Henkel’s third Sustainability Days virtual conference once again proved an essential event for the global packaging and consumer goods industry. Held from November 30 to December 1, Sustainability Days 2022 brought together 1,500 attendees from 650 companies and 81 countries to discuss the industry’s response to urgent sustainability needs.
Expert speakers from Henkel and companies such as Amcor, Covestro, Equanimator, Touch Design and CJ Korea addressed topics such as the circular economy, reducing the environmental footprint of products and packaging, and emerging regulatory challenges.
“In the face of rapid change, companies are facing a breadth of challenges in making their products and operations more sustainable,” explains Kathleen Burzycki, Vice President Marketing and Strategy Henkel Consumer Goods Adhesives. “The Sustainability Day program provided an opportunity for consumer goods companies and suppliers to learn about the latest developments and to engage with thought leaders and industry experts.”
Sustainability Days 2022 hosted four main content tracks: Circularity, which looked at areas such as sourcing of materials, supply challenges, and better packaging design; Footprint, which addressed the impact of both upstream and downstream operations and how best to measure these impacts and engage suppliers for responsible sourcing; Regulations and Reporting which looked at the global context, technology issues and the value creation opportunities and impacts, including tax and financial impacts; and finally, the Trends, Challenges & Opportunities track, which explored sustainability strategies, how to finance the transition, and automation of e-commerce packaging.
The comprehensive program included presentations streamed from Düsseldorf, Germany, Shanghai, China and Stamford, USA to cover a breadth of topics from both a global and regional perspective. In his opening remarks to the virtual conference, Tilo Quink, Global Head of Henkel Packaging Adhesives, described how Sustainability Days 2022 provided a vital opportunity for the industry to come together to meet the challenges of sustainability: “Climate change is not on the horizon. It is already upon us, and the urgency to act has increased. The task at hand is not to wait until the perfect solutions are available – rather we must take the steps we can now to bridge the gap while we continue to work tirelessly toward true sustainability in packaging and consumer goods.”
Quink explained how this urgency informed Henkel’s commitment to facilitate collaboration and the sharing of best practices: “To take real action, we need to bring as many partners to the table as possible. At Henkel, we believe that this means not just making our own business more sustainable, but also working to empower our customers and other stakeholders to be compliant with regulations and to meet their own sustainability goals. Working together means creating strategic partnerships across the value chain to make sustainable solutions as accessible and simple as possible for all stakeholders.”
At the conclusion of the conference, Grant Kupko, Project Portfolio Manager Henkel Tech Ventures and the event’s host, summarized: “Over the last two days, it became clear that people feel we are reaching an industry singularity – a point where there is a growing awareness in industry, government, and manufacturing about the effects of sustainability and the opportunities to positive impact the environment by being sustainable today. When discussing the circular economy from design to recycling, a frequent topic was the importance of regulation as it can influence and impact every stage in this cycle. Another hot topic was quality – and materials used as inputs for recycling can impact quality.”
Kupko noted that by coming together as an industry, the participants at Sustainability Days 2022 had already helped to drive progress: “On behalf of Henkel, I would like to thank our partners and customers with all the knowledge and insight presented. Such discussions certainly inform the way we think and set our strategic goals and I’m sure many of you will have gained a similar benefit.”