Following a row of successful Sustainable Packaging Summits both as event collaborations and in virtual format due to COVID-19, the first stand-alone in-person summit will take place in Lisbon on September 13th and 14th, 2022. Elisabeth Skoda takes a closer look at what inspired Packaging Europe to set up this event and explores what delegates can expect.

The packaging industry finds itself at the centre of the sustainability debate. The effects of global heating have become ever more evident this summer in Europe, with devastating droughts, wildfires and record-high temperatures hitting the region. Adding to that the worsening damage to our oceans and ecosystems, we all have an obligation to act. In order to address these challenges, the industry must fully embrace the goal of sustainable transformation, which in turn requires system-level change and a change of mindsets both of organizations and individuals, acknowledging uncomfortable realities about present trajectories and being ready to disrupt working paradigms.

“The Sustainable Packaging Summit was conceived as a platform to support this process by mobilizing stakeholders with the ideas and agency to make things change. The mission is to create a different sort of event – a ‘Davos’ for packaging, not yet another conference – a highly interactive platform where leaders and thinkers focus frankly on the next challenges we must collaboratively face. With the invaluable support of the Advisory Board and many months of preparation (interrupted by Covid) we hope to have curated an event with tangible impacts and conclusions we can all build upon,” says Tim Sykes, brand director at Packaging Europe.

The summit will enable delegates to look at the big picture beyond the area of business they work in, allow them to explore new approaches and strategies and enjoy plentiful networking opportunities to build relationships with some of the biggest industry names at Lisbon’s prestigious Pestana Palace Hotel.


Find out more about the venue.

The agenda – day one

The event will start on September 12th with an evening VIP networking drinks reception, giving delegates the chance to get networking early and to mingle with industry peers.

On September 13th, the first session sets the scene for the day to come with a welcome from the event moderators Tracy Sutton (Root), Bruno Van Gompel (VGV) and Packaging Europe’s Tim Sykes.

Find out more about our lineup of speakers, including representatives from major brands, research institutes, NGOs, industry associations and packaging manufacturers here.

In the opening panel discussion, the focus will be on bringing together strategic perspectives from within and outside FMCG to frankly assess progress along the road toward environmental sustainability. This session will reflect on the most recent empirical data and projections relating to the impact of packaging on the environment and explore the opportunities to accelerate sustainable transformation.

In the second panel of the day, our speakers assess the unfolding regulatory sustainability agenda and explore how to stay one step ahead of demands within the context of the dynamic European policy landscape, with the revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive expected in the autumn of 2022, the intersection of waste and carbon regulations, and contrasting interpretations of the sustainability agenda at a national level.

After lunch, delegates will reconvene for a discussion panel on stakeholder alignment.

In the face of complex FMCG packaging ecosystems, better alignment and communication between boardrooms, the finance community, NGOs, legislators, and packaging (among others) is a prerequisite. Drawing from the experience of existing multi-stakeholder platforms, the final panel of Day 1 focuses on how we can bring stakeholders into alignment around progressive strategies.

Delegates will then break out in two separate streams, getting the chance to delve deeper into the topic of their choice. The first stream will cover crucial material platforms – this session will bring updates on four cross-industry platforms that are central to the development of more sustainable packaging materials.

In the other breakout stream, revolving around rethinking sustainability, regional and global perspectives, we shine the spotlight on global sustainability visions, regional projects in developing countries, and a local perspective from Portugal.

Both sessions will feature interactive presentations and a Q&A.


The Sustainability Awards Dinner

At the end of the day, it’s time for the eagerly awaited big unveil of the winners of this year’s Sustainability Awards winners in the commercialised categories Climate, E-Commerce, Driving the Circular Economy, Best Practice, Renewable Materials, Recyclable Packaging and Machinery.

The awards ceremony will be accompanied by a three-course dinner and drinks, with plentiful opportunities to network.

Find out more about the awards and the finalists here.

The agenda – day 2

Having explored the key strategic challenges on the first day of the summit, in the first session of day 2 we adjust the lens to focus on the global packaging waste landscape. This panel draws together speakers with extensive experience across FMCG, regulation and non-profit sectors to assess how governments and the private sector can work together to accelerate the creation of a worldwide circular economy.

After a coffee break, the attention turns to net-zero strategies.

The sixth assessment report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that without massive and immediate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, global warming well above 1.5° C, with catastrophic and irreversible consequences, will be inevitable. Amid fierce societal attention on packaging waste, carbon roadmaps have not been foregrounded in the external communication of industry’s sustainability strategies and pledges. This must inevitably change. This panel explores how we can ensure that packaging becomes a contributor to the goal of SBTi Net Zero, rather than a contributor to global warming.

After lunch, the focus turns to how we can best understand and influence consumer behaviour.

Consumers are a crucial stakeholder, on whom we rely to buy more sustainable products, to facilitate the correct disposal of packaging at end of life, and to hold businesses and regulators to account. But we often misunderstand them and are puzzled by the disconnect between their stated values and purchasing decisions. Brands have had mixed success in nudging consumers’ behaviour. In this panel, our experts draw on surveys and studies, behavioural science and experience in the marketplace to reveal how industry and consumers can move faster toward a more responsible role for packaging.

In the final session of the day, the attention turns to reimagining product delivery systems in a digitizing world.

We are embarking on a sustainable transformation in packaging at a time when the wider world is itself undergoing technological and cultural change at a pace unprecedented in human history. Digitization is disrupting both manufacturing and commerce. Routes to the consumer are proliferating. This session explores the challenges and possibilities associated with the complex supply chains of the future, and the place of packaging – or alternative product delivery systems – within them.

Find out more about the programme here.


Why attend?

Sustainable transformation in packaged goods cannot be achieved without coordinated, collective action. The Sustainable Packaging Summit is a platform for the packaging value chain and brands to align on how to face their next challenges, identify opportunities and initiate new relationships to drive meaningful change.

Packaging and materials suppliers form an important part of the value chain. The best way to collaborate and achieve your sustainability goals is through dialogue and connection. The Sustainable Packaging Summit will offer the opportunity to start the dialogue and network with brands, NGOs, recyclers and users.

Brands face considerable packaging sustainability challenges, and consumers demand sustainable solutions. At the Sustainable Packaging Summit, brands will be able to align with suppliers, NGOs and regulators on how to drive this change and meet all parts of the value chain, exchange knowledge, and findings and develop better and more sustainable options.

Join Packaging Europe for this unique event and book your tickets here.