East meets West in sustainable packaging innovation

"How can we learn from the past and use our combined knowledge and different cultures to develop a worldwide strategy for the sustainable innovation of packaging in the future to the benefit of mankind?"

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This question was central to the presentation given by managing director Michaël Nieuwesteeg of NVC Netherlands Packaging Centre at the International Forum on the Standardization of Packaging and Environment in Beijing, May 31st, 2010.

The NVC Netherlands Packaging Centre is the only association in the Netherlands that addresses packaging in an integral manner. Member companies can range from raw material manufacturer up to retailer and from branded goods manufacturer to packaging equipment supplier. The NVC is leading in education and training, proactive information services and in promoting the innovative and sustainable packaging of products.

The NVC-presentation was inspired by the history of trade between East and West, both
over land and by sea, covering many centuries. Amsterdam and Beijing have been connected by the Silk Route over land, Rotterdam and Shanghai by sea transport and recently China even announced plans for a fast-speed train link between Beijing and London, only taking two days travelling time.

Packaging can be defined as temporarily integrating an external function and a product
to enable the use of the product. The growth of world trade, urbanisation, self-service
in retail and distribution, increased wealth for many people - all these factors result in
an increased demand for the packaging of products and the corresponding packaging
materials.

According to the NVC, East and West will meet both physically and culturally in
packaging. Physically, because world trade will increase and so will the scale of the
supply chain of packaged goods. Culturally, because the acceptance and regulation of
the activity of packaging depends on regional, national and/or cultural factors.
Nieuwesteeg urged the delegates of the conference to integrate the best of East and
West with the aim to improve the sustainable innovation of packaging worldwide for the
benefit of mankind. His presentation (both in Chinese and English) is available on
request at info@nvc.nl (subject: East meets West).
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