The SPC’s Essentials of Sustainable Packaging

There was one takeaway from the recently released results of the 2013 Packaging Digest Sustainable Packaging survey that struck me as being particularly interesting: when asked what is needed to make packaging more sustainable, more respondents than ever before mentioned a need for their staff to be better trained in the field of sustainable packaging. More training, you say? Fear not, survey respondents, it just so happens that the SPC has a one day training seminar designed to teach the concepts of sustainable packaging to everyone throughout the supply chain.

Haven’t you heard? We call it The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging, and we’ve been teaching this course for years, to hundreds of packaging professionals, on three different continents, with a lot of success.In fact, just last month we brought the course to Oakland, CA and taught it at the headquarters of StopWaste.

One of the things I always enjoy most about teaching the course is the interaction with the participants and the ways in which we always end up learning from each other. It’s no accident that this tends to happen: making packaging more sustainable requires full supply chain engagement and collaboration, and the participants always hail from a diverse set of supply chain positions. It’s perfect. Want to know the brand owner perspective on a sustainability issue? Chances are they’re in the room, and we can ask them. Want to get the opinion of a representative from a government agency? No problem. They’re in the room too.

In Oakland I was particularly struck by the collection of attendees from Recology, CalRecycle, and StopWaste. There we were in the region with the most impressive waste management practices in the country, and in the same room were so many of the individuals responsible for making it happen, all taking part in the same collective conversation about making packaging more sustainable. Mix in our participants hailing from converters, brand owners, retailers, and the line between student and teacher quickly became blurry. But this is expected. It always ends up that the course is much more than a lecture-based seminar – it feels much more like a meeting of the minds, and this instance was no exception. It just reminds that if the packaging community feels that more training is needed, we happen to have the perfect forum to make that happen.

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