Celebration – reflection – caution

Dick Searle1smallFrom the Packaging Federation perspective, 2015 turned out to be a very interesting year.

Our successes – Fresher For Longer work with schools; deepening recognition of the role of packaging, leadership and coordination work with litter – have all been well documented and have again been achieved against a diminishing but constant background hum of misinformation and, sometimes, disinformation.

On the positive side, we were delighted, energised and motivated by the application and talent shown by our shortlisted schools in the Fresher For Longer 2015 packaging challenge. As as long as our sponsoring companies and willing schools continue to play their part, the enthusiasm of our youngsters bodes very well for the role of packaging in keeping our precious food resources Fresher for Longer (FFL)

The rejuvenated topic of litter certainly benefitted from the energy and motivation at other end of the age spectrum. We now have a much better picture here, with many good things to look forward to; helped in no small part by the pioneering and creative energies of Trewin Restorick and his team at Hubbub.

After a period of indecision, faction and lack of direction, Minister Rory Stewart has now recognised the groundswell, and has committed the Government to setting a renewed and clearer course, starting this January 6, 2016 with a first meeting for all relevant parties. This is a great start – and look out also for Clean For the Queen, which should really rock the public richter scale in March 2016. One thing is clear. The litter agenda needs to stay ever present and this momentum needs to continue – year after year. The Packaging Federation will play its part to the full.

As said, despite these successes we continue to work very hard in order to counter misdirection and to check backward steps.

For example, EU environmental and industrial policy, indeed the EU project itself, continues to wobble on its axis – and certainly bears very careful watching in every regard. The debate on the EU Circular Economy, for example, has exposed a lack of realism and engagement within Brussels-based directorates; and this needs watching, challenging and correction at most every turn.

And this is a but a taste of things to come. My sense is that 2016 will herald a very challenging period ahead. Our manufacturing businesses – in the UK and Europe – face many clear and present dangers relating to resource scarcity, red tape, and matters of energy supply.

And therefore the Packaging Federation is satisfied that our remit – encouraging facts, awareness, consultation and dialogue – remains as urgent and needed as ever.

We thank you for your support and good efforts this year and we once again look forward to working with you through 2016.

May I wish you a very peaceful and very prosperous New Year.

Thanks again

Dick Searle