Procurement has new options in the fight against plastic

When it comes to strategic sourcing and supplier relationship management, procurement practitioners are under unprecedented…...

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When it comes to strategic sourcing and supplier relationship management, procurement practitioners are under unprecedented pressure to tackle the mounting global problem of plastic waste, which is producing gigantic oceanic rubbish slicks, overflowing landfill sites and microplastics contaminating the most remote waters on the planet – and a revolution in packing material manufacture and consumption is coming to their aid.

A new report from global market research company Research and Markets reveals that the green packaging market is booming, reaching a total net worth of US$168.2bn in 2018, and this is set to rise vigorously: analysts expect the market’s annual 6% growth rate to propel it to a gigantic $238bn by 2024.

Conventional procurement functions focused on cost reduction, category management and tail spend management will of course continue, but the new emphasis on green packaging is already making its mark – and not before time.

All sectors face their own unique challenges when managing waste and developing circular economies.

Many recycling plants can’t yet cater for the full span of recyclable packaging for consumer goods, and microscopic plastics are escaping into the atmosphere via the use of protective coatings for buildings, vehicles and homes.

There is also still far too much single-use plastic across society at large.

However, a growing group of green packaging innovators are starting to address these problems admirably.

The report identifies the key players in this intensely competitive market as Amcor, Sealed Air Corp, TetraPak, DuPont, Mondi, Ardagh Group, PlastiPak and several others besides.

Last year, for example, Amcor announced that by 2025, all of its packaging will be multi-use, while Sealed Air Corp (which developed bubble wrap) has made a similar commitment, pledging that half of its packaging will be made from recycled materials by 2025.

Meanwhile, TetraPak began refocusing its portfolio on innovative sustainable packaging last year, with the aim of establishing a circular economy.

The company has already ensured that 70% of the weight of its famous cartons is now paperboard derived from sustainable timber sources.

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