In her four years in office, Anna Paola Cavanna has transformed the Istituto Italiano Imballaggio, to the point of making it “the home of packaging”, a place of reference, meeting and reunion for many companies in the sector. A house that, not only in figurative terms, is neat and tidy, with beautiful and functional spaces, renovated furniture and many services for everyone. In short, a place where you can feel good, think and prepare to build the future.
Always smiling, but also always very determined. The first woman president of the Istituto Italiano Imballaggio has brought to fruition a process of radical renewal of an institution that has accompanied the history of the packaging sector from the 1950s to the present day, thus demonstrating that, often in life, one must believe in the possibility of the impossible.
And this is an evidence I can say I am a witness to. Binding the past and the future of this association are not only events and documents, but also, as far as I’m concerned, the memories of places and people, of their faces that hold, without retreating a step in front of time, the weight of a conversation, even if only convivial.
It is a fact that today, under the guidance of Anna Paola Cavanna, who ends her second two-year term in May, the membership has grown from 260 to over 400 packaging producers and users: small, medium, large and very large companies, representing all sectors, and more and more workshops, consortia and associations.
The keystone has been the creation of an important network of skills and, consequently, of services: from the help desk that offers advice to members, to the commissions that aim to develop guidelines of good technical, regulatory and commercial practices, to the portal of technical, legislative and commercial knowledge Wikipackaging.
Not to mention the activities on social media, dedicated to promoting the positive values of packaging.All this, however, on closer inspection, is mainly due to the fact that an ideal, an identity, an industrial sector in its many facets has been placed at the center of the work.
Authoritativeness and visibility
In spite of the difficulties due to the pandemic, the Institute, thanks to a cohesive and determined group of advisors, effectively assisted by the director Francesco Legrenzi, has carried out with empathy and effectiveness the difficult and complex work of elaborating the programmatic points, declared since 2018 and reaffirmed in 2020 by Cavanna: sustainability, innovation, communication, ethics.
«We have put together a group of people who share a common language and decision-making skills», Cavanna tells me. «Personally, I’ve gone out of my way to attend as much as possible not only operational meetings, but also public appointments, so as to promote the Institute’s image».
In extreme synthesis, by way of a list, these four years have seen the creation of the Sustainability Commission (2019), the establishment of the Ethical Charter of Packaging Foundation (2020), the launch of the Advanced Training Course in Packaging Management (2021, now in its second edition), the Master in Eco Packaging Design, the International Industrial Design Course with the Catholic University of Chile based on the 10 principles of the Ethical Charter of Packaging and, in May 2022 on the occasion of Ipack-Ima, the presentation of the Foundation’s Algorithm, a tool available to companies with which to analyze their sustainability.
Not to be forgotten is the evolution of the Packaging Oscar which, in discontinuity with the past, is now the Best Packaging Contest, which rewards the best packaging solutions, with significant visibility and returns for participants.
The development of the activities of the consultancy and training company Packaging Meeting, which takes care of all the “education” activities of the Institute, and which now counts as a small company, deserves a separate mention. In 2021 featuring record number of courses and remote participants and also this year featuring a rich and qualified training plan.
«What has been done is the result of a project accompanied by adequate investments, mainly in human resources. The most recent project we are carrying out is to strengthen the network of consultants, involving well-known professionals in the field, such as Maria Rosaria Milana, Valter Rocchelli, Dario Dainelli …».
A president is not made overnight....
Anna Paola Cavanna closes this commitment with satisfaction and pride, confirming from the beginning her intention to continue to participate actively in the life of the association. After all, the figure of this experience is clearly the commitment.
«It has been a tiring game, but one that has given me a lot. Everyone has their own style, and I would only be proud if the people who come after me know how to do better. I’m not jealous».
Knowing this woman’s story, one understands that no one is born president, as is only logical.
After completing her degree thesis on the impact of flexible packaging in the food sector, she joined the Institute more than 15 years ago, overcoming the resistance of a father who was focused on the daily management of his company. First partner, then Director and then Vice President... with a great desire to face the world, to stubbornly and sacrificially find her own way. To get involved, not to be just someone’s daughter.
Same path in Confapi Piacenza, where she is currently Vice President, and great commitment also in the Giflex group (Assografici), marketing and sustainability committee.
«Now I’m going to focus on the management of my company (Laminati Cavanna, Ed.) because these are difficult times. Despite the investments made to increase production capacity and grow people and organization, the increase in energy and raw material prices, as well as the uncertainties of the current war, are causing great concern.
And then there’s the family, which despite my busy schedule I’ve always tried not to neglect. I have 3 teenage children who require the right attention.
Having said that, considering the level of complexity of the Institute’s many activities, I have already expressed to the new President my willingness to take on ad hoc tasks in the area of communication and sustainability, as well as the promotion of the Foundation’s Ambassadors.
And then my ambition is to write a book on the history of packaging, involving many people I have known for years».
In short, it seems clear that Anna Paola Cavanna wants to do what she’s doing now when she grows up, provided she does it well.
Because, after all, there are still those who have “the desire for noble and meaningful gestures, which distinguish hate from love, morality from corruption, randomness from destiny”. (* Edgar Lee Master, Spoon River Anthology).
I think it sounds good for this woman of value, who you cannot help but congratulate: for having spent herself with generosity, and not for personal interest but to offer new, concrete perspectives to the Istituto Italiano Imballaggio.
The house of packaging
With acute concreteness, among the first things decided by Anna Paola Cavanna, in 2018, there was the modernization of the Institute’s headquarters: «We did it and we haven’t stopped since because it is our home, a place where we need to feel good, to really be the associative network of reference for the packaging supply chain.
That’s why we need a bigger house and so, in May, we will be inaugurating a beautiful space on the first floor of Via Cosimo Del Fante 10 - which will become the headquarters of the Foundation too - where exhibitions and awards ceremonies will be organized, equipped with small lounges for members and a co-working area».
So much attention that, probably, comes from having learned early on to do things on her own, from the conviction that Man is also harmony.
Anyway, an interesting example of how work, production, creativity can come together to improve the quality of life.
Then we understand that behind the visible events, those that we are able to perceive, there is something more: there is a woman, who has a name but no titles, who is not worthy for her rank but for her expectations of happiness.