Interview with PEFC

Ahead of this July's E-PACK Asia, we spoke with Fabienne Sinclair, Head of Marketing at PEFC, to get a sneak peek of what we can expect from her presentation on 'Responsible packaging: the 3Rs from forest based packaging'. Here's what she had to say...

Q. Could you please give us a sneak peek of what you'll be presenting?

Focusing on one of the main e-commerce packaging raw materials– wood-based fibre packaging; I will guide the audience back to the source of their material - forests. I will touch on responsible sourcing, either of fresh fibres or recycled materials, via the traceability tool available to the retailers and their suppliers before showcasing what it means on the ground, in forests.

Q. What are the key changes you have seen in e-commerce packaging and supply chain over the last 5 years to now?

Key changes could sound contradictory but there are not. On one hand there is growth of overall volume of e-commerce packaging due to Covid online shopping explosion and number of retailers developing e-commerce. On the other hand, some large e-commerce retailers are putting in place packaging reduction plans to reduce the packaging quantity.
The other noticeable trend is the move from plastic wrappers to paper wrappers.

Q. From your perspective, what are the key factors forcing that change?

The move from plastic to paper-based packaging is a result of reducing our reliance on fossil-based materials and reducing our use of plastic. The impact on nature cannot be ignored, the Nature Capital cost has to be accounted for in companies’ profit for their own business sustainability. Consumers & shoppers are paying more attention to nature friendly packaging and the packaging waste. According to a study, more than 6 out of every 10 consumers admit that the environmental impact of packaging affects their purchasing decisions.

Q. In your opinion, what e-commerce challenges does the packaging industry as a whole still need to overcome as a priority? What are some of the biggest opportunities?

I would say the biggest issue is the packaging waste resulting from products purchased online. One opportunity could be to centralise the logistic platforms to reduce the quantity of single item parcels. E-commerce retailers must have a wealth of data by now to group product categories with their noncompetitive peers. For examples the cross purchase of books with garden equipment or clothes with health & beauty products.

Q. What are the trends and developments that will redefine the e-commerce packaging industry in the next 5 years?

Continue to reduce reliance on plastic-based packaging, increase the circularity of packaging by increasing the input of recycled fibres in paper-based packaging. Collaborate with public organisations to increase and improve the recycling infrastructure.

Q. What session topics are you most looking forward to hearing about at E-commerce Packaging Asia Summit?

Session 5: Sustainability in E-Commerce Packaging and Green Packaging