President’s Word

A time for reflection...

Pierre Pienaar*

Can one believe that 2020 is almost done – where did this year go, and what a tumultuous year it has been for each of us individually as well as from an industry global perspective.

Each year that passes seems to have its own character. This past year certainly had its challenges, which greatly affected the WPO. As I look back over these past twelve months, I know that it has affected some more than others. Covid19 has taken its toll on us and our families across the world, and continues to do so.  In this busy time of year, I encourage you to take a few minutes to count our blessings. We all have so much to be thankful for, including our associations, businesses, family and friends, to name a few.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the efforts in putting the WPO where it is, globally. I am particularly aware that the success of the WPO rests upon the valuable support of our global members and the hard work of the committees who so generously volunteer and give of their time.

I take this opportunity to thank each of you for your wonderful support and dedication. A special mention has to go to the WPO Executive team. You all have done an amazing job, well beyond your call of duty. You all do it with great generosity and love, in many cases with great personal expense, Thank you so much.

We bid farewell to Aslihan Arikan (VP Education) and Antro Saila (VP Sustainability), both have done a remarkable job and taken their respective portfolios to new heights these past three years. I will always be grateful for their unselfish dedication, enormous contribution and keen interest in WPO affairs. We wish them both well into the future.

Christmas is a time for reflection and a rejuvenation of hope for the future. May we always be ever mindful of the spirit of caring, sharing, love and generosity of the Christmas season, and do our best at all times as we seek to develop our organisation, improve the prosperity of our businesses and grow as individuals, contributing in whatever capacity for the benefit of our families and communities in each of our countries.

Regardless of your current level of involvement, I challenge you to become more engaged with the WPO next year. There is a direct correlation to the effectiveness of both the WPO and your national organisation, and how involved you are in the activities and networking opportunities provided by your respective organisations.

So while many of you will be taking a holiday, some short, for others a bit longer. May I encourage you to take a few moments to relax, to step out of the fast lane, and to consider what is important. Our definition of importance will vary due to our backgrounds and lifestyle. For many of us, we consider three main categories to be important: family, faith and community. Family and faith tend to be more private considerations; but we can all recognise the importance of community.

This holiday season, please consider how we, as individuals, can help to improve the lives of someone, or a group of people, within our community. We all possess the ability to make a positive impact in our communities.

From our Board of Directors and all of us on the WPO Executive team, thank you for the opportunity and the honour of being the WPO president this past year. I look forward to 2021, with eagerness and great expectations. It is my sincere hope that you will all have a very Merry Christmas, a safe and joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year.

*Pierre Pienaar is President of WPO
[email protected]
WPO – World Packaging Organization

Around the World

"Golden Chestnut" competition, from Ukraine, goes online

Due to pandemic, Club Packers (, WPO member in Ukraine, held the XX Scientific and Practical Student Conference "Golden Chestnut" on line. 11 students, from 10 higher educational institutions, won the competition for the best scientific work on packaging.

The technical and organizational support of the competition was responsibility of the staff of the National University of Food Technologies. Despite the new format, the event was attended by 65 students, teachers and specialists of the packaging industry.

The conference had active discussions, interesting questions and meaningful answers. Students considered the current problems of development of various directions of the packaging industry in their reports. At the end of the event, all speakers were informed about the awarding of diplomas - from the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, as well as from the Packers Club. In addition, the reports are published in a collection that is a supplement to the magazine "Packaging".

For more information contact the President of the Club Packers, Veronika Khalaydzhi by e-mail [email protected].

South African packaging stars shine

Thanks to Covid-19 restrictions, the judging procedure for 2020 Gold Pack Awards, oganized by WPO member the Institute of Packaging South Africa (IPSA – changed to online prejudging of pictures and motivations, followed by virtual judging of physical packs courtesy of a series of Zoom meetings.

For this virtual procedure, judging chairman, Bill Marshall, plus three Gauteng-based judges – Annabé Pretorius, Ralph von Veh and Vanessa von Holdt – acted as the eyes, ears and senses of the other judges, providing a greatly-appreciated degree of interactivity for the others – Andy Rice, Clive Glover, Gill Loubser, Gunnar Sigge, Kishan Singh, Susi Moore and Wendy Knowler – as they collectively identified the excellent application of innovative design and technology to enhance packaging.

Concurrently with the publication of the awards brochure, in another departure from the norm, the final results were announced on a virtual platform
2020’s Gold Pack Awards honoured 55 finalists, with 29 category winners. The judges also acknowledged innovative work with five Highly Commended certificates in the Sustainability category and six in the Covid-19 Response category. The number of finalists in each category was led by Non-Alcoholic Beverages (ten), Food (nine), Alcoholic Beverages (eight), Health, Beauty, Medical & Pharmaceutical Packaging (six), Transit & Secondary Packaging (six), and Household Products (two). And the winners are:

Gold Pack Trophy winner

Palletplast – pallets that are produced from up to 97% recycled PET (rPET). The patented design includes three PET straps, enabling the pallet to rack up to 1 200kg of fruit, a vital factor in a sector that exports more than four-million pallets annually from the Western Cape alone.

Designed to replace wooden pallets, these lightweight, cost-effective rPET pallets can be reused or granulated after use for recycling abroad.

Produced in a consistent and standard size, they’re ideal for container loading.

Star of Africa

The awards programme also recognises and encourages excellence in packaging in African countries where no similar award programmes exist via the Star of Africa Award. The judges noted that the Eezi Pool Floatster from Zimbabwe’s CarnaudMetalbox stood out from the other four finalists for its innovation and usefulness as an affordable low-maintenance alternative to traditional pool care treatment systems. They awarded this 2-in-1 floater/booster a gold medal because it overcame the design challenge of transitioning the packaging from facilitating the application of all the necessary chemicals for a weekly to a monthly dose.

Star for Africa

The winner of the Star for Africa category is commended for producing extremely cost-competitive packaging in South Africa destined for use in another African country. This year, gold was awarded to Gayatri Beverage Cans for KungFu Energy Drink cans. According to the judges, the modern reproduction and printing techniques applied have resulted in a stand-out pack in the Zambian market.

It’s clear from this year’s results that the region's packaging design and technology is world-class and is fostering co-operation across the supply chain. It’s gratifying, too, that sustainability and environmental awareness are increasingly obvious in both entries and accolades.

Global Packaging Forum presentations are available!

WPO member, the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP –, in conjunction with Informa Markets, and supported by the WPO, recently ran the second Global Packaging Forum @ProPak Asia 2020 virtually. It was held over four days and over 2,000 people, from 20 countries, attended the sessions.

Each session brought together expert global presenters including WPO President, Pierre Pienaar CPP, WPO VP Sustainability, Antro Säilä, WPO Board Members Nerida Kelton (AIP) and Henky Wibawa (IPF) and World Design Organisation experts Srini Srinivasan and David Kusuma, who discussed four topics:

  1. How to achieve Global and Regional Packaging Targets for the ASEAN region.
  2. How to balance Sustainable Packaging & Food Waste Targets.
  3. Circular & Sustainable Design: Packaging for the future.
  4. Reusable & Refillable Packaging Designs for the Future.

All of the sessions were livestreamed around the world and recordings are available for viewing at YouTube. Check the links below:

Young Turkish designers for packaging have been awarded

The 16th Packaging Design National Student Competition 2020, organized by WPO member Turkish Packaging Manufacturers Association (ASD – awarded 17 projects from a total of 101 registrations. Every year, the award is organized with the contribution of Eurasia Packaging Istanbul Exhibition, in collaboration with Reed TÜYAP. This year, due to pandemic, the judging committee met virtually, for two days, to evaluate the projects.

The first winner of the competition was awarded 6,000 TL, the second winner was awarded 4,000 TL and the third winner 3,000 TL while three students who received honorary mentions were rewarded with 1,500 TL prize. Top three winners are now entitled to receive free "ASD & TÜYAP Educational Scholarship” for 12 months as well.

New podcast series developed in Australasia

In a new podcast series developed by WPO member Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP – for Australasian audience, WPO President, Pierre Pienaar, sat down to discuss global packaging situation and trends. Nerida Kelton, Executive Director of AIP and recently elected WPO Vice President Sustainability and Save Food, also participated in one edition discussing the role that packaging plays in minimising food waste.

To listen the podcasts access the links:

Episode 1: Pierre Pienaar

Episode 4: Nerida Kelton

From the board

Pierre Pienaar is re-elected WPO President

After the election, Pierre announced announced the new Executive Team for 2021-2023

Pierre Pienaar was elected WPO President for a second term, commencing January 2021. During his speech, immediately after election at WPO Board Meeting (November 25 during WPO Digital Week), he pointed out “to make the society understand that packaging is part of the solution, and not the problem”. 

Pierre also reinforced his mission established in November 2017, when he was first elected: use packaging to eradicate hunger and poverty around the globe.

To put all these plans into action, Pierre appointed a team of high level packaging professionals to work with him over the next three years of his second term (2021-2023). WPO new Executive Team is formed by:

  • General Secretary – Johannes Bergmair (Austria)
  • Senior Vice President Marketing - Luciana Pellegrino (Brazil)
  • Vice President Exhibitions and Conferences - Soha Atallah (Lebanon)
  • Vice President Education – Henky Wibawa (Indonesia)
  • Vice President Sustainability and Save Food – Nerida Kelton (Australia)
  • Press & Communication Liaison Officer - Liliam Benzi (Brazil)

Pierre also appointed 3 WPO Ambassadors that can officially represent the Organisation in an advisory capacity to President. They are Carl Olsmats (Sweden), Kishan Singh (South Africa) and Chakravarthi AVPS (India). Johannes Bergmair will be responsible for Food Safety (Packaging Hygiene) portfolio and Pierre will also take care of Awards (WorldStar and WorldStar Students).

WPO and WDO join forces to explore opportunities for sustainable packaging design


WPO President, Pierre Pienaar

WDO President, Srini Srinivasan

Having collaborated on several occasions in the past year, WPO and WDO (World Design Organization – formalized, in November, a partnership and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to leverage their shared commitment for sustainability and education as a means to organize and implement a variety of collaborative projects. With a special focus on training initiatives for designers in packaging design and technology. Both parties will aim to align their common interests and explore new areas for industry optimization.

“Packaging is neither solely an exercise in aesthetics nor simple functionality; it is an indispensable factor that exists at almost every level of product design, development and production” said WDO President, Srini Srinivasan.

As stated by the WPO President, Pierre Pienaar: “We always see design as one of the key pillars in the development of successful, sustainable and acceptable packaging. Designs of the future must be in accordance with the circular economy of packaging and always striving to reduce the demand on our global natural resources. The WPO therefore sees this partnership with WDO a significant shift in design focus as we develop this partnership in striving to maintain good acceptable packaging practices.”

Today, the safety, usability and environmental impact of packaging remains paramount, and both WDO and WPO hope that this partnership will enable new understandings and advancements of the materials that house and protect everyday personal, food and commercial products.

The World Design Organization (WDO)®, formerly the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1957 to promote the profession of industrial design. WDO advocates industrial design driven innovation that creates a better world, engaging more than 170 member organizations in collaborative efforts and carrying out international programming—World Design Capital®, World Design Talks™, World Design Impact Prize™, World Industrial Design Day™, and Interdesign™. WDO has United Nations Special Consultative Status.

WPO announces LibanPack as the new management of WorldStar Awards               

WPO member The Lebanese Packaging Center (LibanPack – will assume WorldStar Packaging Award management starting on January 1st, 2021. The Award will be coordinated by LibanPack Executive Director, Soha Atallah.

Since 2010, the global packaging competition, WorldStar, has been very successfully organized by WPO British member IOM3. “As IOM3 has decided not to continue this task in the future, WPO Board members and myself issued a tender for the WorldStar Award Management, among our members, in March this year”, explains WPO President, Pierre Pienaar. 

He also highligths the wonderful work IOM3 has done during the last 10 years, especially WorldStar coordinator, Rachel Bayswater. IOM3 will continue to organise and plan the WorldStar Award until December 31, 2020.

In an official communication to all WPO members, Pierre Pienaar also thanked the members whom applied for the WorldStar Management tender. He completes: “The decision was certainly not easy and was made after careful consideration by the Board members and myself”.

New Members

WPO welcomed five new members during the second Board Meeting 2020 (November 25 – Zoom platform). The new members are from Morocco, Poland, Georgia and Mongolia; IAPRI, the 5th new member, is an international body based in USA.

Know more about each one in the following articles.

Moroccan Federation of the Plastics Industry

The Moroccan Federation of the Plastics Industry (FMP –, a non-profit association, is the representative organization of the plastics processing sector (design and manufacture of plastic products) in Morocco. Created in 2010, it is the result of the evolution over time of professional associations in the sector: the association of plastic processors (ATPM) which succeeded for 10 years to the Moroccan Association of Plastics Industry (AMP), which existed for over two decades.

Among its objectives and missions, FMP aims to inform and help the operators of the plastics and packaging industries to develop locally and internationally, by putting them in contact and developing partnerships. The FMP ensures the defense of this major sector of Moroccan industry by making its own all issues of primary importance: economic, social, technical, financial, fiscal and customs.

By accompanying companies in their collective concerns, the FMP provides them with solutions in the management of their day-to-day problems. It is also the voice of the Moroccan plastics and packaging industry, intervening on subjects of common interest to national operators, in which it is the spokesperson near the national and international professional structures and regulatory authorities.

FMP board is composed, among others, by presidents of companies and is assisted by a permanent team headed by a Director and 04 commissions: Training, Technical Assistance and Research & Development; Economic Development & Investment; Sustainable Development; and Communication.

Aware of the strategic role that the sector plays in the national economy and in the industrial emergence of the country, the FMP has voluntarily adopted a charter of ethics and excellence intended to guarantee healthy social, commercial and institutional relations with the various partners, both public and private.

This charter recalls the fundamentals of the company's internal and external social responsibility, corporate citizenship, respect for the environment through the reduction of the waste emission, the respect of qualities standards and of national regulations in force.

According to FMP packaging department, 38% of the total country plastic’s production is for packaging; there are about 160 plastic packaging companies. The other materials are represented by: 26% paper and cardboard packaging (around 60 companies); 3% glass packaging (01 company); 15% metal packaging (03 companies).

In 2018, with the royal decision to ban plastic bags, most of the manufacturers converted to the production of paper and cardboard packaging.

For more information about Moroccan Federation of the Plastics Industry (FMP), contact Moussa Eltoumi by e-mail [email protected].

Polish Chamber of Packaging

The Polish Chamber of Packaging (PIO – was established in 1994 as an economic self-government organization of entrepreneurs of the packaging industry. It brings together over 80 companies: producers of packaging, packaging materials, machines and devices for packaging, as well as companies providing packaging and logistics services.

Other members of the Chamber are universities and research institutes conducting research and educating specialists for the packaging industry. In addition, there are national exhibition centres and publishing houses.

According to its statutory tasks and duties, PIA cares about the interests of entrepreneurs and the prestige of the packaging industry. It disseminates knowledge about the role and importance of packaging for society and the economy. It promotes companies and people merit for the development of industry and the packaging market.

It also organizes specialized conferences and seminars, economic and promotional missions to fairs and packaging exhibitions, and supports innovative development projects of its members. One big achievement was to establish the “Day of Packaging”, celebrated on September 15.

PIA aims to help to promote the Polish packaging industry in the country and internationally. The packaging market in Poland, in 2019, was estimated in EUR 11 billion (approx. PLN 45 billion). The increase in the value of the packaging market this year amounted to approx. 6%. Such a good result was determined by the Polish economy, influenced by the increase in consumption and exports. According to PIO forecasts, in 2020 the per capita consumption of packaging, in Poland, will approach 300 EUR.

For more information about the Polish Chamber of Packaging (PIA), contact Beata Pys-Skronska by e-mail [email protected].

Packaging Manufacturers’ Association of Georgia

Packaging Manufacturers’ Association of Georgia (PMAG – was established in 2019 by 08 Georgian packaging companies. Later that year, within the framework of the EU-funded “EU innovative action for private sector competitiveness in Georgia”, the Association was transformed into PMAG Packaging Cluster.

PMAG aims to support the packaging industry and individual members to enhance competitiveness and scale up through synergies of collaboration across the value chain. Its members benefit from access to industry knowledge and networks, leveraging collaborative efforts and being on the cutting edge (be right at the front of the industry).

PMAG advocates the industry interests, enhance industry visibility, set up strategic partnerships, gather and disseminate information and knowledge, provide analysis, create and maintain networking and collaboration platforms, facilitate cooperation, coordinate and manage projects, negotiate with stakeholders.

Packaging industry in Georgia is weakly represented in discussions and communication on governmental, donor and international organization and business community level. Furthermore, the sector is subject to many existing and especially planned environmental and waste management regulations and needs strong advocacy to avoid damaging developments in regulatory framework.

It should be noted that, Georgian packaging industry experiences lack of internal communication and collaboration, which makes it problematic for industry participants to make use of economies of scale and achieve meaningful knowledge and capacity building beneficial for all players.

The companies feel diffficulty in accessing specific data and analytics and finding networking opportunities. For this very reason, PMAG establishes itself as an industry hub in order to enable scale up and access to the markets through industry knowledge generation, enabling networking platform, and facilitating collaborative efforts. Members also experience shortage of qualified/unqualified human resources and opportunities for employee capacity building.

Further difficulties are faced when looking for specific experts, technology/spare parts providers and providers of industry specific and general services. There is a vast untapped potential for cost cutting through activity coordination and negotiation of preferential terms for different services utilizing increased bargaining power of consolidated industry.

PMAG positions itself as a Center of Excellency enabling corporate efficiency improvement of members through knowledge transfer, human capital development and access to technology/advisory services. It is open to manufacturers of all types of packaging, companies upstream and downstream the value chain and providers of various services important for the industry. As of now, our cluster unites 24 companies, among which majority are involved in paper, cardboard, plastics packaging industry. However, PMAG Cluster also unites a number of designer agencies who provide designs for packaging, raw material suppliers, packaging for consumer goods as well as research and development institutions such as state universities and professional colleges.

For more information about Packaging Manufacturers’ Association of Georgia (PMAG) contact the Managing Director, Revaz Topuria, by e-mail [email protected].

Mongolian United Packaging Association

The Mongolian United Packaging Association ( is the only association in the Mongolian packaging field that serves its member organizations. The organization activities include the proposals of member companies on government policies and address issues in the sector, support fair competition, improve the legal environment of the field, perform some government functions in line with its goals, and cooperate with international organizations.

The country has more than 60 active companies and enterprises operating in packaging field, of which 50 of them are members of the Association. The sector employs more than 2,000 people and produces more than 225 billion MNT worth of packaging products annually. This attends 45% of the total demand of Mongolia.

Domestic packaging products include:

  • cardboard and paper boxes;
  • mining and heavy container bags;
  • beverage plastic bottles and closures;
  • plastic bags and nets;
  • bag in box packages;
  • bags with and without lining;
  • cloth bags, handbags, nets;
  • labels;
  • leather bags and nets;
  • metal packaging; wood buckets.

By joining WPO, Mongolian United will facilitate the introduction of world-class, state-of-the-art technology, cooperate, introduce the latest packaging trends to domestic companies and show, internationally, how Mongolian packaging is developing. It is considered to be mutually beneficial in many ways, such as demonstration and training of global packaging specialists in Mongolia.

For more information about Mongolian United Packaging Association contact B. Boldbaatar by e-mail [email protected].

IAPRI - International Association of Packaging Research Institutes

The International Association of Packaging Research Institutes (IAPRI – is an international membership association established in 1974 to promote packaging research and education. IAPRI is a unique global network of packaging research institutes, universities that teach packaging, testing laboratories, and corporations that conduct packaging research. It provides member organizations the ability to communicate and develop ideas, exchange experiences and in many cases reduce duplication of effort. Today IAPRI has 88 members from 29 countries. It is headquartered in the United States and incorporated as a non-profit association.

Our main activities are to establish and advance relations between representatives of packaging research and education institutions to assist in them reaching their professional and personal goals and objectives. To promote packaging science and technology to important target groups, including international organizations, government bodies and foundations and to contribute to the academic recognition of educational programs on packaging.

These aims are supported and enabled by the arrangement of IAPRI conferences, symposia, lectures, and other educational activities. We publish a monthly e-newsletter and work with publishers to facilitate the recognition and publishing of scientific and scholarly work.

We are proud to have the WPO as an affiliate member of IAPRI and look forward to working the WPO officers, staff, and individual members on efforts of common interest related to the world of packaging.

For more information about IAPRI contact the Secretary General, Edward A. Church, CPPL by e-mail [email protected].


WPO 1st on line Packaging Technology training program

Trainers were WPO President, Pierre Pienaar and WPO Ambassador, Kishan Singh


WPO organized the first online training on Packaging Technology in September 2020 (21-24). The purpose of those training courses is to increase and develop professional knowledge and competency of packaging industries´ employees, other professionals in related industries and also university students.

The online training titled as “Introduction to Packaging Technology” was presented in English and attracted 15 participants from Austria, Latvia, India, Nigeria, Palestine, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, United States and Turkey. All participants received a certificate.

The four days course content included Packaging Technology; Environmental Sustainability; Food Safety; Save Food and Quality topics.

Over the past seven years, WPO has been responsible for more than 53 packaging training courses, in 15 countries, that has impacted more than 2,157 packaging professionals.

Some new education initiatives are being discussed and planned in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central & South Americas, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The future potential training programs will be:

  • Packaging Technology
  • Food Packaging Technology
  • Advanced Packaging Technology
  • Technical Course for Corrugated Board
  • Packaging Graphics & Design
  • 6 Sigma and other Quality Management Trainings
  • Online Training Programs on Packaging Technology

For more information, contact Aslihan Arikan, WPO Vice President of Education & Chair of Education Committee [email protected].


WorldStar Special Award winners & Student winners were announced at a Virtual Ceremony

WPO formally announced virtually the Bronze, Silver and Gold Special Award winners in categories Marketing, Sustainability, Packaging that Saves Food and President’s Award on the 25th and 26th August.  Also taking part were the up and coming talent of today – the Student Awards and not forgetting, the Industry Lifetime Achievers.

The main awards winners, special awards winners and winners guide can all be viewed at

To watch the virtual 2020 ceremony of WorldStar Special Awards, access the links below:

And to watch the virtual 2019 ceremony of WorldStar Student Awards, the links are:

Worldstar Student

The entries are in and the judging has started!

The unsettled nature of the year, particularly for educational institutions around the world, encouraged IPSA (Institute of Packaging South Africa –, WPO member and organizer of WorldSTar Student Award, to be as lenient as possible with the deadlines for entries into the 2020 competition. The last of the entries have been received and the on-line judging process is on its way. 

The judges will access the entry PDFs on-line at their own pace and score each entry on a selection of criteria. This allows a little more time for consideration of each of the projects submitted, however it is understandably a little more time-consuming for them. The judges from around the world, who volunteered for this, are performing a very valuable task for the WPO and the extensive time they dedicate by giving their expertise and experience to this process is greatly appreciated.

Despite the difficulties faced, more entries have been received this year than in the last few years. Organizers are particularly pleased to have received entries from "first time entrants" Australia, Ghana and Ukraine. It is also pleasing to welcome back entries from India, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates after a few year’s break.

The increased number of entries means the the judges have a big task in front of them and we hope that they will all be able to complete the judging by the end of December. Their scores will then be compiled and consolidated with the target of announcing the results by the middle of January. The entrants will receive the results by email and they will be posted on the WorldStar Student Awards website. This can be accessed via the WPO website or directly at

For more information contact Bill Marshal, National Secretary of IPSA, by e-mail [email protected].

Message from General Secretary

A year like a gift box


At the end of every year, it is a good tradition in many regions of our world to give special presents to those we love. These presents are packed beautifully; in my eyes as General Secretary of WPO a good tradition, too. Sometimes if you get such a present on your own, you wonder how beautiful/useful/precious it is and how good your family and friends know you to select such a perfect present for especially you. But sometimes you open it and think (not say): What the …?!??

Well, 2020 is/was maybe such a present. A pandemic hit us. Most of us could not imagine how quick and fundamental this would change our lives. We had and have to rethink our lifestyle, business models and priorities. Some of us lost close friends or relatives, some are struggling to keep their business running or stumbled into unemployment, some feel lost or are blocked by fear. And the virus is still spreading …

On the other hand, if you get such a “special” present, look at it at second time. Maybe you can conclude and say: well it was not exactly what I expected, but let’s see what we can do with it. Even the ugliest tie can be used for fixing some loose parts in your flat … Positive thinking is a big gift to human mankind in general.

So, let’s check: what was there for WPO in 2020? Not so bad, I would say. Yes, we had to cancel our big meeting at Interpack in May. But this situation forced us to strengthen our online communication skills. We transferred many meetings to zoom, organised WPO’s first webinars, arranged an online training course and – finally – set up a totally online WPO Board Meeting. There we welcomed five new members (Gamarjoba, Georgia! Sain uu, Mongolia! Bonjour, Morocco! Science rocks, IAPRI! Dzien dobry, Pio!).

We had to reduce our presence on fairs and conferences, but our (online) public relation is stronger than ever – thanks we had that marvellous Linked In account established well already prior to the crisis. No World Star ceremony in Düsseldorf this year – but a new virtual format of showing, what a star packaging is, still watchable on YouTube.

Beside this, we finalised a new contract for WorldStar management: Hard to lose IOM3 and especially Rachel (Thank you so much, Lady Bayswater!), but we can imagine already what power the new team of LibanPack brings as we saw at the new online voting while WPO Board Meeting!

Finally – not to make the list too long – WPO worked on strategic partnerships with UNIDO, WDO, FEFCO, ECPA/GCSCC, IAPRI, ISTA, …). Again, I think it would not have been that efficient without having the new online meeting facilities, this crazy year forced us to use.

What’s in the gift box for 2021?

Well, nobody knows for sure yet. Meanwhile it is confirmed, that Interpack won’t happen in February/March 2021, but will be postponed to the next regular slot for that show in May 2023. So, the planned joint booth/area of WPO and Messe Düsseldorf will be organized for that occasion.

Our next WPO Board Meeting will be done online via zoom again from 17 to 20, May 2021. Very likely, the next WorldStar Ceremony will be virtual again, too. Optimistic as we are, the next “real” meeting will then be South Africa 22 – 26 November 2021. We will further develop and launch WPO Webinars Talk Shows in stronger cooperation with our members and organize WPO Online Trainings like in September. Work on international cooperation and last, but not least, support our members in creating better quality of life through better packaging for more people. As we always do.

Barbara Zottl & Tanja Woschniak
WPO Secretariat
[email protected]

Johannes Bergmair
WPO General Secretary
[email protected]

Special Article

50 years of South African packaging professionalism

By Gill Loubser*

In 2019, Gill Loubser received the Lifetime Achievement
in Packaging Award,
from WPO, in a ceremony in Prague.

Although 2020 has been a year like no other, one of the highlights has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Institute of Packaging SA (IPSA), a WPO member.

Little did I realise that my introduction to the National Executive (NatEx) team in 1979 would trigger a lifelong devotion to IPSA in particular and the packaging industry in general!

It was the start of a career in a stimulating industry, with its unique and exciting juxtaposition of technology and design, a career that has provided more than four decades’ worth of memories – of technologies unveiled, of innumerable visits to exhibitions and conferences both locally and in far-off countries, and, most of all, of friendships formed and sustained. Indeed, many such friendships have resulted from my close ties with the IPSA family.

In 1970, packaging professionals in Cape Town and Johannesburg campaigned for an Institute of Packaging similar to the one established in the UK. As a result, a historic meeting took place at AECI’s Modderfontein plant where the fledgling IPSA took flight.

During that year, committees were formed and in due course three regions nominated representatives to a National Executive committee (henceforth called NatEx), which met for the first time in Johannesburg in February 1971, with AECI’s Bob Gillespie as its first chairman. The agenda included education, publicity, membership categories, finance and the drafting of an all-important constitution.

A year later, 46 companies had been enrolled as corporate members and 103 individual members had been signed up and IPSA’s first national AGM took place in Johannesburg in February 1973.

In 1974, a fourth region was inaugurated in the Eastern Cape, and ten years later the Border Region was born (although the latter has since expired!).

With that much-abridged history of IPSA’s early days as a backdrop, the 50th anniversary profile [] chronicles IPSA’s continuing progress over the past decade – including the ongoing development of its education and awards programmes – and most especially highlighting the people who have played key roles, without whose professionalism and dedication IPSA would have been stillborn.

Education has always been a driving force in IPSA, which offers wide-ranging formal courses and ad hoc seminars, workshops and specialist speaker events, all designed to ensure a supply of packaging professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet industry’s needs.

Included in this strategy are the dual objectives of creating a sense of pride in the profession and attracting young talent into the industry. The Gold Pack and Student Gold Pack programmes are important elements in helping to attain these goals, and have undergone remarkable development over the years.

The education portfolio, cohesively solidified by Barry and Annette Oakley and subsequently ably guided by Roger Carey-Smith, is now presided over by Kishan Singh. The last decade has seen IPSA’s education framework mature into a four-tier skills development programme.

Although the idea of online courses had been considered previously, the Covid-19 pandemic fast-tracked this concept. The quick transition of existing courses into online versions has been so successful and well received that all courses will move online with immediate effect. This allows anyone, anywhere, to participate.

The geographic expansion of IPSA’s education programmes and the Gold Pack Awards [] has resulted in the creation of a new IPSA region, nominally labelled the International Region, that’s rapidly gaining momentum. IPSA has always actively engaged with its international counterparts, not only playing an active role in the WPO, but also as a founder member of the African Packaging Organisation.

That these connections are viewed as important is underscored by next year’s meeting of WPO board members being hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa. A week-long programme of meetings and networking opportunities will have as its highlight the 2021 Gold Pack banquet, scheduled to coincide with the presence of the international visitors.

Indeed, it’s thanks to the sterling efforts of IPSA’s founding fathers and the many subsequent waves of packaging aficionados who have nurtured and managed IPSA’s affairs at both national and regional levels over the last 50 years, that we can now celebrate the existence of a thriving, well-respected body of true packaging professionals.

*Gill Loubser is Fellow of the IPSA and one of the most brilliant and long time packaging journalists in the world. She is also one of the founders of IPPO (International Packaging Press Organization).

Special Article

Looking towards a refillable future for Packaging

By Nerida Kelton*

Every time I purchase a new shampoo or other expensive hair care product from my hairdresser, I walk away wondering why I can’t take the empty bottles back and have them refilled? I do the same for my bathroom and cleaning products and realised that this is an area that needs further exploration by packaging technologists and designers, as we move towards circular packaging design.

Whilst Refillable Packaging is gaining momentum across beauty, hair and household categories the development of innovative concepts seems to be untapped.  

In 2019, Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative introduced its research on reuse models. Converting 20% of global plastic packaging into reuse models offers a USD 10 billion business opportunity. The research highlights six ways that reuse can bring significant benefits to both users and businesses: 1. Cut costs 2. Adapt to individual needs 3. Optimise operations 4. Build brand loyalty 5. Improve user experience 6. Gather intelligence.

Before you set out to design Refillable Packaging, I would encourage you to build an evidence-based case that includes Lifecycle Assessment and measurements to ensure that the packaging materials and design selected are optimal. Refillable Packaging does come with several challenges and design considerations, including that the materials selected are not only sustainable, but also capable of withstanding multiple usage. This involves incorporating Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) investigation into the development of the design to ensure the ‘number of uses’ and the final disposal of the reuse container will have a better environmental impact than a recyclable package. Understanding the lower environmental impacts that the packaging offers, including how many uses are required for the new packaging, are invaluable pieces of consumer communication and messaging.

In addition, Hygiene, Safety and Cleaning protocols need to be considered as well as accuracy of the equipment that weights and measures the refilling process. Refillable Packaging design also needs to ensure that it is intuitive, user-friendly and an affordable alternative to introducing more plastics into the ecosystem. Incorporating recycled content is also paramount wherever possible.

Refillable Packaging is not only better for the environment, but it is also another way to actively engage consumers in the sustainable journey of a brand. Brands need to communicate with consumers the true benefits of Refillable Packaging systems including reduction of unnecessary plastics, use of recycled content, recyclability of the packaging and consumer convenience. Brand loyalty could also be improved by developing reward and incentive programs for those consumers who actively support a Refillable Packaging Program.

A number of examples that stood out to me include local manufacturer Natures Organics, Nivea, Olay and the Body Shop who were one of the pioneers in this space 3 decades ago. 

Natures Organics inspiring the next generation to reuse

In August 2020, Australian company Natures Organics launched a refillable and reusable starter kit for the Cove laundry and bathroom cleaning range. The Starter kit comes with aluminium reusable bottles and pouches for refilling the respective products. The company has also designed the refill pouches to contain more active ingredients and at least 75% less water compared to normal cleaning products. This ensures that the environmental footprint of the product is less during transportation and consumers can simply add water to the products at home from the tap. Natures Organics have partnered with REDcycle to ensure that the refill packs are recycled. The products are shipped in cardboard cartons made from recycled material.

Shower Gel Refill Stations trials

In August 2020, German skincare manufacturer Beiersdorf announced that their largest global brand, NIVEA, had just launched its first shower gel refill station. The prototype, which are in select DM stores in Hamburg and Ettlingen, will investigate the concept of reusable bottles with consumers. The refilling machine has been designed, developed and engineered by a cross-functional team within Beiersdorf’s global packaging and R&D functions.

Olay Skin Care Refillable Containers to target Millennials

In 2019 P&G’s Olay skin care brand announced that its Olay Regenerist Whip moisturiser was selling in refillable containers as part of a trial to reduce plastics waste. The skin care packaging contains a jar of cream and one refill pod of moisturiser that can be placed inside the jar once it is emptied. P&G indicated that the packaging will also be sold and shipped in a container made of 100% recycled paper and would have no outer carton to cut paperboard use. P&G said the Olay pilot could be a way to attract more millennials, whose purchases of the Olay brand grew 8% last year.

Body Shop offers refillable shower gel

In 2019 Body Shop established a UK concept store in London that includes trials for a refillable shower gel station. Interestingly, this is not the first time that Body Shop have had refillable packaging systems in-store. In fact, they trialled a similar program in the 90’s, but sadly consumers thirty years ago were unable to understand, or embrace, the concept.

I look forward to seeing the results of these initiatives, as for consumers like me to embrace Refillable Packaging Systems the program needs to be easy to use, intuitive, affordable and convenient to access.

The reduction of plastics waste across the globe would be significant if everyone started to embrace Refillable Packaging Programs and environmental visionaries like Body Shop Founder, the late Anita Roddick, would be proud that consumers are taking ownership of their environmental footprint.

My haircare, beauty and cleaning products are ready to be refilled. Who is up for the challenge?

*Nerida Kelton MAIP is Executive Director of AIP (Australian Institute of Packaging), ANZ Board Member of WPO and recently elected WPO Vice President Sustainability and Save Food.


Electronic publication from WPO – World Packaging Organisation –

Coordination: WPO’s President: Mr. Pierre Pienaar / WPO’s General Secretary: Mr. Johannes Bergmair / ABRE – Brazilian Packaging Association: Mrs. Luciana Pellegrino / Miss Isabella Salibe

Contribution: WPO Members

Publishing: ABRE – Brazilian Packaging Association –

Responsible Editor: IPPO Member Liliam Benzi - Journalist Mtb 19.352 – Brazil – [email protected]

Diagramming: Formato Editoração e Design - Mr. Saulo Pacheco

Photos: Contribution of WPO members