Ethical Packaging Charter Foundation: never as now there is need for entrepreneurs/ambassadors

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Anna Paola Cavanna

Ethical Packaging Charter Foundation is looking for ambassadors, that is companies wishing to engage in the dissemination of a new packaging culture according to the 10 values ​​of the Ethical Charter, acquired by the Italian Packaging Institute and become a Foundation in the midst of the first wave of Covid emergency.

“Packaging is everywhere”, this is the opening sentence of the home page of fondazionecartaeticapackaging.org website, also recalling how every year each of us comes into contact with at least 8000 packages, which in fact represent a powerful means of communication but which oblige also the entire supply chain to reflect on various issues related not only to the primary function of packaging, but also to all aspects of sustainability, recycling, circular economy.
One thing is clear, this health emergency, without the packaging would have been further problematic to deal with, but if we operators in the sector have known this for years, now consumers have also understood it: consumers on the one hand appreciate the functionality of the packaging, on the other hand, they rightly require greater clarity regarding the management of the end of life.

It was last May 29, 2020 when Anna Paola Cavanna, freshly confirmed for her second term as President of the Italian Institute, signed the birth certificate of Ethical Packaging Charter Foundation, also becoming its president. In fact, the Foundation took the name of Ethical Packaging Charter, born from a shared reflection between Edizioni Dativo and Politecnico di Milano, which led to the creation of a document with 10 useful values ​​to accompany packaging towards a more conscious future.
Italian Packaging Institute, which represents the packaging supply chain, had shared its principles from the beginning, so much so that the acquisition that subsequently resulted was a natural epilogue to have a tool for the development of a new system culture.
Among the aims of the Foundation, cultural promotion, training, education and updating of subjects who, on a professional or voluntary basis, operate in the sectors of activity and the promotion or participation in research activities, on topics of particular interest, in the sectors in which the Foundation’s activities are carried out.

Among the initiatives that the Foundation intends to undertake, there are training activities, in collaboration with universities, in order to give rise to higher education courses with the aim of preparing and refining professional figures increasingly required by the packaging supply chain. Many projects are already being studied aimed at updating the virtuous image of packaging, in line with the needs of modern society and the 10 basic principles that underpin the backbone of Ethical Packaging Charter.
Exactly one year after that operation, an exceptional year for the packaging sector, we asked Anna Paola Cavanna to tell us what has been done and plans for the future.

Anna Paola Cavanna

Face to face with Anna Paola Cavanna, President of Ethical Packaging Foundation

In an extremely complex year, which projects have you managed to carry out?
“The balance of this first year of activity is extremely positive. We started with the creation of a site characterized by a fresh and at the same time institutional image, our business card to make ourselves known, even at an international level, and to spread stories and news of ethical packaging, projects and contents of scientific innovation. Of course we also pay great attention to the social side.
The first Advanced Training Course (CAF) in Packaging Management was launched, which started on 25 March in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics of La Sapienza University of Rome: here 21 professionals already working in companies who are interested in participating can improve their skills on issues related to packaging both in terms of management and in the workfield area. Among these 10 companies, members of Italian Packaging Institute, have obtained a scholarship from the Foundation. This course responds to a specific request from companies as there was no such thing in Italy.
Another activity that the Sustainability Commission of Italian Packaging Institute, now “in the belly” of the Foundation, is working on the creation of an algorithm to provide companies with a scientific tool to calculate the sustainability of packaging by measuring the Co2 parameter.
Finally, we are sponsoring Best Packaging 2021, in an edition inspired by the principles of Ethical Charter in which the Foundation established the “Packaging of the future” award. To achieve sustainable packaging, you need to start from the project, and the Institute’s famous contest will be a precious opportunity to see them live in the imagination and projects of companies.

What does your work agenda foresee between now and the end of your mandate?
“By the end of my mandate, which will be in 2022, I would very much like to create a network of companies, organizations, associations, consortia, foundations in the packaging supply chain that become supporters of the principles of Ethical Charter and from which the figures of Ambassadors can emerge. The birth of the Charter in 2015 had been appreciated but perhaps times were not yet ripe to give a concrete follow-up to the project. Today, in a radically changed world, there is a demand for sustainability that companies can no longer ignore. Of course we have many other ideas in the drawer but we will talk about them in the next interview”.

Can you explain the figure of the Ambassadors of Ethical Packaging Charter and what role will they play?
“First of all, I officially communicate that my company Laminati Cavanna has already sent the first application to join this project and that, once it is accepted by the Board of Directors of the Foundation, I will be the first Ambassador of Ethical Packaging Charter.
It is up to us, who have the skills, to clarify: it is a commitment to civilization. And the principles advocated by Ethical Packaging Charter Foundation are principles of life and of the future. It is a way to look ahead, to network on shared projects and visions.
These are decisive figures, as the Ambassadors undertake to operate in accordance with the ten points of the Charter, to disseminate it appropriately, to promote its values ​​and contents”.

How difficult is it to combine ethics and packaging, or rather, to make good intentions come true?
“We start from the assumption that the Foundation is never against a material or a supply chain but wants to be the bearer of healthy values ​​and above all to guarantee safety and health for consumers. Each material has its pros and cons and we must provide an impartial vision both on the positive values ​​that each material carries with it and also on any problems, so that the Foundation is increasingly a space for exchange of ideas, stimulation and dissemination of a positive culture. I am pleased to note, and I also like to think that our work is bearing fruit, that many companies use our values ​​as a language in their communications; I read more and more often about ethics, sustainability, responsibility, a sign that this message is increasingly felt and shared.
The easier it is today to create false news and erroneous beliefs, the more it is necessary to arrive at scientific truth. The Foundation has begun a path in this direction by providing content on current technical issues through a scientific review. Being ambassadors of this value means contributing to the dissemination of correct content, becoming healthy bearers of clarity”.

In the light of what happened, close your eyes and imagine your ideal packaging… how should it be?
“Transparent. I consider transparency the most important value for many reasons. The truth about the packaging itself and the product it contains determines the perception of the brand, reputation, reliability, repurchase, trust. I mentioned key elements of product marketing and brand identity that all inevitably go through packaging.
Without packaging, the product does not exist at the market level; but if it has an ambiguous, incomplete, unclear packaging, the product and its brand are directly affected in a negative way.
For many years, marketing has exploited the register of emotions, of unspoken or half-spoken truths, in order to seduce and sell. He painted an ideal and desirable world, but at times perhaps far from reality and priorities. Transparency for me is a mental attitude to adopt to be consistent with our way of doing business.
I close by saying that in addition to the ideal packaging we should also think of an ideal consumer, informed by transparent communication and trained starting from school”.