25th Europen Anniversary - Packaging innovation for a circular economy: Fast-forward 25 years

Excerpt: Event brought together over 100 distinguished representatives from EU institutions,the packaging supply chain,the waste management sector,NGOs,media with stake in packaging & sustainability

On 25 April 2018, EUROPEN celebrated its 25th Anniversary with keynote speeches from high-level representatives of the European Institutions, followed by a panel of CEOs/Senior Executives from EUROPEN members discussing the key role of packaging innovation for a circular economy in our evolving societies. The event brought together over 100 distinguished representatives from EU institutions, the packaging supply chain, the waste management sector, NGOs, media and other actors with a stake in packaging and sustainability.

EUROPEN's 25th anniversary – Packaging Innovation for a Circular Economy: Fast-forward 25 years- provided an opportunity to discuss future challenges and opportunities for packaging in transitioning towards a circular economy in Europe, while reflecting on the progress achieved by our members in successfully decoupling the use of packaging material and economic growth, since EUROPEN's launch in 1993. The constructive role that EUROPEN has played over the last twenty five years and the integrity it has gained in representing all packaging materials and links in the European packaging supply chain in policy related matters around packaging and the environment was recognised by all speakers.

First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, opened the event by congratulating EUROPEN on its 25th anniversary: “I think your organisation was relevant 25 years ago, but it is probably even more relevant today, because the fundamental question that we will all have to face is 'Are we going to be part of the solution or are we going to be part of the problem?' and you have clearly indicated to us, you want be part of the solutions. And I welcome that!”. He also congratulated those EUROPEN members who made “impressive pledges”, as part of the ongoing Plastics Strategy. Mr. Timmermans closed his speech by thanking EUROPEN for the strong cooperation it has built over the years with the EU institutions. He added: “Let me assure you that every step we will take now, will be after close consultation with you, we will push you, but not beyond the possible.”

His speech was followed by keynotes from Karl-Heinz Florenz, Member of the European Parliament and Shadow rapporteur on the parliamentary report on Plastics Strategy and Cosmin Boiangiu, Deputy-Ambassador of Romania to the EU. A panel discussion with leading industry representatives from the packaging supply chain in Europe, including Borealis, Crown Europe, Danone Waters, Nestlé Waters and Tetra Pak, gave insights into the packaging supply-chains' current and future commitments to packaging innovation for a circular economy. The event ended with a cocktail reception.

EUROPEN fully shares this vision. EUROPEN members have recently made ambitious commitments to continuously improve the environmental performance of their packaging and packaged products, which will make a sizeable contribution to the EU's new packaging waste targets for 2025/2030 and path towards an EU Plastics Economy.

Hans van Bochove, EUROPEN Chairman (Coca-Cola European Partners) said, “This year EUROPEN celebrates its 25th anniversary. In the last quarter century, and particularly around the recent development of EU circular economy ambitions, EUROPEN has offered constructive and progressive input to the work of the EU institutions. Today, EUROPEN's purpose is more relevant than ever. We are committed to seek joint solutions throughout the packaging supply chain for the many challenges ahead, to ensure that the Circular Economy Package and its Action Plan deliver tangible, sustainable and competitive benefits for the European environment, economy and society.”

Senior Executives from EUROPEN members, including Borealis, Crown Europe, Danone Waters, Nestlé Waters and Tetra Pak reaffirmed the packaging supply chain's commitment to packaging innovation for a circular economy, and emphasised the need for a clear enabling policy framework. Panellists stressed the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Single Market to give businesses the security to invest in tomorrow's packaging solutions. They also shared the view that collaboration among the packaging value chain is the only way to embed the upcoming changes in society.