Lord Deben Highlights ‘Remarkable Opportunity for Innovation’ for Foodservice Packaging Industry
Photo caption: LtoR – Chris Sherrington, Principal Director – Eunomia, Mark Byrne, Vice Chair – FPA, Lord Deben, Howard Colliver, Chairman – FPA, Mike Childs, Head of Policy. Research and Science – Friends of the Earth, Martin Kersh, Executive Director – FPA, Jacob Hayler Executive Director – Environmental Services Association
Speaking at the Foodservice Packaging Association’s annual Environment Seminar, The Rt Hon Lord Deben said that the industry has a remarkable opportunity for innovation but must take action to avoid government being tempted to make the wrong decisions. He said that there is increased demand from the public for less packaging, more effective packaging, more recyclable and reusable packaging and these pressures will not ease anytime soon.
He added that governments are always looking for easy wins on topics that the public approves of and getting tough on litter and packaging are high on the agenda. It is vital that the foodservice packaging sector recognises this and drives a common agenda and provides workable solutions to these problems – or government may be tempted to take action. He urged the industry to concentrate on what is perceived to matter in terms of public opinion, which is not necessarily what actually matters most to people in the industry.
Lord Deben advised delegates to make sure their arguments are clear and to use the structures of communication available to them, including briefing local MPs. Building trust and gaining a reputation for integrity are essential components to success.
Mike Childs, from Friends of the Earth, added to this argument. He recognised that the industry has made progress and is continuing to make progress but said that the momentum must be kept up in order to achieve real results in 2017. Paul Rhodes, from Greggs, also stressed that the industry must press ahead to make real changes as fast as possible.
Speakers from Costa, McDonald’s, the Co-op and Simply Cups outlined the progress they are making and the initiatives they have put in place to increase the recycling of paper cups. However delegates and speakers agreed that the issue is complex, especially in terms of cup collection once the consumer has left the retailer’s premises. They also agreed the issues are not confined to paper cups and that the industry must address all types of packaging, the paper cup is merely an icon for the industry in this context. Professor Rob Holdway told the meeting not to under-estimate the power of the passion consumers have when they are angry about something – like packaging.
During debate, chaired by Mark Pawsey MP, a number of delegates and speakers agreed that more communication is needed around the necessary nature of food packaging and the role of packaging in preserving and protecting food and preventing even greater food waste.
Executive Director the Foodservice Packaging Association, Martin Kersh commented: “This was an excellent day of debate and information sharing and we are delighted to have had such high profile speakers address our seminar this year. We are particularly delighted that Friends of the Earth, Eunomia and the ESA took the time to come and talk to us, creating valuable dialogue with organisations that don’t necessarily share our views. More than 150 delegates enjoyed a day packed with information and insight that they can take away and act on. 2017 is set to be very exciting and challenging year for our industry.”
The FPA would like to thank everyone who spoke at the event:
The Rt Hon. John Gummer, Lord Deben, Chairman, Sancroft
Peter Backman, Managing Director, Horizons
Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Research and Science, Friends of the Earth
Dr Chris Sherrington, Principal Consultant, Eunomia
Jacob Hayler, Executive Director the Environmental Services Association (ESA)
Mark Pawsey, MP, Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group for Packaging
Iain Ferguson, Environment Manager, the Co-op
Professor Rob Holdway, Brunel University and Giraffe
Derek Robertson, Chief Executive, Keep Scotland Beautiful
Jane Bickerstaffe, Director, INCPEN
Trewin Restorick, CEO, Hubbub
Peter Goodwin, Managing Director, Simply Cups
Peter Rhodes, Group Safety, Health and Environment Manager, Greggs
Helen McFarlane, Senior Sustainability Consultant, McDonald’s Restaurants
Oliver Rosevear, Energy & Environment Manager, Costa Coffee