• Jamie Durie addresses the 180-strong audience at the APCO 2019 awards.
    Jamie Durie addresses the 180-strong audience at the APCO 2019 awards.
  • Big winner of the night: CHEP
    Big winner of the night: CHEP
  • Celebrating progress: Brooke Donnelly, APCO CEO.
    Celebrating progress: Brooke Donnelly, APCO CEO.
  • Inspired by industry: Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans.
    Inspired by industry: Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans.
  • Richard Fine receives the BioPak award from Brooke Donnelly.
    Richard Fine receives the BioPak award from Brooke Donnelly.
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CHEP, Biopak, Panasonic, and Amgen were among the companies recognised for leading the way in sustainable packaging design and innovation at the annual Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation Awards in Melbourne this week. Food & Drink Business stablemate PKN was there.

A postive mood inspired by evidence of progressive change prevailed in the crowded Melbourne Convention Centre room on Wednesday (20 November), where 180 members and VIP guests gathered to celebrate the sustainability leadership shown by 18 award-winning APCO member organisations.

The 2019 event saw the presentation of 13 Sector Awards and six Outstanding Achievement Awards with a focus on innovation, collaboration and an ongoing commitment to driving packaging sustainability.

The finalists and winners (see full list below), were selected based on their performance in sustainable packaging design, recycling initiatives and product stewardship programs to develop sustainable supply chains.

MC for the night, TV celebrity Jamie Durie, said the award winners are the highest performing organisations measured against 13 criteria in APCO's sustainable packaging framework – companies and individuals who are "going above and beyond to make change happen".

"You belong to an elite selection of businesses who are outperforming in a group that represents approximately 20 per cent of Australia's GDP," Durie told the yet-to-be-announced winners.

Brooke Donnelly, APCO CEO, said that the industry is in the process of a huge transformation, one that will see small wins and big wins along the way, and that it is important to celebrate all of them. She noted that the Australian Packaging Covenant is marking its 20th year, and that while the last two to three years has been a challenging time, Australia has found a way forward that is much more progressive, a way that sees industry and government can work together collectively. "And that", she said, "is a very powerful thing".

Commenting on the awards, Donnelly said: "All of tonight’s winners and finalists have demonstrated industry leadership and excellence in sustainable packaging. While these initiatives represent different approaches to this challenge – research, design, innovation, or collaboration – what they collectively demonstrate is that Australian industry is driving forward with the positive business case for sustainable packaging, and that now is the time for more Australian businesses to adopt an approach that’s good for the environment, good for business, and good for Australia.

“With the 2025 target to make all packaging 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable now in focus, industry collaboration and innovation have never been more important. Tonight’s award ceremony was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of organisations that are leading the way in making this target a reality. We look forward to continuing to work with them in close partnership, in order to share the innovation, learning, and insights required to build a circular economy here in Australia,” she said.

Keynote speaker was Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, who stayed on to present the top award of the night for Sustainable Packaging Excellence.

In congratulating the finalists and winners, Minister Evans said the achievements recognised at the event "demonstrate the strength of Australian industry’s leadership on the sustainable packaging issue".

"It was inspiring to hear more about the practical initiatives that Australian businesses are implementing across the country right now to improve their packaging recyclability; to build strong, sustainable supply chains; and, critically, to deliver the 2025 National Packaging Targets. I look forward to working closely with APCO and all of its Members in 2020 to continue to drive such meaningful and important change," Evans said.

And the winners are...

Supply chain specialist CHEP took home the coveted Sustainable Packaging Excellence award, in recognition of its dedication to collaboration. In addition to delivering a global reusable packaging model, CHEP works with hundreds of businesses to build and support sustainable supply chains.

Richard Fine receives the BioPak award from Brooke Donnelly.
Richard Fine receives the BioPak award from Brooke Donnelly.

Other award recipients included BioPak (Outstanding Achievement in Leadership), which in the last year has undertaken a number of impressive sustainability initiatives including the development of compostable packaging for single-use food service items. Also recognised was Panasonic (Outstanding Achievement in Outcomes), which has worked on a range of reductions and material efficiency initiatives including a 57 per cent reduction in overall packaging for its 4K BD Player.

This year’s event also featured two new categories. The first, High Performing New Member, went to Marechal Australia, which has seen 100 per cent of solid waste being recovered.

Also newly introduced in 2019 is the APCO Sustainability Champion Award, a category recognising individual achievement. This was awarded to Diarmaid O’Mordha, Quality and Sustainability Manager for Endeavour Drinks, in recognition of his commitment to improving packaging sustainability across the wine industry supply chain. As the lead organiser of the Wine Industry Sustainable Packaging Alliance, Diarmaid has led several projects that are driving industry uptake of the 2025 National Packaging Targets, and worked in partnership with APCO to develop the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines for the beverage industry.

Winner of the Large Retailer Sector award was Coles. Fiona Baxter, Group Manager Responsible Sourcing said: “Coles is proud to be recognised as a finalist in the APCO Awards. We have released ambitious sustainable packaging targets for our Coles Own Brand, fresh produce, and meat packaging to have 100 per cent of our packaging recyclable at home or via store drop-off by 2020, while also reducing packaging where possible and increasing the use of recycled content. We are working hard towards these targets in partnership with our suppliers. To have this ambition and work recognised is much appreciated.”

As part of the 2019 Awards, APCO facilitated a series of workshops throughout the afternoon covering the progress on the path to delivering the 2025 targets and a look at what’s next for the Australasian Recycling Label. During the day APCO also unveiled the updated Sustainable Packaging Guidelines, which are available to download on the APCO website.

The winning companies of the 2019 awards are:  
• Sustainable Packaging Excellence – CHEP Australia
• Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership – BioPak
• Outstanding Achievement in Packaging Design – Panasonic Australia
• Outstanding Achievement in Sustainable Packaging Operations – Amgen Australia
• APCO Sustainability Champion – Diarmaid O'Mordha
• High Performing New Member – Marechal Australia
• Chemicals & Agriculture Sector – LyondellBasell Australia
• Clothing, Footwear & Fashion Sector – Hugo Boss Australia
• Electronics Sector – Dell Australia
• Food & Beverage Sector – Red Rooster Foods
• Homewares Sector – LEGO Australia
• Large Retailer Sector – Coles Supermarkets Australia
• Logistics Sector – CHEP Australia
• Machinery & Hardware Sector – RYCO Group
• Packaging Manufacturer Sector – Detmold Packaging
• Personal Care Sector – ABC Tissue Products
• Pharmaceuticals Sector – Amgen Australia
• Telecommunications Sector – SingTel Optus

APCO works with government and industry to reduce the harmful impact of packaging on Australian communities by moving towards a circular economy. It is the organisation charged by government to make all packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

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