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Smithers and L.E.K. Consulting are pleased to announce the agenda for the Future of Packaging 2022, reverting back to a 1-day in-person program on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
Opening Remarks
Keynote Presentation
Consumers, Sustainability and the Future of Packaging
Networking Break
Panel #1 : Defining Sustainable Packaging
Defining Sustainable Packaging

Moderator: Jeff Cloetingh, Managing Director, L.E.K. Consulting

There’s no one way to define “sustainable packaging,” and there are conflicting views on what’s important to customers and their end consumers. While recyclable or recycled content is the most prevalent approach to sustainability within the packaging market today, additional methods are also important to a range of stakeholders. We’ll discuss re-use concepts, CO2 footprint reduction, compostability, less material usage, less hazardous materials usage (PVC avoidance) and more. 
Topics to include:

  • Sensible sustainability goals
  • Effective metrics for achieving sustainability goals, and how they vary by value chain participant or end market
  • What it means for a package to be recyclable 
  • Whether investment in mechanically recyclable packaging makes sense for materials that aren’t picked up by appropriate recycling infrastructure
  • How market participants should evaluate the pros and cons of various sustainable packaging definitions
  • The role that legislation or pre-competitive industry collaboration should play in defining sustainability (with no single player able to solve this on their own)!
Networking Break
Panel #2 : Evaluating ESG in M&A decisions
Evaluating ESG in M&A decisions

Moderator: Karin von Kienlin, Partner, L.E.K. Consulting

Packaging has been a highly active sector for M&A over the past few years, and sustainability and broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals have become an increasingly important consideration when evaluating public or private assets. During this panel, corporate M&A and financial sponsors will discuss how they evaluate and assign value to an asset’s ESG story.
Topics to include:

  • How M&A professionals define ESG and the areas of emphasis on each of its components
  • Key elements of a strong ESG story when evaluating M&A targets, and identifying what’s truly of substance
  • How public and private markets compare in their approach to weighing an organization’s ESG profile
  • Examples of compelling ESG stories that had a real impact on the success of the sales process and the valuation achieved


Networking Lunch
Panel #3: Unlocking Sustainability Throughout the Value Chain
Unlocking Sustainability Throughout the Value Chain

Moderator: Jon Moss, Principal, L.E.K Consulting

Increasingly, retailers and other downstream participants are influencing sustainability decisions in packaging. (Think Walmart’s seven-year alliance with IFCO for reusable plastic containers or Lidl’s PreZero recycling products subsidiary.)
This panel will explore retailers’ perspectives on sustainability as well as pre-competitive arrangements that retailers are making with brand owners to achieve sustainability goals. In addition, we’ll examine the role that upstream value chain participants play in determining how converters and brand owners can fulfill sustainability metrics. 
Topics to include:

  • How retailers (including foodservice operators) embrace sustainability and drive packaging decisions among brand owners
  • The role that own-label products play
  • The extent that retailers monetize waste streams via deposit systems and collection 
  • The effectiveness of pre-competitive arrangements within the value chain in helping participants meet sustainability goals
Networking Break
Panel #4 : Redefining the Role of Packaging Materials and their Providers
Redefining the Role of Packaging Materials and their Providers

Moderator: Amanda Davis Winters, Managing Director, L.E.K. Consulting

Brand owners have publicly announced sustainability targets for 2025, and converters are using a variety of strategies to ensure that they can provide customers with a range of sustainable packaging options. Some converters have purchased materials recovery facilities; other converters are using “closed-loop” systems to secure a clean supply of recycled materials. This panel will explore strategies packaging converters are using to ensure they can meet brand owners’ sustainability needs. 
Topics to include:

  • Business models that converters are using to ensure surety in supply of sustainable substrates
  • ​The evolving role of traditional converters in the broader sustainability movement
  • Ways converters can work with other players in the value chain (such as recyclers and chemicals companies) to secure recyclate supply
Closing Remarks
Evening Reception