in the meantime, we can introduce you to the finalists in each category. The 39-strong international, expert jury has completed round one of judging, and have selected the following submissions across the seven categories:
‘Driving the Circular Economy’ Ariel liquid detergents bottles with 50% rHDPE (P&G, Belgium) P&G entered into a partnership with an energy recovery company to recycle and reprocess HDPE for re-use in Ariel laundry detergent bottles. This realizes the commitment to reach 50% recycled content in its liquid bottles as of 2020.
Blue Tube Evo Lightweight 100% recycled aluminium tube (TUBEX Aluminium Tubes, Austria) The Blue Tube Evo lightweight is the world’s first 100% recycled aluminium tube, with 95% post-consumer and 5% post-industrial recycled aluminium. Thanks to a specially developed alloy, up to 15% of material can be saved.
High opacity & premium whiteness PET with 0% TiO2 content (PENN COLOR, Netherlands) Concentration of TiO2 (used in masterbatches to provide opacity) in the non-clear recycled PET stream causes processing issues. This innovative masterbatch technology for PET bottles eliminates TiO2, achieving levels of opacity and whiteness that would typically require around 8% TiO2 with conventional technology. MIWA reusable packaging system (MIWA Technologies, Czech Republic) An innovation leveraging smart technology and electronic dispensers to simplify the shopping experience and compete with single use packaging. Thanks to data-driven operational efficiency, the system enables packaging-free sales in high hygienic standards for brand owners and retailers.
SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS PLATINUM SPONSORS
MIWA reusable packaging system
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‘Recyclable Packaging’ BericapValve silicon-free valve (Bericap Holding, Germany) A TPE, silicon-free valve which floats in water, enabling perfect separation and preventing contamination in the recycling process.
Matrix paraffin-free paper-based packaging (Amcor, France) Technology enabling a breathable PE layer, composed of molecule chains bound together in a three-dimensional matrix, replacing multi-layer unrecyclable substrates for soft cheese packaging.
Push Tab loop recyclable unit dose pharma packaging (Huhtamaki, Germany) Huhtamaki presents the market’s first ever recyclable unit dose packaging for pharmaceutical solid products called Push Tab®, which adds a push-through function to strip packaging, creating an alternative for blister packaging. Ultra-high barrier sandwich film (Max Speciality Films, India) BOPP film alternative to aluminium and PE, recyclable in polyolefin recycling streams. KORORCY PE stand-up pouch (Korozo Flexibles, Turkey) High-barrier mono-PE stand-up pouch.
Push Tab loop recyclable unit dose pharma packaging
‘Resource Efficiency’ Eco PBL 240/9 tube (Huhtamaki, Germany) This tube reduces plastic material by 20% while increasing recyclability by reducing EVOH by 40% to below the 5% limit on foreign material.
‘Second skin’ paper champagne case
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Frugal Cup coffee cup made from recycled paperboard (Frugalpac, UK) The world’s first coffee cup made from recycled paperboard, with a PE liner which is separable in the recycling process.
‘Second skin’ paper champagne case (Maison Ruinart, Pusterla 1880, and James Cropper, France) A mono-material gift-box packaging which is recyclable in the paper waste stream. The case is nine times lighter than the current Ruinart box and reduces the carbon footprint by 60%. Volvic 8L 100% rPET bottle (Danone, France) The key innovation of this eight-litre bottle is that it is the brand’s first product made from 100% recycled PET. It also reduces carbon footprints by 45% compared with the previous format.
‘Best Practice’ EasyD4R® software tool for evaluating recyclability (Henkel, Germany) This comprehensive tool is used across Henkel, enabling packaging developers to evaluate plastic, paper, glass, aluminium and tinplate packaging and identify possible areas for improvements. To accelerate transition to a circular economy, Henkel has made the tool publicly available.
Loop reuse platform
Ecover laundry bottle (People Against Dirty, Belgium) 100% PCR bottle promoted for reuse as well as recycling, saving 56 tonnes of plastic and 318 tonnes CO2 per year based on current sales volumes. GaBi Packaging Calculator Plus (Sphera, Germany) A web-based LCA calculator designed for the requirements of the packaging industry, helping evaluate environmental impacts and recyclability of packaging and identify hot spots and optimization potential. Loop reuse platform (TerraCycle, USA) Now launched in Europe and North America, Loop is the first ever international shopping platform that partners with brands and retailers to re-imagine household goods to be packaged in durable and reusable containers.
‘Machinery’ Boomerang Horizontal Stability Tester (Safe Load Testing Technologies, Spain) An advanced solution for packaging optimization to substantially reduce the use of plastics in packaging while also increasing safety along the distribution cycle.
Slimbox - perfectly fitted packaging (Fit Things, Belgium) A small machine that cuts perfectly fitted e-commerce packaging out of flat sheets of corrugated cardboard.
PaperForming Technology (Syntegon, Germany) A packaging system developed by Syntegon Technology in partnership with BillerudKorsnäs to produce shaped paper pods that replace plastic blisters. These can be customized in terms of design, functionality and barrier properties. Non-impact digital finishing technology (Highcon, Israel) A laser cutting system featuring a technique for physical creasing via 3D printed rules. Creasing via these rules and laser cutting are all performed on one single platform, thus eliminating the need for a die cutting form that is used in the current analogue processes. This reduces carbon footprint by eliminating components needed to produce the die as well as transportation and storage.
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‘Bio-Based Packaging’ ARES (ATG DIRECT INC, Canada) Polyamide adhesives made from post-consumer and post-industrial chemicals – primarily from soybean oil via waste/by-product streams, as an alternative to polyamide derived from pine-based sources. bioORMOCER® functional barrier coatings (Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research, Germany) Recyclable and biodegradable mono coatings offering barrier protection on plastic and paper substrates comparable to modern multi-layer packaging. monta biopack® bio-based adhesive tape (monta Klebebandwerk, Germany) A self-adhesive tape using a PLA carrier and monta’s natural rubber adhesive.
‘Pre-Commercialized Innovation’ A new category introduced for the 2020 edition, scouting for the best ideas and innovations not yet on the marketplace. Closing the Glass Recycling Loop method (Ardagh Group, UK) A method to produce briquettes from the fine particle glass (<4mm) rejected during the glass recycling process in order to achieve 100% recyclability of collected glass containers. COLOR-IN / COLOR-OUT (Smart Coloring, FuturePackLab, and POPULAR PACKAGING, Germany) A process to decolour plastics without harmful chemicals. This technology is the sustainable answer to keeping the plastic streams clean, closing the plastic and the colour loop, saving resources and 50-60% of greenhouse gas emissions. Fully recyclable plastic aerosol container (P&G, USA) This aerosol, the culmination of five years’ R&D, combines a PET dip-tube and polymer valve, eliminating the metal valve which is judged detrimental on a polymer bottles by most recyclers.
Watch out for in-depth profiles of each of the finalists over the coming weeks on PackagingEurope.com and subscribe to our newsletter or YouTube channel for details of the Sustainable Packaging Summit, for sustainability discussion, announcements, networking and the announcement of n this year’s Sustainability Awards winners.
Forest Film (UPM Raflatac, Finland) The first polypropylene film label material produced from UPM BioVerno™ naphtha – a product innovation originating from sustainably managed forests and pulp production residue.
100% chemically recycled packaging material (BASF, Germany) BASF and partners have developed a prototype packaging consisting of polyamide and polyethylene made from 100% chemically recycled material. The materials were manufactured with pyrolysis oil derived from mixed plastic waste, within the scope of the ChemCyclingTM project. Sustainable aerosol foam dispenser (Triple Line Technology, UK) A proprietary flow-path technology that can be incorporated into the valvedip tube components or actuator of standard aerosol packaging, allowing high quality micro-foams (bubbles < 100microns) to be dispensed using compressed gas propellants.
100% chemically recycled packaging material
Note we have five finalists in the categories ‘Recyclable Packaging and ‘PreCommercialized Innovation’ rather than the usual four because in both cases two submissions in fourth place attained exactly the same total score.
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Libby Munford talks with a leading expert, Brent Lindberg, founder of Fuseneo, to discuss best practice in the field of e-commerce packaging design.
WHAT’S THE SECRET TO EFFECTIVE E-COMMERCE PACKAGING DESIGN? LM: Could you tell me a bit about Fuseneo? BL: Fuseneo is really about merging different disciplines, talents, materials and processes to create something new. I founded the company about 13 years ago to help brands navigate packaging challenges in design, prototyping and manufacture. We have a team made up of industrial designers, graphic designers, and packaging engineers. We are material and process agnostic, meaning that we can help brands to look across multiple materials and options when we help them to tackle issues like sustainability or e-commerce. I founded the company after spending about a decade on the manufacturing side as an in-house designer for a large manufacturer. I saw the challenges that brands faced in terms of owning their own design equity and understanding their options.
They would go to a manufacturer, who would want to sell them the thing they made. So, unless they worked on projects with a dozen different manufacturers, they really didn’t know what their options were. Then, when it came to negotiating, if that manufacturer designed it then they probably owned it. I saw a number of these challenges, so really wanted to create a separate team that could help brands design and manage packaging.
LM: And how has your company been working throughout the pandemic? BL: We’ve been fortunate. We have a large studio and shop here because of all the prototyping and fabrication, and that’s been challenging with only allowing one person at a time to come in. We’ve been able to work from home, and I’ve seen a shift in some of the projects that have been going on. There are certain brands that have Packaging Europe | 11 |
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struggled and put the brakes on, but others have been going strong. Some brands have struggled with development and innovation, due to things like travel restrictions and manufacturing capacity. We’ve been fortunate through this but it’s definitely been different.
LM: You’ve worked on some really high-profile projects with clients like Starbucks and Amazon. Could you perhaps tell me about an e-commerce project that you worked on with Amazon? BL: Most of our clients are large brands like Pepsi, Amazon, Starbucks, and Google. Their challenges are larger and their stakes are higher because they work on a bigger scale – this means that packaging is really critical for them. Amazon actually reached out to us about five years ago. They wanted help both with redesigning their own packaging and on defining standards around e-commerce packaging. So, we’ve been doing everything from helping them with strategy around packaging to communication with vendors on what the future of e-commerce packaging looks like and how we can keep pushing it. One day we might be designing a fun on-box campaign, and the next day we might be helping them to figure out how to deliver restaurant food. It’s really a diverse set of challenges that all centre on packaging.
LM: What are the main factors you have to consider when you’re working on a project with Amazon? BL: For e-commerce protection it’s all about a balance between protection and sustainability, and minimizing things like waste and damage. Customer experience is also important, because packaging is a consumer’s first touchpoint with a brand.
LM: And what would you say makes bad design for e-commerce? BL: There’s a lot of it! I think that bad e-commerce packaging assumes that a company like Amazon is going to ship items safely and efficiently. You’re taking a gamble by assuming that whoever is fulfilling the order understands your product and has the right tools to protect it. It also assumes that what’s working in another channel is going to work in e-commerce. A lot of the time, this is just sending the on-shelf packaging to Amazon for them to deal with. Or this just looks like over-packaging. Retailers like Amazon are sending things like big clocks, mirrors, kayaks, and gallons of chemicals – a ridiculously diverse range of products. We need to think of these online retailers as fulfilment operators, not shippers.
LM: Can brands keep in touch with consumers in the same way through e-commerce as they do with the bricks and mortar shopping experience? BL: Data is valuable. Brands are used to having a certain amount of it, as well as certain level of interaction with customers and control over placement on shelves. They lose a little bit of this with e-commerce, and they often need to make this up in other areas which is really challenging. So, how brands create fans and followers is always worth consideration, especially now that consumers are more distant now than they were before.
LM: Since the Corona outbreak, the move from physical to e-commerce has sped-up. Can you give me some insight into your views on this? BL: I think for a team like ours that has been beating the drum on intentional e-commerce packaging and really focus on it as a growing segment, we’ve been saying this for years. Packaging Europe | 13 |
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Some sectors, like consumer electronics, have been heavily invested in e-commerce for a number of years, but some of them haven’t been and oftentimes only a single-digit percentage of their sales volume comes from that channel. This means that it sometimes hasn’t been big enough to matter. COVID has brought e-commerce to the forefront, and I think brands are realizing that it’s going to take something different than they’ve had before, and that it has to be viewed as its own channel.
LM: Have you noticed any changes in terms of what your clients have been asking for? BL: Despite the challenges with implementation at the moment, due to travel restrictions and capacity issues, the requests we get still often revolve around sustainability, although they are getting broader. Brands are really willing to rethink their products. If it’s a product that is liquid, maybe there’s a different format for it. If it’s something that is fragile, then maybe there should be different considerations around it. So, brands are willing to go where they wouldn’t before to rethink their products and packaging to see e-commerce as a viable and main sales channel for them. For the longest time, e-commerce has been this ‘bandage phase’, where companies think that they can just put extra packaging on a product, and everything will be fine. Now we’re moving into a stage where the packaging is adapted, and we think we will eventually be in a place where both packaging and product are adapted in order to make the product more efficient and viable in that channel.
We talk to them about things like how excess material and excess packaging mean excess volume, which leads to them being able to fit less into trucks and warehouses and paying more to ship the products out. This also leads to an inconvenience for the customer, who has to go and dispose of all the packaging. Sustainability is more than just the recyclability of the materials – it’s also the use of extra space, the shipping of those goods, and the ability of those customers to recycle them.
LM: What’s the importance of accelerating good design in the e-commerce sector? BL: Through this pandemic, there are a lot of shoppers who would never have considered e-commerce beforehand who are now coming online. Particularly aging demographics who were primarily bricks-and-mortar shoppers. For some of these people, the convenience of e-commerce is going to stick. There’s not going to be a dramatic fall-off when shops open up again, n so accelerating this is important. Brent Lindberg
LM: We focus a lot on sustainability here at Packaging Europe, and there tends to be a bit of a lag in the e-commerce sector. How do you factor sustainability into packaging design? BL: I think it needs to look at the function of every component and consider material choice. We like to help brands understand the impact of something they may think is minor, like extra packaging. They see the costs involved but are often willing to offset or write these off. Packaging Europe | 15 |
HOW FAR CAN PAPER REPLACE PLASTICS? Barrier properties in paper packaging have come on significantly in recent years – so much so that some would argue they may come to equal plastics in terms of product protection. But can they really ‘replace’ plastics? Victoria Hattersley spoke to a few industry insiders to explore this question.
here was a time when the answer to the above question would be simpler; not very far at all. But as those in the industry will know, advances in material properties for paper when it comes to product protection have been closing the gap as far as what this material can achieve. But how far is ‘far enough’? Let’s not forget that the biggest barrier for paper packaging producers to achieving parity with plastics when it comes to product protection is just that – barriers. Even if a package is almost entirely paper-based, it will still need some kind of coating if it is to contain perishable products – and often these will be polymer-based.
The challenges with paper “Paper is certainly an option where low or no barrier is needed,” says Gerald Rebitzer, Director of Sustainability, Amcor. “For packaging perishable or sensitive products, however, paper becomes a more complex option. This is because paper is inherently porous and hydrophilic (attracts moisture) and therefore only provides a limited barrier. It is not comparable to plastics, which can provide a high oxygen and moisture barrier, so it’s unlikely that paper could fully replace plastics for all applications. To get around the limitations of paper for perishable products, it is usually combined with certain polymers or coatings to create a barrier, so the packaging will never be 100% paper.” | 16 | Packaging Europe
“The other challenge with paper is its ability to run on our customers’ existing packing machines, because paper has significantly weaker mechanical properties than plastic-based alternatives. Amcor is working with multiple partners along the full value chain to address both of these challenges.” There is also the often-raised topic of the resource-intense paper-making process. Not only does it require billions of tonnes of water per year, it also requires substantial amounts of energy – contributing, according to some estimates, around 2% of the world’s total carbon footprint. It also, many argue, contributes to net deforestation and hence more carbon emissions, as the areas felled would have been storing CO2. Meanwhile plastics are cheap and far less resource-intensive to produce. We’re aware of all these arguments, but it’s not quite so cut-and-dried, say paper advocates. “In terms of sustainability – recycling and CO2 wise – responsibly sourced paper packaging is superior to all plastics, due its renewable source and low or no use of fossil fuels in production,” says Patrik Bosander, Business Unit Director Packaging Solutions at BillerudKorsnäs on behalf of Packz. “There is still work to be done in further lowering the CO2 impact of paper production, and increasing the already comparatively high recycling rates of paper packaging. Responsible companies like BillerudKorsnäs and its peers have adopted, and got approval
for, science-based climate impact targets to further reduce their CO2 footprints, and take value chain-wide action to further increase collection and recycling rates of paper packaging. “In terms of CO2 impact paper is a superior material to plastics. Two elements of the life cycle are decisive: raw material production and end of life. As long as the paper production is integrated with pulp production, and predominantly uses biofuel – which is the case for most northern European operations – paper comes out with comparatively very low CO2 footprint. And since the raw material is renewable, the net CO2 contribution from the inherent carbon is zero.”
What is technically possible Yet another major issue to address is the development of a commercially viable coating technology that achieves the barrier properties needed without negative effects on repulping or fibre yield in the paper recycling stream. In fact, some might argue that the biggest challenge goes beyond looking at what is technically possible from a material point of view, to what works in the recycling infrastructure – always a big question mark whatever material we are talking about.
“Due to the physical and chemical properties of paper, the biggest challenge is a lack of moisture vapour barrier,” says Gerald Rebitzer. “To create the barrier, paper is often combined with polymers, but then care needs to be taken that the finished packaging can in fact be recycled in standard paper facilities.
Let’s not forget that the biggest barrier for paper packaging producers to achieving parity with plastics when it comes to product protection is just that – barriers. “A major challenge is to have recycling streams available for new developments in paper packaging. In order to give paper the required barrier for perishable products, it must be combined with other materials or coatings, however acceptance of these packaging innovations in current recycling streams is still an open question. The constraint is not what’s technically possible to produce, but what can be recycled today.” Packaging Europe | 17 |
As part of its paper packaging development process, Amcor is studying the ‘repulpability’ of its newly developed paper-based structures to make sure a maximum amount of fibre is recovered during the recycling process. This requires proper paper selection and the use of polymers/coatings that do not interfere with the recycling process. This work is currently being done by the Amcor R&D team along with the help of external partners.
The search for solutions But as they say: never say never. Many companies are as we speak exploring ways to approach these various challenges. Many of our regular readers will already have heard about Carlsberg’s mission to create the world’s first ‘paper’ beer bottle made from sustainably sourced wood fibres that is both 100% biobased and fully recyclable. To date it has created two promising research prototypes of the ‘Green Fibre Bottle’: One uses a thin recycled PET polymer film barrier, and the other a 100% bio-based PEF polymer film barrier. These prototypes will be used to test the barrier technology, although Carlsberg has stated its ambition is to achieve a 100% bio-based bottle without polymers. We’ve been following this story avidly and will continue to do so. We also recently reported on a plastic-free cartonboard packaging solution developed by AR Packaging, which is currently being used by the Bel Group for its Boursin cheese range. The ‘Safeboard’ solution has made it possible for Bel to move away from the use of PE-coated cartonboard – equivalent, claims AR, to a reduction of more than 35 tonnes of plastics per year. However, even so Ralf Mack, Innovation Director at AR Packaging, stresses that this does not mean a perfect plastic-free solution has been found for all sensitive products. Like Gerald Rebitzer, he tells us that for these products, a dedicated barrier lamination will still be necessary – at least for the foreseeable future – to ensure resource efficiency. | 18 | Packaging Europe
“Yes, flexible barrier material with plastic layers will remain essential for today’s and tomorrow’s packaging, but it will be more recyclable and precisely tailored for collection, sorting and recycling. It will also be increasingly available as based on materials from renewable source.” Another company that has joined the paper drive is Toppan Printing, wits its new paper-based version of the tube pouch. According to Toppan, this new product maintains the tube pouch’s functionality while demonstrating ‘even better environmental performance’ by using a paper-based material for the body – creating, it says, a 50% reduction in plastic volume. More generally, there are other exciting prospects on the horizon. “Vacuum deposition of SiOx and AlOx looks promising from a barrier perspective, as do a number of nano-cellulose developments,” says Patrik Bosander, Business Unit Director Packaging Solutions at BillerudKorsnäs, who is also speaking on behalf of Packz collaborative network. “Nearer to market is dispersion coating of barrier materials, where BillerudKorsnäs has made great progress recently. I am very pleased with the moisture barrier properties that we have reached, and there will be a market launch related to this later this year.”
More to come So can paper replace plastics? No, not yet – but its possibilities for barrier protection, as we have seen, are much greater than before. There is more to come, too: “We will hopefully see cellulose based materials with appropriate barrier properties launched within the next few years,” says Patrik Bosander. There has, for example, been growing research interest in nanocellulose technology which is non-toxic, biodegradable and biocompatible with few to no adverse effects on the environment or human health. “Having said that, I do think it is too simplistic to see the issue in terms of either/or. There will, for the foreseeable future, be for example certain
“In terms of sustainability – recycling and CO2 wise – responsibly sourced paper packaging is superior to all plastics, due its renewable source and low or no use of fossil fuels in production.”
food stuff that needs plastics packaging. But there is a lot of unnecessary plastic packaging out there, and that we want to help CPG brand owners and retailers to replace with better, paper-based, packaging alternatives.” But finally, let’s not forget that as much as paper manufacturers are working on ways to enhance barrier properties, plastics producers are doing the same at the chemical level when it comes to improving recyclability. PEF is just one polymer we have been hearing about – a 100% biobased polymer which, if introduced to the market, could prove to be a real alternative to conventional petroleum-based plastics. The answer, perhaps, is not as simple as replacing one material with another, but employing the best material for each individual case. This requires all mem-
bers of the supply chain to work as a coherent whole – something we are closer to than ever before with initiatives such as CEFLEX, the New Plastics Economy n and many more besides.
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A SOFTWARE MARKET OVERVIEW Design
Following on from his machinery overview in the previous edition of Packaging Europe, Fin Slater takes an industry-wide look at a selection of new and existing software products from across the packaging value chain.
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EngView Package & Display Designer Suite is a CAD/CAM solution for 2D design and 3D modelling of boxes and POP/POS displays. The product seeks to optimize every aspect of the packaging and display design process, from 2D drafting of resizable structures, to applying artwork over the 3D model directly in Adobe Illustrator and then the creation of files for production that feed the printing and cutting machines. The company is keen to stress that its product can â€œsave valuable designer time, eliminate structural design and graphic errors, and save costs by reducing the number of samples that need to be produced.â€?
Chili Publish simplifies and automates graphics production, allowing users of any skill level to create artwork automatically. They have the choice to either edit customizable documents in a browser, or fully automate the production of both physical and digital designs. On the potential applications for its software, the company told us: “There are two types of people who use our technology – brand owners, who buy our solution and integrate it with third party software like Esko Webcentre, and agencies who want to acquire the technology to build an application, like a tool that can automatically produce labels or a brand management platform.”
Efficiency Esko recently announced a host of new features for its integrated software portfolio, Esko Software 20, with the aim of delivering operational efficiency improvements to the packaging value chain Foremost amongst these is a latest generation native PDF editor for packaging and label prepress, ArtPro+ 20.0. With advantages including 70% faster trapping, significant time and material savings for staggered plate cutting, as well as simplification of shrink sleeve jobs, the latest software delivers a significant boost to prepress operational excellence. EFI’s Packaging Suite provides workflows for an industry-wide range of applications – from labelling to flexible packaging. According to the company, the software seeks to deliver efficiency by: “reducing touches, improving accuracy, automating complex operations, and delivering repeatable, profitable results.”
Business In the company’s own words, Pack IOT is “the only plug-and-play, cloudbased production software for data collection and analysis for the packaging industry”. The software helps factories to look into data and identify key areas of success, as well as areas for improvement. The company’s CEO told Packaging Europe: “Most packaging converters have more than 40% of downtime in their production lines without really knowing why. Through our plug-and-play software, specially developed for the packaging industry, we help them to understand what is really going on in their factories.” Theurer’s theurer.com C3 is an ERP/MIS business management software platform for print and packaging. It seeks to cover every business process – from estimating and sales to production planning, logistics and controlling. The platform prides itself on giving customers a consistent overview of all its features. All documents that are linked to an order are accessible in one place, and every receipt, pallet, packaging, or single roll used for the order can be seen in the document section of the software.
Labelling Seagull Scientific’s BarTender product leverages over 30 years of experience to help customers create, automate and manage labels, barcodes, RFID tags and more. It allows the user to design labels, connect them to a live database, integrate automated printing with existing business systems and launch print requests.
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BarTender recently helped Spainâ€™s largest manufacturer of bags for coffee and powdered milk for vending machines to standardize, streamline and automate its processes for designing, managing, and printing its product labels. With the new system, the company went from manually working with 300â€“400 labels to automatically handling 5,000â€“6,000 labels. Label Cloud from NiceLabel is a cloud labelling solution with four key features. The first of these allows customers to design labels using a
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system with a Microsoft Word-style user experience. The company claims that no prior design experience is required to use this part of its software. The solution allows labels to be stored in a centralized storage system, and the designs can be accessed for anywhere at any time using a web browser. Label Cloud also lets the user integrate label printing with their product data, with the aim of preventing mislabelling and errors. As an additional efficiency offering, the platform allows labelling processes to be extended n to other departments, as well as business partners.
NUDE PRODUCTS: IS THE END OF PACKAGING COMING?
It is a challenging time for packaging specialists and brand owners: the desire for sustainable consumption is growing, but at the same time the products should also be safe and comfortable. Packaging Europe asked Uwe Melichar (epda President, Melichar Bros.) and Christian Prill (Partner Brand Strategy at Factor) what brand owners, designers and packaging specialists should do now. PE: Rem Koolhaas wrote the bon mot ‘If less is more, maybe nothing is everything’. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world without packaging – with nude products?
CP: Many people question their own consumption today and would like to reconcile their actions with reasonable goals, such as fewer CO2 emissions. A few years ago, this resulted in new retail formats such as ‘Package Free Stores’ (New York), ‘Helu’ and ‘Bulk Market’ (London), ‘Original Unverpackt’ (Berlin) or ‘Ome Farm’ (Tokyo). Since Corona, however, we have seen that in addition to the desire for sustainability, a high
level of security for people is even more important. That is also an ethical value, other than comfort. Seen in this way, nude products have become less likely again. I see opportunities for brands above all in the focus on innovative developments. This is the best way to achieve sustainability and security together. But that’s a long way off.
UM: Interestingly, coffee-to-go cups have been popular again since Corona. They are anything but sustainable. First of all, such packaging forms emerged because people have become increasingly mobile. They then prevailed mainly because they were paired with time optimization and habits, for example at Packaging Europe | 23 |
breakfast in the subway. Other product categories have followed suit. Minis are followed by snack bits, everything even smaller, available at any time, everything individually packed, everything convenient. However, these forms of packaging now have a high need for security, which at least currently puts the desire for sustainability in second place. We can only make progress with innovative approaches if we want to become more sustainable.
PE: They both address the importance of innovation. What are the greatest opportunities here?
UM: Packaging and the materials from which it is made are subject to evolution and are getting better, more sustainable and more digitally communicative. This is a great opportunity. For example, the material manufacturers are working flat-out to develop plastic substitutes made from wood fibers – liquid
wood / lignin, Sulapac, new cellophane foils etc. Digitally communicative means that packaging can be identified in the waste stream and for the recycling process.
CP: The effort to innovate seems more correct to me than to forego consumption. There is always such skepticism about the future, but that does not meet the needs of most people. The crux lies in communication: communicating these services to a wide audience is important for brand owners and packaging professionals. This is currently a very big acceptance problem. A lot of intelligent education is necessary here.
PE: What should this communication be like? CP: I think the best communication is that which is an integral part of the brand presence. Who is not happy about the unboxing experience with the new iPhone when the lid slides up with this unique pffft? That also shows that the shape of a brand is indivisible. The division into a substantial, useful product and an aesthetically oriented shell with no real benefit is misleading. Ideally, packaging as well as brand design contribute to a brand shape that allows the product and its casing to merge into one unit. UM: Yes, but that does not contradict the desire and the urgent requirement for more environmentally friendly alternatives. Apple also has to rethink packaging. And consumers need more information about materials and more instructions and help with recycling. ‘Plastic bad, paper good’ is too simplistic. PE: Now ‘purpose’ is the big buzzword. What does that mean for brands and packaging?
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UM: Purpose is the new brand ethics. The search for more meaning and sustainability is also right for brand owners in packaging. As I said before: There are enough starting points, for example, to do without unnecessary packaging elements or to optimize the necessary product casings by reducing material thicknesses and using alternative materials. ‘Avoid, diminish, change’ are the catchwords – in particular the diminution in connection with light engineering, i.e. a new design or statics, as well as the use of hybrid solutions that cleverly combine materials, offering extremely promising approaches in structural packaging. CP: Purpose, meaning more sustainability and an overarching sense of the brands, is correct for now. I find it difficult when brands completely move away from their actual identity – such as the German discounter Penny, which distributes drinks and condoms at festivals under the headline ‘Purpose’. Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply be a good discounter and to communicate that too?
To do this, they must also be clearly positioned in the uptrading niche. Coffee, tea and chips are segments in which this can currently be seen very clearly. And that creates added value for everyone. Yogi tea ‘natural defense’ creates greater added value and makes more sense compared to the loose chamomile flower. It’s good for everyone.
UM: That is a good point, because it is also important to communicate the added value of a product. In the right interplay with the product protection, the extension of the shelf life and possibly a good dosage of the content, packaging can do a lot here. The right balance between safety, convenience and sustainability is the key, and in some places it makes perfect sense to do without packaging. But not dogmatically and not everywhere; sometimes n less is actually more, sometimes less is simply wrong.
PE: Uptrading and increasingly special offers in almost every product segment have determined the markets in recent years. How do you see this development?
CP: Brands continue to differentiate markets. They arrange social spaces. In this respect, primary packaging is a catalyst for delimitation and connection. Some are in their brand, but others are not. This is a major achievement of the brands through positioning, branding and packaging.
The experts Christian Prill is a partner for Brand Strategy at EPDA member Factor (www.factor.partners). His main concern is how brands can authentically serve the triad of needs of security, sustainability and comfort themselves.
Uwe Melichar is a packaging expert and president of EPDA. With his company Melichar Bros., he advises companies and develops tailor-made, sustainable packaging solutions.
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CLOSE THE GLASS LOOP – AN INSIDE LOOK How will Close the Glass Loop, the new pan-European action platform, achieve its aim of increasing European glass recycling rates to 90%, and why is this so important now? Victoria Hattersley spoke to Adeline Farrelly, Secretary General of FEVE – one of the founding partners of the initiative – to learn more.
we reported at the time of its official launch in June, Close the Glass Loop is an industry platform that aims to unite the glass collection and recycling value chain to achieve more bottle-to-bottle recycling. The goal is to achieve a 90% collection rate of used glass packaging in the EU by 2030. The rate currently stands at an average of 76%, although this does vary considerably from country to country: Belgium and Sweden have achieved particularly impressive levels, at 98% and 97% respectively, while the UK is at a less inspiring 68%. The second goal is to achieve an overall better quality of recycled glass, so more recycled content can be used in new production loops.
While there are other glass associations in Europe and indeed throughout the world, to our knowledge there is no comparable glass platform that brings together public and private stakeholders in this way. Clearly, then, it’s an important development in terms of Europe’s drive towards a circular economy.
The catalyst But why now? Haven’t the aims and goals embodied by Close the Glass Loop been important for a long time? “The EU is focused very heavily on trying to reduce the environmental impact of industries and pushing the idea of circularity rather than single use, so of course we wanted to address this issue,” says Adeline. “But the catalyst behind Packaging Europe | 27 |
WEBINAR HOSTED BY PACKAGING EUROPE
RETHINKING SUSTAINABILITY Unlocking the Full Circularity of Polystyrene Since its foundation a decade ago, Trinseo has maintained sustainability as a core value which is deeply embedded within the company and its employees are truly passionate about improving our world by addressing complex materials challenges and delivering products that are intrinsic to daily life. In this 45-minute webinar you will get a brief overview about Trinseo’s sustainability journey and its recently published Sustainability Goals 2030 from Walter van het Hof, Global Industry Affairs & Sustainability Leader at Trinseo. After the introduction, Julien Renvoise, Global Circularity Manager Plastics at Trinseo, will highlight why
polystyrene is quite a unique material and a preferred choice for packaging applications. He will then address a couple of misperceptions that polystyrene is linked to. Julien Renvoise will continue in this webinar by explaining why the polystyrene industry joined forces and created Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS) and how engaging with the entire value chain is further unlocking the full potential of polystyrene Towards the end of the presentation he will focus on the different recycling technologies for polystyrene, the mechanical recycling, dissolution and depolymerization and explain where Trinseo stands with concrete projects on PS recycling in Europe. The webinar will end with a facilitated Questions and Answer session.
WALTER VAN HET HOF Global Industry Affairs & Sustainability Leaders Trinseo
JULIEN RENVOISE Global Circularity Manager Plastics Trinseo
Trinseo (NYSE:TSE) is a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber. We are focused on delivering innovative and sustainable solutions to help our customers create products that touch lives every day — products that are intrinsic to how we live our lives — across a wide range of end-markets, including automotive, consumer electronics, appliances, medical devices, lighting, electrical, carpet, paper and board, building and construction, and tires. Trinseo had approximately $3.8 billion in net sales in 2019, with 17 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,700 employees. For more information visit: www.trinseo.com
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Please join us in our live webinar on 9th September, 14:00 BST, to: • Hear about Trinseo’s Sustainability Journey including its recently published Sustainability Goals for 2030 • Learn how Trinseo is unlocking the full potential of polystyrene to contribute to the EU targets to have at least 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics in packaging products by 2025 • Discover how Trinseo is engaging with the entire value chain to close the loop on polystyrene recycling and where the company stands today with various recycling technology projects
VICTORIA HATERSLEY Editor Packaging Europe
Working across print, digital and live media, Packaging Europe is the leading intelligence resource for European packaging professionals. Our mission is to connect forward thinkers across the value chain with the latest developments in packaging technology and materials, making sense of innovation in the context of the core business challenges packaging is required to meet.
Close the Glass Loop was the recently announced revision of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, which by 2030 will be focused on real recycling as opposed to simply collection for recycling. This is obviously much stricter, and for glass it will mean reaching a 75% real recycling rate by 2030. If you take into account 10% losses from collection of waste to the output of the recycling plant, we would therefore need to be collecting 85%, give or take some leverage, so we have put that figure at 90% as a reasonable target to aim for. “Clearly, then, this will require all elements of the supply chain to be working more closely together. We need to act now to bring all actors in the chain – the glass industry, recyclers, EPR schemes, municipalities, brand owners, etc. – in line so we can achieve our goals.” Importantly, this does not mean cross-EU harmonization – Adeline is quite clear that this is not the goal. “We believe from talking to our members that there are already very well-established systems in some countries that are working very well. Maybe it would be useful to achieve harmonization at national level, but we don’t believe this is realistic at EU level.” There are, therefore, two levels of action within the organization: a multistakeholder European platform that coordinates the projects; and national governance structure to implement individual national plans. This decentralized structure will perhaps give the required level of flexibility to account for specific challenges within individual member states.
accordingly. The infrastructure and service provision need to be seamless, from putting the bottle into the bin and bank and having it brought back to use for recycling.” But this is not the only stumbling block: there are other key user groups that need to be addressed – particularly the HORECA sector. In addition to household collection, the initiative is therefore also keen to promote separate glass collection for this sector. Another bottleneck – ‘surprisingly’, says Adeline – is that it can be challenging to arrange collection in large urbans areas compared to rural areas. “In Paris, for example, it’s difficult to find space for bottle banks so we need to look at putting different schemes in place for different areas. Touristic areas or high-rise apartments, etc., will also require a different approach. There’s no one-size-fits-all.” Following collection, the next step to address is sorting – removing non-target materials such as labels, caps and so on. The more the sorting and cleaning process can be optimized, the greater the percentage of this valuable product will be recycled.
Aiming for ‘seamless infrastructure’ To achieve these ambitious aims there will be some key challenges or bottlenecks to address, the most significant of which, says Adeline, is collection. If this is not done in a systematic way then the material can be destroyed or contaminated and a valuable resource is lost. That’s why Close the Glass Loop would advocate for separate collection of glass. “The more you handle glass,” she says, “the more damage can be done, so if the collection point is as close as possible to the point of consumption this makes it more convenient for the user and rates will go up Packaging Europe | 29 |
WEBINAR HOSTED BY PACKAGING EUROPE
ECODESIGN: THE IMPORTANCE OF MANUFACTURING SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS Choosing the right label design for your product starts with understanding how the packaging protects your product, enhances consumer use, and enables a sustainable end-life. During this session, we will walk you through the EcoDesign approach and its advantages.
FLOR PEÑA HERRON Sustainability Project Manager Europer Avery Dennison
VICTORIA HATTERSLEY Editor Packaging Europe
Avery Dennison (NYSE: AVY) is a global materials science company specializing in the design and manufacture of a wide variety of labelling and functional materials. The company’s products, which are used in nearly every major industry, include pressure-sensitive materials for labels and graphic applications; tapes and other bonding solutions for industrial, medical, and retail applications; tags, labels and embellishments for apparel; and radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions serving retail apparel and other markets. Headquartered in Glendale, California, the company employs more than 30,000 employees in over 50 countries. Reported sales in 2019 were $7.1 billion. Learn more at www.averydennison.com
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Key learning objectives: • Learn what EcoDesign is • Learn the importance of the incorporation of environmental aspects into the design and into product development in order to avoid negative environmental impacts throughout its useful life. • Guidelines Design for Recycling • EcoDesign benefits
Working across print, digital and live media, Packaging Europe is the leading intelligence resource for European packaging professionals. Our mission is to connect forward thinkers across the value chain with the latest developments in packaging technology and materials, making sense of innovation in the context of the core business challenges packaging is required to meet.
‘The Furnace of the Future’
‘A lot of work to do’
As we know, glass is a permanent material that can be recycled infinitely. According to Close the Glass Loop, every tonne of recycled glass saves 1.2 tonnes of virgin raw materials, with a 2.5% energy reduction for each 10% of glass recycled in the furnace and a 5% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. And yet it would be remiss of us not to address the fact that those who advocate in favour of plastic are quick to point out the energy-intensive nature of the glass production process itself. Is there a sense in which this negates some of those environmental benefits? “We are very proud of two initiatives we are taking to address this issue. Bear in mind that the CO2 emissions in our industry come from two areas: melting and use of virgin materials. In the melting phase, 80% of our emissions are from the energy we use – natural gas – and the other 20% come from the use of virgin materials in glassmaking. If we can switch the virgin materials to recycled glass we get rid of those 20%.” Secondly, says Adeline, for the other 80% of CO2 emissions there is another big project in the pipeline that could have the potential to make huge energy savings in the glass production loop. Twenty European glass manufacturers are coming together to build the first large-scale hybrid electric furnace to run on 80% green electricity that can melt all colours of glass. Currently at the demo project stage, the ‘Furnace of the Future’ will be the first large-scale hybrid oxy-fuel furnace to run on 80% renewable electricity in the world. (There are currently some electric furnaces operating in the industry, but they are for very small scales of production.) If successful, it could replace current fossil-fuel energy sources and cut CO2 emissions by 50%. Ardagh Group – the second largest glass packaging manufacturer in the world – has volunteered to build the furnace in Germany. It will be built in 2022, with an assessment of first results planned for 2023.
Adeline also points out that glass, owing to its intrinsic qualities, does not have the same issues that plastics have. It is 100% recyclable and never loses its characteristics no matter how many times it is renewed. This also means it is safe for food contact because the melting process is a purifier: with recycled plastics, it’s not secret that it can be much harder to get approval for food applications. “So, yes, we have issues of CO2 emissions and we are committed to tackling this admittedly huge challenge,” says Adeline. “We will also have to implement a plan for how to measure real recycling in the future, in line with the updated directive. Collecting all that data will be quite complex, so n there’s a lot of work to do but we have the capabilities to do it.”
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ON SECOND THOUGHTS... WE CANNOT RECYCLE OUR WAY OUT OF PLASTIC POLLUTION Yoni Shiran, Programme Director at SYSTEMIQ, tells us why recycling is not the single answer to the plastic pollution dilemma.
lastic’s low cost, light weight, convenience, durability, and ability to be produced in different colours and shapes have driven its proliferation. As plastic production and use have surged, so too has plastic pollution, and with it the amount of plastic in the ocean,i which could already be as high as 150 million tonnes, ii – with severe consequences for ecosystems, businesses and communities. An analysis by SYSTEMIQ and The Pew Charitable Trusts, Breaking the Plastic Wave, projects that without action, municipal solid waste plastic could double, plastic waste flowing into the ocean could triple and plastic stock in the ocean could quadruple in 20 years. From across the plastic value chain and government, decision-makers have advocated to ambitiously scale-up the recycling industry, as a means to provide an economic sink for plastic and reduce use of virgin feedstock. Dozens of companies have committed to use 100% recyclable plastic, to use at least 25% recycled content in their products, and to support the scale-up of mechanical recycling and chemical conversion infrastructure in different ways. All of these aim to significantly increase the abysmal global plastic recycling rate, which is currently below 15%. But while recycling is critically important – and we should absolutely pursue all these measures – we will never recycle our way out of the plastic crisis. In Breaking the Plastic Wave, we estimate that even if we scaled mechanical recycling infrastructure, waste collection infrastructure, design for recycling, and even chemical conversion as ambitiously as we can possibly imagine, globally, and starting immediately, we would still see a 40% increase in plastic pollution relative to today given the rapid growth in plastic production, especially in the Global South where infrastructure is lacking most. Put simply, if we focus solely on recycling, the speed at which we can realistically scale the solution is slower than the growth of the problem. Several limiting factors are tempering faster growth of recycling. First is the (realistic) rate at which we can scale collection. Closing the global collection gap would require connecting about 500,000 people to collection services per day, every day, until 2040. Most of these people live in middle-to-low-income countries, where funding is least available,
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and/or in rural areas, where waste collection is more logistically challenging and expensive. Additionally, value chain losses can reach 42% and technical constraints limit mechanical recycling to 3-5 loops (this is before accounting for the challenging economics of recycling, which could be addressed through better policy and R&D). Chemical conversion has similar challenges: first, waste still needs to be collected, and most chemical conversion technologies are not profitable enough to cover collection costs. Besides, chemical conversion also has process losses, cannot process all polymers or highly contaminated waste, and is not economical in many parts of the world. Breaking the Plastic Wave is not about fighting plastic; it is about fighting plastic pollution. And yet we must recognize that although the scale-up of recycling and waste management is critically needed in many parts of the world and is the cornerstone of a circular economy, these efforts alone will not be enough to stop plastic pollution within budgetary and political constraints at the current levels of plastic production – let alone the expected growth. Even if we could, this scenario would come with a 56% growth in greenhouse gas emissions, a 125% growth in public spending and a 39% growth in private sector costs (after accounting for revenues from recycled plastic) by 2040. It is therefore essential to couple recycling ambitions with ambitious reduction and substitution measures (while accounting for unintended consequences like carbon emissions of substitutes). Breaking the Plastic Wave estimates that reduction and substitution can offset the expected growth of plastic in the next 20 years, leaving recycling with the ‘simple’ task of scaling sufficiently to deal with today’s plastic volumes (as repren sented by the ‘flat’ curve above the green ‘wedge’). C. Ostle et al., “The Rise in Ocean Plastics Evidenced From a 60-Year Time Series,” Nature Communications 10 (2019), http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09506-1. ii J.R. Jambeck et al., “Plastic Waste Inputs From Land Into the Ocean,” Science 347, no. 6223 (2015): 768-71, http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1260352. i
THE SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING SUMMIT 2020 GOES VIRTUAL Presenting a season of world-class panels and networking events throughout October and November 2020 Bringing together the value chain, from materials science to brand owners, along with regulators, NGOs and recyclers, we’ll be: • • • •
Addressing the fundamental sustainability objectives for packaging and packaged goods, such as competing visions of circularity. Confronting the climate crisis and COVID-19 Exploring the core challenges: collaboration, regulation, e-commerce Scouting for the new ideas and technologies that can take us forward Live announcement of the winners of the Sustainability Awards 2020
Join us for a series of open-access and exclusive sessions.
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