Strategy Stage

This is a pivotal moment for packaging, as stakeholders work out their strategic direction in the face of the implications and imperfections of incoming regulation. We propose that businesses have an opportunity to collaboratively embrace ambitious goals and bold strategies now that will genuinely address environmental needs and keep ahead of societal demands. The Strategy Stage agenda will explore opportunities for strategic alignment and collective action – in the face of both economic headwinds and an approaching regulatory tsunami.

Innovation Stage

The Innovation Horizon stream exists to illuminate the opportunities for R&D to accelerate sustainable transformation. It will highlight the exciting new areas of innovation, discuss the challenges confronting key packaging materials and applications, and share the learnings from significant projects.

Strategy Stage Agenda


Keynotes from global leaders 

Strategic overview

Leading voices contextualize the discussions of the next two days by assessing progress in packaging sustainability, our fundamental business, regulatory and innovation challenges, and they interconnect.  

Future-proofing to anticipate and meet our regulatory and environmental obligations

This is a pivotal year. In Europe, questions surround how PPWR will unfold as we await the impact of elections in addition to a tsunami of secondary legislation that threatens to fragment regulatory demands and damage competitiveness. On the Strategy Stage we bring together business and regulators, including Nestlé’s Jodie Roussell, the European Commission’s Mattia Pellegrini and EUROPEN’s Francesca Stevens, to explore the challenges raised by regulation, from mandatory targets to reporting requirements, to identify the gaps, and define how we can respond. But we also propose viewing 2024 as an opportunity: if we can lay the strategic foundations for an ambitious path to meet science-based environmental targets, we have a chance to set the course for a decade of growth. 

Building momentum in challenging times 

Will brands opt for greener packaging when consumer budgets are under pressure, and what’s the outlook for infrastructure investment when interest rates are rocketing? Industry is challenged with accelerating progress on environmental impacts at a time when some brands have acknowledged that they cannot meet their 2025 goals. In the face of economic headwinds, systemic barriers and preoccupation in some sectors with seismic mergers, we explore business perspectives on how to maintain and build momentum. Featuring senior business leadership from global corporations (speakers to be announced soon), as well as Elvire Regnier’s inspirational concept of regenerative procurement. 


Scaling reuse through consortiums  

The gear-shift from innovation to bringing change at scale is crucial to achieving our sustainability goals and meeting our regulatory obligations. This applies especially to the context of reusable packaging, where we have seen many impressive pilot schemes, but volumes lag way behind the levels necessary to eliminate plastic waste. The Sustainable Packaging Summit will address this challenge with a strategic panel discussion exploring how we can create the conditions in which consortiums driving reuse can flourish. Featuring Jolanda de Rooij (Unilever), Emmanuelle Bautista (CITEO), Amy Larkin (PR3), Feng Wang (UN Environment Programme) and Mirjam Karmiggelt (GS1), we assess the respective roles that can be played by governance, international standards and EPR – as well as learnings from value chain collaborators on the keys to growth.   

Global plastics 

On the backdrop of INC-5, the latest instalment of negotiations in the UN Plastics Treaty, we explore not just the global regulatory levers, but the practical actions that stakeholders can collectively take to help develop supply chains and markets for circular plastics. Featuring a keynote from Gemini chairman, Surendra Patawari and panel contributions from WWF, brand owners, investors, Raffi Schieir (Prevented Ocean Plastic) and Willemijn Peeters (Searious Business) 

Downstream alignment on scalable circular solutions 

Brands and retailers are under pressure to meet mandatory targets for recycled content in packaging materials – while also complying with regulation governing contact-sensitive applications. There’s an urgent need for pre-competitive alignment to identify and nurture scalable solutions. Holly Nelson (Unilever), Hannah Drew (Aldi Sud), Alexander-Christian Root (PreZero) and Feliks Bezati (Mars) search for pathways to this goal. 

Reporting obligations  

The elephant in the room. Looming reporting requirements – associated with new regulation, EU taxonomy, and SBTI – present a severe headache for business. In this session, we explain how data hygiene, harmonized standards, and common data sets are crucial to meeting obligations – and cleaning up your internal mess. 


Paper-based and bio-based alternatives are popular with consumers. We explore the environmental considerations around switching to a renewable packaging material, and the barriers and opportunities confronting the renewable-based businesses.  


Innovation Stage Agenda

Innovation strategies, trends and opportunities 

Featuring Trent Huntington (KraftHeinz) and Olga Kachook (SPC) 

Start-up pitches

Glimpse the innovation horizon with a curated selection of exciting packaging sustainability start-ups in expansion phase. 

Reviewing key multi-stakeholder research platforms and HORIZON-funded projects. 

Materials microscope

Presentations and updates from associations, value chain platforms and businesses – with a focus on plastics, fibres and permanent materials. 

Spotlight on AI and Digitization 

Featuring Trent Huntington (KraftHeinz) and Olga Kachook (SPC)

Innovation strategies, trends and opportunities 

In what ways can Artificial Intelligence support our packaging sustainability mission? Speakers will explore applications of AI, from improving environmental benchmarking to explaining how it can improve the accuracy of waste sorting. Featuring Marcel van Eijk (Perfect Sorting Consortium), Elvire Regnier, and Jan Somers (GS1). 

Spotlight on pharmaceutical packaging 

How do we achieve circularity in pharmaceutical packaging that also has to meet the most stringent of safety demands? Duncan Flack of Honeywell – and the Sustainable Medicines Partnership – and Harriet Lewis of biopharmaceutical giant Chiesi discuss how multi-stakeholder collaboration is building an approach to square the circle. 

Reverse pitches: a brand owner outlines a requirement that needs innovation solutions 


Content on other stages

EPR Masterclass - Designed and funded to deliver circular materials 

In the afternoon of Day 1 CEFLEX will deliver an interactive discussion on supporting and collaborating with EPRs, covering their strategic role in the circular economy in Europe and beyond, including:  

  • Delivery of PPWR targets 
  • Material flow management 
  • Investment and eco-modulation fees 
  • Role in recycled content and sustainable end markets 

FINAT Sustainability Awards 

Thanks to a partnership between Packaging Europe and FINAT, the international association for the European label industry, we'll be hosting a special ceremony to announce the winners of the FINAT Sustainability Awards on 12th November - day one of the Summit. The competition serves to highlight the best recent advances and innovations in labelling sustainability. Bringing the announcement of winners to the Summit is intended to highlight how labels can support the adaptation of packaging to environmental demands, and more broadly ensure that the perspectives and impacts of labelling are represented in the wider strategic discussions across the event. Sustainable Packaging Summit delegates have free access to the FINAT Sustainability Awards event, with no pre-registration required. 

 2023 program highlights