Collaboration as a Tool for Advancement

During the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s recent event, SPC Advance, I couldn’t help but notice the underlying theme of collaboration among attendees and their respective organizations.

Discussions and sessions made it clear that collaboration is necessary and frequent among organizations practicing sustainability regardless of their role in the supply chain. The Value of Forest Certification working group elaborated on the need for big-name brand owners to have an affiliation with forest-friendly NGOs in order to push their business forward. Partnerships with forest certification systems assist brands in building the trust of their consumers and the rest of the supply chain, especially at times when the environmental ethics of large corporate practices are put into question.

The same interaction is evident in the plastics industry, as identified by the sessions on the current and future state of flexible packaging recovery. Shari Jackson of the American Chemistry Council called on retailers to join WRAP, a campaign aimed at educating consumers and facilitating plastic film recycling. Wegmans Food Markets was identified as an exemplary campaign partner, as new signage and marketing materials has successfully engaged their customers in film recycling, resulting in a 20% increase between Earth Day 2013 and Earth Day 2014. During Jackson’s presentation attendees participated in the conversation and encouraged the WRAP campaign to engage more logistical partners to help with commercial film backhaul, as the opportunities in film recycling expand beyond brand owners and retailers.

In such a competitive business, it’s impressive and inspiring to see major corporations engage one another to derive best practices. From the mingling in the hotel lobby to the late night chats following the pub crawl to the inspirational case studies detailed in the sessions, there is no question that SPC Advance attendees recognize the value of collaboration in advancing sustainability.

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