Industry giants, hidden champions and global players form a joint platform in order to objectify the debate on packaging and call for a dialogue.
On 5 May representatives of the packaging value chain from Austria announced the launch of the Platform “Verpackung mit Zukunft”.
“Our foundation took place at the end of 2019 and now we want to make it publicly visible. We are sure that we can achieve more together in order to bring objectivity into the packaging discussion”, says Axel Kühner, CEO of Greiner AG, an Upper Austrian global player in the plastics and foam industry.
The Platform “Verpackung mit Zukunft” was founded by seven companies along the entire value chain – Greiner AG, ALPLA, Nestlé Austria, Coca-Cola Austria, Interseroh Austria, ENGEL Austria and EREMA Group.
The cornerstones are the promotion of a functioning circular economy, the creation of more awareness for the reasonable use of packaging or for the avoidance of packaging and thus the initiation of a constructive dialogue with different stakeholders who are part of the packaging discussion. Each member makes an important contribution to the success of these objectives.
The crisis proves the important qualities of packaging
“The four cornerstones of a functioning circular economy – Reduce, Replace, Reuse and Recycle – are already being implemented by the members of the platform in many areas. But together we can drive innovation even further. We want to position Austria as a model country in terms of sustainability in packaging and be a mouthpiece for these efforts”, says Günther Lehner, CEO of the Vorarlberg ALPLA Group, a globally active specialist for plastic packaging and recycling.
“In the current crisis, important qualities of packaging – transport protection, longer shelf life of food and the hygiene factor – have become clearly visible. In general, and especially in times like these, plastic packaging has the factual argument on its side – it would be good if it were to remain that way afterwards,” says Angela Teml, Head of Corporate Communications at Nestlé Austria, with a view to the future. Sustainability remains the focus of all considerations and projects. “For example, the entire Römerquelle PET bottle range is already made from 100 percent recycled PET,” says Coca-Cola Austria’s company spokesman Philipp Bodzenta, citing one of many examples.
Common principles to “close the circle”
The Platform “Verpackung mit Zukunft“ wants to further develop the debate on packaging by positioning itself as a dialogue partner – for politics, science, NGOs and consumers. “We want to assume responsibility and seek an exchange with all relevant stakeholders. The goal is a functioning circle economy and with the creation of the platform we have come a significant step closer to this goal”, summarizes Manfred Hackl, Managing Director of EREMA Group.
Austria pioneers in the development of a circular economy
“It is of central importance that companies in the packaging industry network globally. The circular economy is a supra-regional and at the same time interdisciplinary challenge that we can only pursue and successfully solve together.
As a mechanical engineering company, we make a significant contribution to producing packaging in such a way that it conserves resources and is itself recyclable. The focus is on ‘Design for Recycling’ and new digital technologies. There are a number of companies in Austria whose innovative technologies are in worldwide demand in this field,” explains Stefan Engleder, CEO of ENGEL Austria GmbH.
Dialogue partner towards politics
The members of the Platform “Verpackung mit Zukunft” also have specific concerns they want to discuss with politicians.
“We are thinking of introducing uniform collection systems – especially for the “Gelber Sack” (“yellow bag”), improving the infrastructure in the areas of separation, collection, sorting and recycling or simply promoting packaging solutions that are 100% reusable, recyclable or recoverable,” names Franz Sauseng, Managing Director of the environmental service provider Interseroh Austria, as the first few points.
The platform members are planning numerous activities.
“We will start with a digital panel discussion on the topic of food waste, we will hold talks with political actors and seek exchange with science and NGOs in regular sparring meetings,” says Günther Lehner, summarizing the platform’s upcoming activities.
About the platform
The Platform “Verpackung mit Zukunft” is an association of Austrian companies – Greiner AG, ALPLA, Nestlé Austria, Coca-Cola Austria, Interseroh Austria, ENGEL Austria and EREMA Group – along the packaging value chain.
The members of the platform are convinced that a resource-saving use of packaging is possible and makes sense.
The platform wants to work towards optimizing recyclability and constantly improving sustainability in the packaging industry.
To this end, the platform relies on an open dialogue with all relevant players and offers an objective and fact-based discourse.
The companies of the Platform “Verpackung mit Zukunft” employ more than 40,000 people and generate a turnover of more than € 9 billion.