Antalis Packaging has appointed its former Head of Business Development, John Garner, to the newly created role of Head of Innovation and Design to help customers respond to environmental challenges.
The appointment comes in response to the increasingly complex needs of customers seeking to fulfil their growing requirement for packaging materials at the same time as trying to improve the sustainability and carbon footprint of their businesses.
It’s a challenge that has gained ground over recent times, accelerated by concerns about single-use plastic and its impact on the world’s oceans. It’s resulted in a dramatic shift away from plastic packaging, which, in turn, has put pressure on the pulp and paper industry to try to fill the gap.
In his new role, John’s focus will be rooted in research, collaboration and education: “I am passionate about the environment, but I am also very aware that what we have seen happen during the last couple of years is a hasty reaction against plastics, which is effectively shifting the burden elsewhere – there is quite a lot of greenwashing out there now. Fibre-based products are recyclable so we won’t see them floating in the sea, but they come with a carbon impact of their own, which cannot be ignored.”
John will be looking at the wider picture and engaging with a range of organisations and institutions, including universities, trade bodies and the CBI, to help lead and influence the debate around packaging and understand what can be done to minimise the impact of all aspects of the supply chain and beyond. He will also be working within Antalis to research and develop new substrates and explore new technologies, such as robotics, that will help customers to meet their business needs. Antalis has already brought in several new plastic-alternative products and will be bringing on new product streams in 2022.
John will seek to explore and address how customers can reduce the carbon impact of their business more directly rather than through offsetting: “Reducing the carbon – and other – impacts of packaging and packaging operations, doesn’t always come down to the choice of packaging materials; there are other factors at play such as efficiency, right-sizing, and ensuring the packaging used will deliver the least environmental impact. I am also keen to share that plastic can actually be the most sustainable, low-carbon option; depending on the nature of a customer’s business, what is being packed, and where it is being sent.”
“I’m really excited about the job at hand; I am looking forward to having lots of straightforward, honest conversations with people from all areas with a vested interest in ensuring packaging is as sustainable as it can be”, adds John.