Elected in May this year, Pierre Pienaar has announced his goals as the new president of WPO (World Packaging Organization, worldpackaging.org) during the Board meeting of 2017, held in Brazil in the first week of November.

“We cannot ignore that some countries still face the extreme inequality of income between professionals and the masses being the biggest contributor toward the low GDP. Having this in mind, we need to contemplate how to reduce food wastage through the packaging industry. Countries like Brazil and South Africa, for example, have the infrastructure, the money, the brains and certainly the need to feed the masses and yet millions go hungry. Packaging alone cannot fix this problem. However, before we consider any packaging design, material, innovative products, technological advancements, responsible, sustainable, reusable, environmentally-friendly packaging, we MUST understand and appreciate where the packaging industry fits in the chain that could get more food to more people that need it most," said Pierre during his presentation in the seminar organized by local WPO member, ABRE (Brazilian Packaging Organization) in Brazil.

The first step toward this mission was the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding for strategic cooperation in the field of packaging capacity building, between WPO and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), represented in the occasion by Alessandro Amadio. The purpose, according to the MOU, is “to achieve the mutually declared objectives toward the operationalization of UNIDO’s mandate for inclusive sustainable industrial development."

In practical terms, it means WPO, with UNIDO´s support, will develop and implement specialized training and capacity building programs on packaging and will help setting up national packaging centers, in developing countries, to provide a wide variety of services including design of packaging, labeling, technical label review and training courses on packaging. WPO will also promote and organize student & industry packaging competitions.

“In fact these activities are already taking place in WPO. As former WPO Vice President of Education, I helped organizing, in the past 4 years, packaging technology training in over 13 countries to over 1,000 people. Over this next year, new countries will join the list, including Kazakhstan, Morocco, Lebanon and Egypt," added Pierre.

Another ongoing great achievement of WPO, that is also contemplated in Pierre´s term, is WorldStar Award. During Brazil´s meeting, representatives from 16 packaging associations, members of WPO, judged 318 packaging projects, from 38 countries that entered the WorldStar Awards 2018.

“This global award is a way of recognizing the expertise and genius in packaging of companies and students. It is amazing to see, each year more, how packaging projects can help avoiding food waste and guarantying more quality food for more people.”

Pierre will also continue supporting the Save Food project, an initiative of Messe Düsseldorf (Interpack organizer) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), from United Nations. “Again we are talking about packaging education. Through WPO members (packaging associations and institutes), we aim to educate packaging professionals and society about the important and invaluable aspects of packaging: good packaging, cost-effective packaging, packaging that contributes to create a more sustainable society."