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News Desk
European flexible packaging industry agrees unified Sustainability Vision

The Members of Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), which represent the European flexible packaging industry, unanimously agreed a vision on sustainability, at FPE’s first virtual conference, held in June. This reinforces the industry’s commitment to a common position on the circular economy.

The flexible packaging industry has long been at the forefront of addressing the challenges of sustainable development. In particular flexible packaging is mainly composed of plastics which are often highlighted as “problematic”. So, there is a need to convince and reassure stakeholders about the key sustainability role flexible packaging already plays in Europe and how this will continue to develop and improve in the future.

This joint initiative involves the market leaders and many small and medium sized specialized converters. The Sustainability Vision is targeted at both the industry itself, to offer guidance, as well as other stakeholders. This includes customers, retailers, legislators, and NGOs. It explains the intrinsic environmental and social benefits of flexible packaging and the efforts of the industry to mitigate any problems.

Additionally, it demonstrates how the flexible packaging industry is voluntarily taking a responsible position on the topic. It summarizes the approach and activities of the industry in this respect and how it is working actively towards achieving the goals set out in the vision.

These goals are:

  • Designing flexible packaging for full effectiveness and minimum environmental footprint
  • Circularity for flexible packaging
  • Zero tolerance of leakage and littering into the environment
  • Speeding up progress with cooperation.

Commenting on the decision, Guido Aufdemkamp, Executive Director of FPE said, “I am delighted with FPE’s bold initiative to adopt this Sustainability Vision. The industry has always been aware it must play a positive role in mitigating climate change. These actions clearly demonstrate the proactive role it is taking. I am delighted the members have found common ground on this very important issue and how, therefore, the European industry is working together.”

FPE’s vision for flexible packaging in a sustainable Europe is available at

Study confirms flexible packaging plays a key role in prevention of packaging waste and mitigation of global warming

Updated study confirms flexible packaging plays a key role in prevention of packaging waste and mitigation of global warming

A recently updated and extended study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (ifeu), commissioned by Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), has underlined the original study’s findings. It shows clearly that flexible packaging is a more effective route to resource efficiency and reducing carbon footprint than using rigid packaging formats or focusing entirely on recycling.

The study uses a scenario in which all non-flexible packaging (i.e. rigid packaging) for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) are substituted by flexible packaging wherever possible. As carbonated drinks cannot be packed this way, for the purpose of the study, theoretical substitution excluded all beverages (as a conservative approach).

It showed that, by substituting all rigid packaging of non-beverage FMCG at the EU level, the amount of primary packaging waste could be reduced by 21 million tonnes per year. This means a 70% reduction of the total amount of non-beverage FMCG primary packaging in the EU, highlighting the huge packaging waste prevention potential of flexible packaging.

Even more striking are the consequences on the environment. By using a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach the study shows that such a theoretical substitution would decrease total Global Warming Potential (GWP) of all European non-beverage FMCG primary packaging by 33%, even if it is assumed, for the purpose of the demonstration, that no material recycling processes for flexible packaging would take place.

The opposite scenario – the substitution in the EU of all flexible packaging used for non-beverage FMCG by rigid packaging formats – would increase total GWP of the primary packaging to about 30%, the study shows. This is despite the much higher actual recycling rates of rigid packaging.  Indeed, even if the recycling rate of rigid packaging was raised to 100%, this theoretical substitution would still lead to 14% higher GWP, it says.

In addition to GWP, the environmental impact of Abiotic Depletion, which refers to the use of non-renewable resources, and Use of Water have also been assessed using the LCA approach. The study shows very similar results in the same order of magnitude for all three impact categories.

The report’s authors conclude that for packaging the focus should not be on recyclability only but also and foremost on prevention. This can be achieved by a higher use of flexible packaging, which would lead not only to less primary packaging waste, they claim, but also to lower carbon footprint and use of resources.

Conversely, a focus only on recyclability and achieving recycling targets might lead to the substitution of flexible packaging solutions by more easily recyclable, rigid packaging. This approach would clearly be detrimental for climate change and resource efficiency, besides running counter to the objective enshrined in the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive to prevent the production of packaging waste.

Commenting on the study, Jean-Paul Duquet (Director Sustainability FPE) said, “Prevention is on top of the waste hierarchy defined by the European Commission’s Waste Framework Directive, before other approaches like reuse, recycling and energy recovery. The priority accorded to prevention before recycling is highly relevant for packaging, as this study demonstrates. Flexible packaging perfectly fulfils this prevention requirement and proves to be a major part of the solution to today’s challenges facing the packaging sector and the environment. Not to mention the important ongoing efforts to reach high recyclability performances and make flexible packaging even more resource efficient.”

Sustainability centre stage as FPE appoints senior Amcor executive as Vice Chairman

Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) has appointed Amcor’s Luca Zerbini to one of its leading posts. He joins Michele Guala of Gualapack as second Vice Chairman.

Elected at the FPE autumn conference in Athens, Zerbini is Vice President and General Manager Film & Foil at Amcor Flexibles Europe Middle East & Africa – a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging. “I am very proud to support the flexible packaging industry in this role,” Mr. Zerbini said after his election. “Together, we can continue to transform the industry and shape the future, delivering more easily recyclable packaging and describing effectively the role that packaging plays in preserving, protecting, transporting and promoting the products people use every day.”

The Athens conference highlighted FPE’s Key Sustainability Facts toolkit, a very comprehensive and accessible source of information about the sustainability of flexible packaging and how flexible packaging supports sustainable consumption and production of food. FMCGs (excluding beverages) rely heavily on flexible packaging, with almost half of these products in Europe, packed in the format, yet representing only 13% of all packaging material consumed. This demonstrates how resource efficient the flexible packaging solutions can be.

Today the European flexible packaging industry produces a packaging surface volume of 60,177 million square metres, which equates to 8,500 football fields, growing annually by 2%, according to FPE.  And while some of these materials are difficult to recycle, solutions do exist and FPE is fully supporting initiatives such as CEFLEX to “close the loop” in this area.

Mr. Zerbini leads Amcor's Flexible Sustainability Initiative, working with major brand owners and retailers to drive sustainable packaging solutions and the investment requirements to develop recycling infrastructures. His company was the first global packaging company pledging to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025. As such he will be working with colleagues in FPE and especially the Chairman of FPE, Alexander Baumgartner (Constantia Flexibles), to ensure flexible packaging becomes even more resource efficient.

To access the online flexible packaging sustainability toolkit, now available in 11 languages, visit

New leadership at FPE committed to sustainable and resource efficient future

Alexander Baumgartner elected to lead Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) in the drive towards a circular economy

During FPE’s recent summer conference in Amsterdam, Alexander Baumgartner, CEO of Constantia Flexibles, was unanimously elected to serve as chairman of the organisation. In his acceptance speech Baumgartner reaffirmed FPE’s objective to be a single authoritative voice for the industry which is dedicated to food safety, the avoidance of food waste and sustainability as a priority.

Following his election the new chairman said, “I am very honoured to have been elected to lead FPE forward in its next phase of development, especially in these defining times for the packaging sector. It is vitally important that we come together to innovate and work on all the important topics, such as recyclability, resource efficiency, sustainability, food waste and food safety. It is important that, as an industry, we speak with one voice and implement change – I am more than happy to support this very actively!”

Baumgartner takes over from Gérard Blatrix of Amcor who served two terms and made a substantial contribution to giving flexible packaging an important voice and a role within the current packaging arena. He also had a strong influence in supporting the development of the flexible packaging industry across Europe.

In a recent market analysis, conducted by Wood Mackenzie Chemicals, flexible packaging consumption in Europe grew by 2%, to reach nearly €14.5bn in 2018. Western Europe saw modest growth of 1.8% while Eastern Europe saw slightly healthier demand of 3%. However the 2018 rates in both regions were slightly down on 2017 consumption figures.

Total annual production from Europe last year exceeded €15.6bn, of which 78% was accounted for from Western Europe, with 22% coming from Eastern Europe. The region remains the most significant exporter with approximately 10% of its production consumed outside Europe. Forecasts expect growth to continue, with sales achieving €16bn in Europe, while global consumption is predicted to reach nearly US$113bn (€100 billion) by 2023.

Further information: Patrick Altenstrasser, Manager Communications (

Flexible Packaging Europe’s (FPE) members manufacture all types of flexible packaging. FPE comprises more than 80 small and medium sized companies as well as the major European producers of flexible packaging for all materials. These companies cover more than 85% of the European flexible packaging turnover. Also, six national flexible packaging associations are members of FPE ensuring consistency between national and European activities and lobbying.

Wood Mackenzie Chemicals are leading consultants to the petrochemicals industry. The company's films and flexibles consulting business unit, formerly PCI Films Consulting Ltd., was acquired by Wood Mackenzie in 2015. Today, as part of the company's Chemicals Research team, the films and flexibles business unit continues to supply market and business related consulting services to anyone involved or interested in the production and use of speciality and oriented plastic films, special papers, aluminium foils, and associated flexible packaging.


Flexible Packaging and Sustainability: new online toolkit offers facts and figures

Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) presents new toolkit looking at the sustainability of flexible packaging / Main target groups are people working in the fields of flexible packaging and products packed in flexible packaging but also the general public

January 2019. A new toolkit has been created by Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), who have put together and created visual formats to explain about flexible packaging and sustainability. It is available free of charge to anyone interested in the subject, from the association’s website.

“With our comprehensive information package, we want to highlight, how flexible packaging supports sustainable consumption and production of food. Flexible Packaging actually offers many advantages when it comes to sustainability, especially when looking at the big picture – this is backed by scientific facts,” explains Jean-Paul Duquet, FPE’s Director of Sustainability. “Still sustainability in packaging remains a complex matter and we have tried to reduce complexity by providing a practical overview with facts and figures at European level over much-debated key issues like circular economy or food waste.

Easy-to-understand infographics for example explain that flexible packaging is designed to actually minimise the use of packaging materials and how it how it helps preserve valuable goods and reduce risks of food waste. “Very often, flexible packaging is more resource efficient than alternative packaging solutions – serving the same purpose while consuming less material and energy resources throughout the entire lifecycle,” adds Duquet. “We have created a useful tool for the different audiences, helping them to better understand and further explain the role of flexible packaging in sustainability”.

The toolkit comprises downloadable infographics, posters, a fact sheet and a useful pocket guide. The information is currently available in five languages: English, German, French, Italian and Spanish (Polish and Turkish to follow soon) making it a very comprehensive and accessible source of information about the sustainability of flexible packaging.

To access the online toolkit visit the association website at:

Flexible Packaging Europe endorses Common Vision of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment

Flexible Packaging industry takes active lead towards development of a circular economy

In line with its commitment to actively lead the way towards a more resource efficient society, Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) has issued a strong endorsement of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF).

The Global Commitment has a clear vision to create a future where plastic packaging is designed, used and the materials then made available again in the circular economy by 2025. This means they should not leak into the natural environment and, therefore, would continue to play an essential role in helping society live and consume sustainably.

Strong demand for flexible packaging industry in Europe

Flexible packaging consumption in Europe grew by 2% to around €14bn in 2017, with about the same growth rates in both Western and Eastern Europe, according to research by PCI Wood Mackenzie. Total annual production exceeded €15bn, of which 75% was accounted for from Western Europe and the remaining 25% from Eastern Europe. This region remains the most significant exporter with approximately 10% of its production consumed outside Europe. Forecasts expect growth to continue, with sales achieving nearly €16bn in Europe and global consumption reaching US$107bn by 2022.

Healthy growth for most of the end user markets, such as coffee, pet food and fresh foods has driven production higher, according to Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE). Smaller households need more single serve options and there is continuing demand for more product varieties from consumers. This supports the general trend from rigid to flexible packaging, which offer greater convenience and fits better into today’s lifestyle needs.

This trend is confirmed by further data measured in units from Euromonitor International. However, this research indicates a stagnation of consumption in confectionery while growth continues in the categories of savoury snacks, cheese, coffee, dry products and pet food.

FPE Chairman, Gérard Blatrix, commenting on the market research said, “These figures reveal a strength in depth for European flexible packaging demand and a resilience in core markets. The trend for more convenience and greater variety of formats is clearly being met by innovative flexible packaging styles. FPE and its members are committed to ensuring flexible packaging continues to be at the forefront of modern packaging solutions with a strong environmental message. The main rationale for flexible packaging is to minimize raw material use, generally making it the most resource efficient packaging solution available.”

FPE is very active in sustainability projects within the framework of the EU’s Circular Economy strategy. The flexible packaging industry supports the separate collection of all packaging to ensure that these materials are efficiently treated for recovery. FPE is a founding and leading member of the CEFLEX initiative which is committed to all types of flexible packaging in a circular economy. This supports the development of improved sorting and recycling solutions across Europe.

Letter to EU leaders calls for collection of all packaging materials

Düsseldorf, Germany - The Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) co-signs, with five other leading packaging and material associations, a high-level letter to urge the European Commission and Council of the European Union to support the European Parliament’s call to amend the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) with a requirement for all packaging material to be separately collected. One objective is to drive investment and innovation in collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure, so that all packaging would contribute to a more circular economy. 

Click here to see the original letter.

The signatories and supporters of this letter include:

  • The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE)
  • European Aluminium
  • European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA)
  • The European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO)
  • Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE)
  • PlasticsEurope
Support grows for global flexible packaging executive forum

The second Global Flexible Packaging Executive Forum, held during interpack 2017 in Dusseldorf, attracted significantly increased numbers compared with the first event. More than 130 delegates attended, from over 55 converting companies, spanning 5 continents. The meeting has quickly become a major fixture in the calendar during the interpack exhibition, following the remarkable success of the first event, held at interpack 2014.

The Executive Forum is staged as a business breakfast event for flexible packaging manufacturers during the show. It offers the opportunity to exchange ideas and encourage discussions on emerging trends, key themes, opportunities, and the challenges facing the industry while, at the same time, offering an important opportunity to networking with industry peers.

Organiser Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) expressed great satisfaction at the large and increased number of executives and the companies in attendance. FPE Chairman Gérard Blatrix spoke of his delight at the success of the forum. “Our organisation has a leading global position in this dynamic and growing sector. We have important issues such as sustainability and resource efficiency which must be addressed on a global scale. So, this Forum is a huge opportunity to exchange views and ideas which will help our industry to grow and prosper.”

“interpack is an ideal venue for the meeting as it attracts the world’s top decision makers and industry leaders. The large number of top executives who attended the Forum clearly demonstrates the importance they all place on coordinating messages about the benefits and role of flexible packaging in the sustainable environment we now live in across the globe,” he added.

The Global Flexible Packaging Executive Forum was hosted by Messe Dusseldorf and interpack alliance. Henkel and Siegwerk co-sponsored the event.

European Flexible Packaging Manufacturers worried about Repetition of Raw Material Supply Shortage

Several Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) member companies, representing about 80% of the total European turnover, have expressed concerns that the critical raw material situation of early 2015 for standard polymers used for flexible packaging is currently being repeated for another type of plastics: polyamide.

The scarcity of caprolactam (a pre-product for polyamide) in China led to significant exports out of Europe. A recent force majeure announcement for two caprolactam lines will very likely result into force majeure declarations for polyamide itself reducing the limited capacity further.

The increased demand for polyamide in the main applications like automotive will further increase the pressure on the availability for packaging applications in the coming months. In particular, small and medium sized manufacturers of flexible packaging are suffering from this situation. But even the multinational companies are facing difficulties.

The effect on converters means they may have difficulties in supplying finished products to meet their customers order requirements, particularly in the food and beverage sectors.

Guido Aufdemkamp, Executive Director of FPE commented on the recent developments: “The current situation of so many announcements to increase margins combined with force majeure declarations is either the test or use of market power. Alternatively, it demonstrates the strong need for maintenance and continuous investment in the European production facilities.”

Flexible packaging adds significant value in a circular economy

Following the completion of the FIACE project, which highlighted the significant contribution flexible packaging makes to a circular economy and identified opportunities to optimize end of life solutions, it has been announced that the project will continue with a wider scope under the new name of CEFLEX (a Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging).

Flexible packaging supports efficient use of resources and waste minimization throughout the lifecycle of the packed product. Not only does flexible packaging help to prevent food waste by offering optimised fit-for-purpose solutions, but it makes a much more efficient use of packaging material than alternative packaging formats with higher recycling rates. This is one of the key findings of the FIACE project, a European initiative, whose aim was to assess the value added by flexible packaging in a circular economy and identify both the opportunities and challenges to increase this value by further closing the loop. Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) has been an active partner in the project together with the TU Delft university and 17 companies covering the entire flexible packaging value chain from raw material to post-consumer recycling and all steps in between.

Download the pd for the full text!

interpack to host Global Flexible Packaging Executive Forum

The second Global Flexible Packaging Executive Forum will take place at interpack on 5 May 2017. Following the success of the first Forum, which attracted more than 90 executives from 60 companies, the organiser Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) has announced the business breakfast event for flexible packaging manufacturers, would again be hosted by Messe Düsseldorf, during the world’s biggest packaging exhibition.

The Forum provides an opportunity for executives from flexible packaging companies worldwide to exchange ideas and discuss innovation, new technologies, trends and the challenges facing the industry while networking with other leading decision makers in the sector.

Co-sponsored by Henkel and Siegwerk, the Global Flexible Packaging Executive Forum is an invitation-only event. Those flexible packaging manufacturers interested in participating should contact the FPE Secretariat (

Advancing the Cause of Flexible Packaging and Resource Efficiency

Gérard Blatrix, Amcor, has been elected as Chairman of Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), the organisation which represents the interests of the sector at a European level and on the international stage. He previously served as Vice Chairman and is replaced in that role by Paddy Mullaney of Clondalkin. Both appointments were made during the FPE summer conference, held recently in Hamburg.

Speaking shortly after his election Mr Blatrix commented, “I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed to such an important role in this prestigious organisation. FPE works continuously to promote the interests of the flexible packaging sector in Europe, particularly to the European Commission. It is taking a leading role in communicating the benefits of flexible packs and explaining their importance in creating a more resource efficient and sustainable environment.”

“The focus on the Circular Economy and a more holistic approach to the entire sustainability question means flexible packaging will become an increasingly important factor in reaching these goals, particularly through greater resource efficiency. FPE is highly proactive in the debate and l will work to ensure our well researched and positive approach is maintained and we are represented at the highest levels in Europe.”

Paddy Mullaney added, “l look forward to working with Gérard and the other members of the board to ensure FPE continues to play a responsible and positive role at the centre of the debate on the issues of sustainability and resource efficiency.”

New LCA confirms FPE's findings for coffee packaging

New study reinforces effective portioning can reduce food waste and lower the overall environmental impact

A recent study by Quantis Canada on the environmental impact of single serve coffee portions, relative to bulk coffee preparation at home, reinforces findings from the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) on two coffee packaging systems commissioned by Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE).

The externally reviewed study for PAC (Packaging Association of Canada) concludes that “Overall, the single-serve best case scenario posts a better environmental performance than the drip brew system from the perspective of the systems’ full life cycles”.

Flexible Packaging Manufacturers concerned about Raw Material Supply

Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) member companies have expressed concerns about the current raw material supply situation, during their recent annual conference. More than 30 ‘force majeure’ declarations by the leading polymer manufacturers in Europe, coming in a short time frame, has led to significant shortages in the supply which resulted in only about 80% capacity being available, depending on the polymer.

The effect on converters means they may have difficulties in supplying finished products to meet their customers order requirements, particularly in the food and beverage sectors. FPE member companies have had to deal with increased complexity in their production schedules due the insufficient raw material supply. They have reported sudden cancellations of agreed deliveries followed by offers with the same volumes but with significant price increases.

In particular small and medium sized manufacturers of flexible packaging are suffering from this situation. But even the multinational companies are facing difficulties. Some members also reported rumours of suppliers holding on to stocks of materials.

Convenient and safe packaging for the summer period

It has never been more convenient or safe to enjoy a whole range of summer products - thanks to flexible packaging.

Summer is a time to enjoy the moment, warm lazy days, balmy nights and the chance to eat and drink ‘al fresco’. Special moments can be the simplest, for example the first refreshing burst of a chilled juice or beverage. Or a cool wipe to calm overheated skin. And what can be easier than enjoying these from a pouch, sachet or beverage carton which is so convenient and safe to use on every occasion?

Today the summer season is full of events, concerts and festivals, or just a barbeque with friends or a picnic on the beach. Thanks to flexible packaging you can fill the hamper or cool-box with lightweight and easy to open (and close) drinks and snacks which you can be sure are in perfect condition.

UN Report endorses FPE approach to Life Cycle Assessment

A new report, from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has benchmarked a number of Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) undertaken by Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), in a wide ranging, in depth, report to understand best practice in using LCA as an assessment tool for packaging.

The report, produced under the Life Cycle Initiative - a joint organisation of UNEP and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) - summarizes the results of a project designed to consolidate outcomes of existing research on the environmental performance of packaging, namely LCA studies, in order to demonstrate the value of applying LCAs to evaluate environmental impacts for food and beverage packaging.

SIAL 2012: Flexible Packaging dresses Food Innovations

FlexiblePackaging - Fashion, Function and Protection for Food Innovations

When the world’s largest food innovation marketplace SIAL takes place inParis flexible packaging dresses many of the displayed food innovations.Different to the Haut Couture usually shown in Paris flexible packaging is notonly stylish but also functional and protective.

EU Sustainable Energy Week 2012 - Flexible Packaging

Flexible Packaging Reduces Energy Consumption First

Most sustainabilityenergy mantras say “Reduce first and then optimise”, with renewables wherepossible.

Becauseflexible packaging can be assembled at the filling plant from rolls ofmaterial, there is no need to transport the empty, but already formed packaging,from the packaging converter to the filling/packaging facility, hereby saving asignificant number of truck journeys on our congested European road network.

FPE - takes up United Nations’ SAVE FOOD challenge

FPE has takenup full membership of the SAVE FOOD initiative instituted by the Food and AgricultureOrganisation (FAO) of the United Nations and Messe Düsseldorf which waslaunched officially in 2011 during the world’s largest packaging fair,interpack.

FPE - A Single Authoritative Voice / Jan Homan elected FPE Chairman
Polymer price rises threaten Flexible packaging sector