On June 14 and June 15, 2012, I represented WPO at the National Conference of the Australian Institute of Packaging. This is the second AIP National Conference I have attended, and it’s hard to believe that the second one was even better than the first one I attended 2 years ago. The topics were wide-ranging within the packaging sector, from sustainability to advanced materials, machinery, testing, retail, and packaging education. For any packaging professional, it could be argued that those two days were among the best you could ever spend at work.
Speakers from 9 different countries, plus Australia of course, delved into several hard hitting subjects, some of which were controversial and quite thought provoking. Terry O’Brien, Managing Director of Simplot in Australia left us with concern over the high costs of food processing in the region. Russ Martin gave us an overview of global developments in product stewardship. Rick Fox, Chairman of PMMI in the States helped us understand trends taking place in the US. Carmen Rechbauer and Wendy Favorito gave us some insight into important issues surrounding packaging and accessibility for the aging or physically impaired. This is just a sampling of the broad range of topics covered in the two-day event.
AIP offers their conference every other year. In my opinion, one of the reasons these conferences are so successful is because Australia and New Zealand are so isolated in some ways from the rest of the world. They are forced to be resourceful, creative, innovative. They have done an excellent job on all counts. I have no doubt that the 2014 conference will be even better.
My thanks to Nerida Kelton, Pierre Pienaar, now AIP past President and valued WPO representative from AIP; and Ralph Moyle, new AIP President. I want to personally wish Ralph all the best as he takes the reins of AIP for the next two years. I appreciate the opportunity to speak at the conference and look forward to visiting my packaging colleagues in Australia again soon.
Thomas L Schneider, CPP
President World Packaging Organisation