Building progress together

Dick SearleOur networking and event last week at the House of Commons was an unqualified success with our Parliamentary packaging industry group turning out in good shape and looking forward to renewed stewardship under Mark Pawsey MP.

It is very gratifying to notice the public domain understanding and progress made around packaging issues in recent months and years.  This seems to be an ongoing and upward trend. We will need in truth much more of this on the road ahead –  particularly as we face the coming challenges of food security and other global concerns.

I reproduce here below some of my remarks from the event.

Many thanks.

From Dick Searle’s Packaging Federation address to MPs and Industry Member – House of Commons – June 19th, 2012

“About ten years ago when I was CEO of a packaging group I gave a presentation at this event which was all about defending packaging.

I am delighted to report that since then the debate has moved on substantially and we now have many more conversations about the many benefits that packaging brings and the contribution that it makes to the way in which we live.

At a time when global food security is coming much more under the spotlight I am pleased to see increasing recognition of the huge contribution that is made by packaging in order to eliminate avoidable supply chain waste. In addition packaging is becoming better recognised for the role it can play in reducing the scandal of household food waste in developed countries.

Our current challenge is to see the use of packaging expanded in developing nations, so that supply chain waste – farm to fork – can be reduced from their current wasteful levels of around 50%.

As a manufacturing industry we are also delighted to hear that manufacturing is back in fashion. Our own industry has sales of about £11 billion a year and employs some 85,000 people – over 10,000 more than the much quoted pharmaceutical industry. All told we contribute over 3% to the UK’s manufacturing employment.

However, manufacturing in the UK brings with it many challenges: An increasing part of our role is to move the emphasis away from justifying our products to promoting the substantial contribution that we make to employment and to the UK economy – and to also highlight the support that we need in order to continue to fulfil this role.

In carrying out this work we are very grateful for the existence of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Packaging Manufacturing Industry and the time devoted to it by its MP and Peer Members.

In particular our industry would like to thank Dan Rogerson for his role in chairing the APPG for the last two years – and to welcome the incoming chair Mark Pawsey.”

Many thanks again

Dick Searle

Local action – June 19th House of Commons

Dick SearleI forget how many politicians from JFK onwards have used the slogan ‘think global – and act local.’

The Packaging Federation is therefore taking a leaf out of the political book and setting out our stall in House of Commons on June 19th. We are looking forward to attracting as many MPs as possible and are particularly keen on fostering relationships between local MPs and the packaging businesses in their local area.

There cannot be a constituency in the land that does not have a significant number of packaging and packaging-related businesses in it; all involved in the product supply chain and all playing a part in getting food, goods and services to us on time and in good order.

Our primary mission in Westminster on June 19th is to create and foster understanding:

– understanding of what we do and how;

– understanding of how the industry helps and enables so many factors taken for granted in modern living; health; security; convenience; choice;

– understanding fact from fiction in relation to packaging and the environmental savings it makes possible.

Moreover, our sector is a very significant part of the UK trading economy; providing, for example, some fifteen thousand more jobs than the much feted pharmaceutical industry.

May I encourage those reading this – particularly those involved in the industry – to in turn directly encourage their local MP to attend the June 19 meeting. We are aiming to achieve a significant sized turnout. The more understanding created at the heart of Government, the better.

Thanks again

Dick Searle