The BIG Packaging Debate was launched in 2011 and proved an instant success. Over 70 people crowded around the International Brand Summit to voice their opinions with the panel of experts and peers - and the 2012 debate will be no different!

It takes place Wednesday 29 February 2012.


Title: Sustainable packaging: saving the planet or costing the earth?

There isn’t a single retail organisation alive that doesn’t place environmental concern and consideration high on its agenda – nowadays, providing tangible evidence of green credentials as a precursor to entering into a commercial relationship is as important as being able to demonstrate financial viability.

However, more and more companies are finding to their astonishment that a sustainable solution - in theory - can in practice have adverse or otherwise unanticipated knock-on effects, either on other aspects of their own business or elsewhere along the supply chain. Driven more by individual initiative than led by legislation, implementing a green strategy can all too often fulfil Newton’s maxim that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

  • Selling fresh produce loose rather than pre-packed reduces film volumes, but increases food waste
  • Specifying lighter-weight plastic shopping bags reduces material usage but increases ‘double-bagging’ at the checkout 
  • The use of bioplastics reduces dependency upon fossil oils but diverts agricultural resources away from food production
  • Lightweighting rigid plastic containers reduces polymer consumption but necessitates increased secondary packaging to provide adequate protection in transit

Is the development of more sustainable packaging a moral imperative to be adopted at any price - or an irrelevance that’s clouding far bigger and more impactful environmental issues?

And in any case, won’t any material benefits that are achieved simply be swept aside within the context of a supply chain geared to meet the requirements of a just-in-time retail culture?

Under the guidance of regular chairman Kevin Vyse, this year’s BIG Packaging Debate panel will be invited to consider ways in which the packaging industry can deliver a more sustainable set of solutions – or whether its time and resource would be better spent in delivering a more cost-effective service.


Kevin Vyse - Owner, KBV Associates



Dr. John Williams - Head of Materials for Energy & Industry, NNFCC

Prof. Rob Holdway - Director, Giraffe Innovation Limited

Stuart Lendrum - Head of Packaging & Design, Sainsbury’s

Tom Heap - Freelance journalist & broadcaster

Dominic Box, Managing Director of Tangible Branding


View the 2011 video at PACKTV


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