PHDCCI's blueprint for a packaging policy to help industry

The PHDCCI expert committee held a meeting on 24 November at the PHD House about how the year unfolded for the Indian packaging industry. Pooja Mahesh attended the membership-based collaborative that believes in the power of industry to make packaging more sustainable.

01 Dec 2022 | By Pooja Mahesh

The PHDCCI Packaging Committee aims to find sustainable solutions and advocate recyclability legislation

The PHDCCI expert committee on packaging sector held its meeting at the PHD House, New Delhi. This meeting was held to understand how the past year was for the packaging industry, what issues the industry faced, and how the industry can be supported meaningfully in the coming year.

The meeting was chaired by Saket Bhatia, senior vice president, Hindustan Tin Works. It was co-chaired by Jeevaraj Pillai, joint president – packaging & new product development (flexible packaging business), Uflex; Ajit Gupta, Director, Ajit Industries; Subodh Gupta, MD, Terrasoul Polymers; and Jeetendra Dharewa, CEO, Kaane Packaging.

The meeting also looked at how the events were held in the past year and what the response was. Post pandemic, they felt that the responses towards the events that were organised, big and small, this year was overwhelmingly positive as there was active participation from most industry players. Additionally, there were also specific events that were organised to help address specific concerns that the industry was finding difficult to implement or adopt. One such event was the adoption of the EPR and how firms in India can get registered. The core committee is looking to host a few more sessions in order to support the industry’s transition to EPR regime.

The meeting is looking forward to the forthcoming events – PackMach Asia in Mumbai (7 to 9 December), Packplas Uganda (2-4 March, 2023), and PackTech Asia in Jammu (16-18 March, 2023). While discussing these events, the Chamber outlined the roadmap on how to support these events.

It was discussed how the strengths of Indian packaging companies can be highlighted in the best manner. Governments, across the globe, have responded to public concerns regarding packaging waste, especially single-use packaging waste, and are implementing regulations to both minimise environmental waste and improve waste-management processes. In this light, the committee looked at how the packaging industry can be made more sustainable. And how there can be better outreach of this message.

How can packaging be made more sustainable? Which standards can be implemented in order to support companies on the sustainability path? These were some of the questions that were looked at.  Sustainability remains the number-one topic across the packaging value chain, with corporations setting ambitious targets to improve their performance. However, a survey by Mckinsey & Company showed that around 75% of organisations have made clear sustainable-packaging commitments but fewer than 30% are prepared to meet the regional requirements. Hence, the committee would like to ensure that companies do not falter in their sustainability goals.

Recently, the UN Conference on Climate Change COP27 was hosted in Sharm El Sheikh. The print and packaging industry is seeking social and governance pillars too. WhatPackaging? magazine ran an online poll which asked the questions: In this sense, what does environmental sustainability mean for you? 
 
The results were as follows.

Green factory: 15%
Circular economy: 15%
Energy/resource efficiency: 55%
Net zero: 15%

Polls such as this indicate that the industry needs help and guidance to implement their sustainability plans plus the necessary infrastructure in place. Presently, there are not enough recycling units in India that can help the companies to process their recycled waste. 
 
During an earlier confabulation, Jeevaraj Pillai, co-chair, PHDCCI Packaging Committee and joint president – packaging and new product development, UFlex had said, "The industry is a cross-roads, And although the discussions on sustainability and circular economy have been around for some time, a clear and discrete direction for the industry was missing. However, guidelines from major FMCG companies and food companies and the recently announced EPR guidelines define the course of action now and propose a clear way forward for every stakeholder of the industry."

The Committee highlighted the importance of EPR and how it encourages the producers and brand owners to work in the direction of reducing plastic waste by recycling, reusing the recycled contents, and the use of biodegradable packaging.

The Committee felt that without the necessary infrastructure being put in place, companies will find it difficult to implement a circular economy and have sustainable practices in place. Hence, they felt it was important for the government to take cognizance of the issue and take suitable action that can help the industry to grow better and in a sustainable manner. When the government is involved, certain processes can be made easier, particularly for SMEs and MSMEs. This can ensure that the industry and the government grow hand in hand, particularly when sustainability is concerned.

This is the need of the hour. With the Indian packaging industry poised to cross USD 70 billion in volume and continuing to grow at a CAGR of 18%, where flexible packaging enjoys the highest share.
Latest Poll

Which is the sustainable packaging product among MSMEs that is most popular?

Results

Which is the sustainable packaging product among MSMEs that is most popular?

Bagasse and biodegradable boxes

 

23.08%

Corrugated boxes

 

46.15%

Paper bags

 

30.77%

Recyclable plastic (bubble wraps, bio-plastic)

 

0%

Total Votes : 13

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