Safe and Sustainable Packaging Conference

Sustainability, innovation and business drivers in the packaging industry

Event Details


Registration and coffee
Mihi Whakatau
Opening remarks from the Chair
Dr Eli Gray-Stuart, Lecturer in Packaging Technology, Massey University
Industry overview: Key insights driving the development of safe and sustainable packaging in New Zealand

In 2019 the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor released its report, “Rethinking Plastics”, written in response to growing public concern to plastic leaking into the environment and what Aotearoa New Zealand can do about it.  We found that plastic has been a victim of its own success. Cheap, light, and strong, it is overused and disregarded.  We need to start treating plastic as a valuable resource that is only used where appropriate and reused or repaired and not just thrown away.  We need to create and enable consistency in the design, use and disposal of plastics in all areas, including its use in safe and sustainable packaging.

  • Summary of report on Rethinking Plastics
  • What is sustainable packaging?
  • Issues and challenges with moving towards more sustainable packaging
Dr George Slim, Consultant, Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor
Updates on the development of a new national waste strategy
  • The Government’s response to Rethinking Plastics
  • The current program of work
  • Issues and opportunities from a central government perspective
  • The role of the manufacturing sector in reducing waste
Jenny Marshall, Senior Waste Policy Analyst, Ministry for the Environment
Morning break
Cross industry panel: End users and local authority viewpoints
  • With a growing movement around the world to impose plastic taxes, ban certain plastics or offering plastic credits - how will these initiatives ultimately impact the packaging sector in NZ?
  • Exploring end user’s recycling effort experience so far and suggestions for policy makers and enforcement
  • Addressing systemic gaps and pain points such as market fragmentation, lack of traceability and low-quality of recycled materials to deliver real value
Parul Sood, General Manager Waste Solutions, Auckland Council
Ingrid Cronin-Knight, GM Customer, Sustainability and Strategy, Waste Management NZ
Millie Porter, Resource Recovery and Waste Reduction Manager, Countdown
Jenny Marshall, Senior Waste Policy Analyst, Ministry for the Environment
Regulated framework to drive resource recovery
  • Time to step change our approach to resource recovery?
  • Systems that are flexible and remain relevant through change?
  • Application of a regulated framework for success
Rob Langford, Chief Executive Officer, The Packaging Forum
Lunch break
Supie case study: Packaging and e-commerce growth in an era of a circular economy

Supie is an online, membership-based market that runs on a no waste model.  The drastic surge in e-commerce in 2020 and 2021 and shift from B2B to B2C has changed consumer purchasing behaviours and the way that fulfilment is undertaken.  How can we best manage the impact this has on packaging and waste?

  • Utilising consumer insights to understand changing consumer trends around packaging
  • Exploring the power of digital transformation in influencing the future of retail and on-demand marketplace
  • What does the increase in e-commerce demand mean for sustainable secondary packaging?
  • Exploring packaging solutions that best support fulfilment and e-commerce delivery requirements
Olwyn Morgan, Operations Manager, Supie
Olivia Sutton, Sustainability Lead, Supie
The evolving role of packaging in logistics

With shifting consumer demand and the growth of e-commerce, logistics are becoming more diverse, complex and challenging.  It requires a shift in long-established paradigms about resource efficiency, along with the protective and flexible functions of packaging.

  • Utilising cost-effective packaging that protects goods along their logistical journey
  • Finding alternatives to plastic with the same benefits but without downsides
  • Exploring the latest packaging innovations that are durable, flexible and cost efficient
  • Case study: Foodstuffs’ journey on positive financial savings and significant waste reductions with reusable pallet wraps
Emma Harding, Waste Minimisation Manager, Foodstuffs NZ
Joel Nichol, Director, Nichol Development & Distribution Ltd
Afternoon break
Panel: Compostable packaging vs recyclable packaging, which is the better option?
  • Customer’s expectations vs objective possibilities
  • Exploring sustainability through enhanced recycling
  • Chemical recycling of plastics – evolution or revolution?
  • The economic challenges to recyclability of disposable packaging
Monique Parsler, Principal Research Scientist, Callaghan Innovation
Dr Florian Graichen, GM – Forests to Biobased Products, Scion
Edward Whitehead, Co-Founder + Managing Director, Cyclpac
- Winner of 2021 Sustainable Packaging Design of the Year Gold Award – Recycle (for Melbourne Coffee) by PIDA
The Australasian Recycling Label in New Zealand

Clear labelling will increase recycling and recovery rates and contribute to cleaner recycling streams. The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council (FGC) has been leading the work on a harmonised recycling label for ANZ, the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL).  Lyn will share the proposed ARL framework and structure for New Zealand, clear up any misconceptions around ARL, discuss the practicalities of using the ARL in New Zealand and how industry can get involved. ​

Lyn Mayes, Director, Mad World
Meredith Epp, Sustainable Programs Officer, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation Ltd
Summary remarks from the Chair and networking drinks
Welcome back from the Chair
Dr Eli Gray-Stuart, Lecturer in Packaging Technology, Massey University
Using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to understand the carbon footprint of various packaging options and make informed decisions
  • A holistic side-by-side analysis - considering and comparing the full life cycle impact of different packaging material solutions 
  • Expanding the traditional LCA methods to include methods such as circularity, packaging waste reduction and improved shelf life
  • Enabling better positioning of sustainability commitments and reducing the environment footprint
Dr Barbara Nebel, CEO, thinkstep-anz
The contribution active and intelligent packaging solutions make to food safety perceptions
  • Why packaging is key to ensuring the quality, integrity and safety of the food
  • The relationship between the essential requirements driving packaging innovation and encouraging more sustainable food production
  • Using active and intelligent packaging to improve quality and shelf life, prevent the causes of deterioration, and detail on the history and freshness of the product
  • The challenges of integrating active and intelligent packaging solutions into existing food supply chains
  • The influence of active and intelligent packaging on consumer food choice, confidence and perceptions of food safety
Erin Young, Assistant Research Fellow, University of Otago
Morning break
The design edge: Leveraging packaging design to gain a competitive advantage in the aisle
  • Reaching your consumers with the right packaging strategy
  • Understanding the underlying principles to sustainability in design
  • Factoring consumer demands and sustainability trends into product packaging
  • Linking sustainability to design innovations and achieving first-to-market advantage
  • Avoiding misleading claims or green-washing messages
Panel: Business drivers for sustainable packaging
  • Assessing the sustainability progress to date by packaging end users
  • Reviewing barriers, enablers and circular business models
  • Materials vs business model selection – what influences the environmental footprint of packaging more?
  • Better understanding of the demographics of today’s consumers that are willing to pay extra for authenticated sustainable credentials
  • Practical examples to encourage increasing uptake of recycled materials by businesses
  • How major regulatory changes in advance countries will affect the global environmental packaging industry moving forward – what does the EU Green Deal mean in NZ?
Dr Benjamin Punchard, Global Packaging Insights Director, Mintel
Louise Nash, CEO and Founder, Circularity, XLabs and The Redesign of Everything podcast
Sandy Botterill, Circular Economy Manager, Plastics NZ
Lunch break
Achieving a circular economy solution at scale: Upcycling packaging waste into low carbon building materials

Post consumer beverage cartons, coffee cups and flexible film packaging are now being saved from the landfill and upcycled into high performing building materials. This session will shed light on saveBOARD’s journey right from the start, the hurdles they have to overcome, through to selling finished products into the construction market.

  • How saveBOARD is working with packaging providers to utilise waste streams to develop circular economy solutions and end-of-life solutions for their products
  • Understand how saveBOARD plans to increase local recycling rates while creating new green manufacturing jobs, relieving local landfills and building strong domestic end markets for a number of waste streams
Paul Charteris, CEO, saveBOARD
Case study: The Synlait Swappa Bottle - spearheading the reusable packaging

Reusable packaging models have been around for years but are regaining traction with consumers, which is driving innovation.  In this session Synlait will explore the feasibility of applying reusable packaging concept in supermarkets.

  • Exploring the benefits of reusable and refillable options
  • Potential barriers to reuse systems and how to overcome them
  • Sharing of Synlait’s pilot stainless steel packaging innovations journey, highlighting work done to-date and the anticipated challenges ahead
Hamish Reid, Director Sustainability and Brand , Synlait
Afternoon break
Big Brand Panel: Collaborating across the value chain to achieve sustainable goals
  • Creating alignment among diverse initiatives
  • What’s needed from the brand owner perspective
  • Guiding an inclusive transition towards a low carbon and circular economy for plastics
  • Enhancing consumer education – who is responsible?
  • Investment and innovation in recycling – where is the funding stream and who will benefit?
Chris Foley, Head of Energy & Environment, Kmart Group
Clarke Truscott, Head of Innovation, Sustainability, Strategic Projects & Container Return Schemes, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners
Julie Roberts, Sustainability Manager, Mitre 10 (NZ)
The Warehouse Group case study: Delivering packaging sustainability from a non-food retailer perspective

Companies are facing intense pressure to reduce the environmental impact of their product packaging. A variety of measures are being explored, including reduction of packaging, increasing recycled and recyclable content of packaging, the use of biodegradable materials, packaging returning schemes. The Warehouse Group shares its journey of improving packaging sustainability.

  • Reduce and remove: Supporting the fight against over packaging and waste
  • Replace: Improving packaging with sustainable alternatives
  • Recycle: Give the unwanted packaging a new life
Yi You, Sustainability Manager, The Warehouse Group
Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference