One of January’s highlights was the Food Service Packaging Association’s seminar on the environment.  The FPA is a forum for the industry including manufacturers and suppliers of which we are proud members. Their annual seminar brings together industry activists, government and the media.

We heard from World Wildlife Fund, a Food Industry Brexit expert, academic Professors of Material Science and Marine Litter, and even Therese Coffee, the Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Life Opportunities.

The event is a forum to discuss and understand what is happening in the market and industry – so, of course, we want to bring you up to speed.

As you’d expect, this year was focused on plastics, particularly single-use plastic packaging (no surprise there).

Two messages came booming through: First, we were asked to perform the mental feat of holding two seemingly contradictory ideas together in the front of our minds: that plastic is incredibly damaging to the environment and that plastic is essential to the way our civilisation functions. We’ll find solutions if we keep those facts at the forefront of our minds.

They painted the picture simply: if we can make it easier to do good, and harder to do bad, then we might end up naturally solving some our most daunting sustainability challenges. This logic goes for manufacturers, suppliers like us, businesses like you, and consumers like yours.

The second message was that we must collaborate. Over the years there have seen increasing calls for collaboration, but this year, we felt a new and welcome sense of urgency.

When dealing with a shock or national emergency like a car crash, an earthquake, or epidemic, real humanity is shown as people drop their differences and work together. Yet, the global environmental problem we face is slow and chronic, like the proverbial frog in a pot of water that’s slowly being heated. And, because it is slow and doesn’t manifest itself suddenly, people don’t as readily drop their differences to collaborate.

Or rather, in areas of the world which are at risk from flooding as the oceans rise, people do collaborate. But we in the North and West of the globe don’t yet experience climate change as dramatically, and maybe that’s why we aren’t as readily open to collaboration. Unless of course we see our peers doing it. So, we must all keep working to do our part to get that momentum running. Have the dialogue, challenge the status quo, rethink our ways of being, innovate, and be the best eco-warriors we can be every single day.

Thanks to the FPA for continuing the dialogue and engaging the industry to think through this environmental challenge.