Q&A with new SPC EC member Kim Carswell

The SPC Executive Committee is an Advisory Committee to The Sustainable Packaging Coalition. The EC’s role is to provide advice, act as ambassadors for SPC/GreenBlue, and make recommendations on issues related to the SPC, including its goals, strategies, and projects.

We interviewed our three new Executive Committee members, Liza Blackwell (Nike), Kim Carswell (Target), and Chris Davidson (WestRock) to learn more about them and what they hope to accomplish while serving on the SPC Executive Committee.

EC member: Kim Carswell
Title: Group Manager, Packaging
Company: Target

Q: Can you tell me a little about your background and role at Target?

I come from the consumer packaged goods industry, spending over 20 years at General Mills and Kraft. I’ve been with Target for 10 years now and I lead a team of gifted packaging engineers that work with our vendors to develop all of the packaging for our owned brands. These include Archer Farms, Simply Balanced, Market Pantry, and up &up, with products in food, baby, health, beauty, and over the counter items such as vitamins and aspirin. Target also has several large, owned brands in our apparel and home goods businesses, including Fieldcrest, Threshold, RE, and Merona.

One of the things I really enjoy about working for Target is the opportunity to apply my knowledge at  a new point in the packaging supply chain. Working for a retailer, I look at packaging differently but I am able to use the skills I have acquired in past experiences.

Q: When and how did you first become interested in sustainability?

I’ve always been interested in sustainability. In junior high, I was part of the environmental club and in high school I was active in the ecology club. In fact, I helped organize one of the first Earth Day symposiums. I was also active in events like paper drives before easy curbside recycling was available, and volunteered at local nature centers.

How have you used your sustainability interest in your professional journey?

I became the keenest on sustainability in my professional life at Target over the past 10 years. I am realizing the incredible power of looking at the whole packaging supply chain. Expanding our mindset to think about the circular economy versus a linear path makes us more effective and holistic packaging professionals.

The more I thought about sustainability, the more I realized I needed to learn. And I’m still learning a lot. I think one of the keys to being successful is to never stop learning while you’re trying to make a difference.

Q: What inspired you to run for the Executive Committee? Is there anything the SPC is doing that you’re passionate about?

The  content knowledge the SPC staff provides helps me understand how to look at packaging and evaluate technologies. For example, the SPC’s recent position paper against biodegradability additives in petroleum-based plastics is really valuable. I also think there is a benefit for the SPC to have a retailer on their Executive Committee because of our direct connection to consumers.

Target also has a huge amount of passion, regard, and energy behind How2Recycle. I look forward to helping the program grow.

Q: What would you like to achieve during your time on the EC?

I’m very excited to be on the EC and work with the SPC staff. I look forward to helping the SPC navigate new opportunities and I would like to give back as much as I get from the SPC.


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