New WPO President Sets Goals

OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL | The World Packaging Organisation (WPO) reports that Pierre Pienaar, elected president in May of this year, announced his goals during the board meeting of 2017, held in Brazil the first week of November.

“We cannot ignore that some countries still face the extreme inequality of income between professionals and the masses, that being the biggest contributor toward the low GDP,” said Pienaar. “Having this in mind, we need to contemplate how to reduce food wastage through the packaging industry. Countries like Brazil and South Africa, for example, have the infrastructure, the money, the brains, and certainly the need to feed the masses and yet millions go hungry. Packaging alone cannot fix this problem. However, before we consider any packaging design, material, innovative products, technological advancements, responsible, sustainable, reusable, environmentally friendly packaging, we MUST understand and appreciate where the packaging industry fits in the chain that could get more food to more people that need it most.”

The first step toward this mission was the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for strategic cooperation in the field of packaging capacity building, between WPO and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), represented in the occasion by Alessandro Amadio. The purpose, according to the MOU, is “to achieve the mutually declared objectives towards the operationalization of UNIDO’s mandate for inclusive sustainable industrial development.”

In practical terms, it means WPO, with UNIDO´s support, will develop and implement specialized training and capacity building programs on packaging and will help set up national packaging centers in developing countries to provide a wide variety of services, including design of packaging, labeling, technical label review, and training courses on packaging. WPO will also promote and organize student and industry packaging competitions.

“In fact these activities are already taking place in WPO, Pienaar noted

Another on-going achievement of WPO that is contemplated in Pienaar's term is the WorldStar Award. During Brazil´s meeting, representatives from 16 packaging associations, members of WPO, judged 318 packaging projects, from 38 countries that entered the WorldStar Awards 2018.

Pienaar will also continue supporting the Save Food project, an initiative of Messe Düsseldorf and the UN’s FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). “Again we are talking about packaging education,” said Pienaar. “Through WPO members, we aim to educate packaging professionals and society about the important and invaluable aspects of packaging: good packaging, cost-effective packaging, packaging that contributes to create a more sustainable society.”

The new WPO president shares the same thought of his predecessor, Thomas Schneider: “The world cannot do without packaging, so we must educate people everywhere to respect the purpose of packaging and teach them how to incorporate this tool into the process of building an ever more sustainable society.”

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