“Packaging and Ethics, an extraordinary combination”

by Stefano Lavorini

Once upon a time there was the “Ethical Packaging Charter - Shared principles for the conscious design, production and use of packaging”, that is the thoughtful decalogue presented in 2015 to open a debate between all the players in the production and distribution chain and among citizens/consumers.

The document, drawn up by the Department of Design, Milan Polytechnic (scientific directors: Professors Giovanni Baule and Valeria Bucchetti), desired and promoted by Edizioni Dativo - ItaliaImballaggio, and sponsored by the Italian Packaging Institute, was presented on 22 May 2015 during the Ipack-Ima trade fair.

Well, that project, which aimed to make packaging evolve with respect to the needs of the user, the consumer, the environment and society, is now renewed and takes on a different connotation and more concrete prospects.

At the time, the idea of promoting a new culture of packaging might have seemed ahead of its time, particularly because of its explicit reference to ethics, or rather to the need for a code of conduct on the part of the industry and those working in it, but today all this seems more topical than ever, if not urgent, in the light of the evolution of the market.

One cannot give up hope

At a time when politicians are struggling to come up with alternatives, only the will of individuals, or rather groups of individuals, can set in motion effective processes of change.

Thus, on 29 May 2020, during the first lockdown, the Ethical Packaging Charter Foundation was born: Anna Paola Cavanna, president of the Italian Packaging Institute, signed its memorandum.

«I strongly supported, and in perfect harmony with the director of the Italian Packaging Institute Francesco Legrenzi, the birth of the Foundation, of which I have taken on the chairmanship, to make explicit the key words and arguments contained in the ten points of the Ethical Charter and to translate them into concrete facts» Cavanna told me.

Facts and not (just) words

As President of the III, Anna Paola Cavanna has already shown she knows how to do things. And how!

In less than three years of office, she has achieved a robust increase in the number of member companies, thanks to the expansion of the services provided. And now with the Foundation she is ready to work on several fronts, such as project in the training and cultural sphere (for instance the Advanced Training Course – CAF in Packaging Management, in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics of Rome’s La Sapienza University, or the Foundation’s Algorithm, a dossier which will soon provide companies with a valuable scientific tool for calculating the sustainability of packaging starting from the 10 points of the Charter, correlating them with the 17 objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda).

A project open to all

The Ethical Packaging Charter Foundation also plans to carry out research and international awards, as well as organising initiatives with the aim of promoting the entire packaging chain, without distinguishing between the various materials. «To achieve these goals, we need the support of all those involved in the design, production, use, consumption and reuse of packaging. Companies, enterprises, bodies, associations, consortia and foundations can, among other things, contribute in a practical way to affirming an ethical and sustainable business culture for the packaging chain, by signing and adhering to the Charter as Ambassadors. And these figures are decisive, since the Ambassadors undertake to operate in line with the ten points of the Charter, to disseminate it as appropriate, to promote its values and contents.

Applications for membership are open; till now, the Foundation’s board of directors has accepted the applications of the first “Ambassadors”, signed by Acimga, Cellografica Gerosa, Contital, Corapack, Laminati Cavanna, Pack Media, Warrant Hub and Coop Italia.

In short, judging from the enthusiasm of all those who are working on this initiative and from what can be read on the website “fondazionecartaeticapackaging.org” (well done, clear and incisive), the Foundation is a worthy initiative from all points of view.

Proof that packaging is a living thing, made up of women and men capable of facing the present by influencing the birth of events, in order to dream of a future that is better.