Plastics & Circularity: ‘Future of Packaging’ in The Times

New writing…. Pleased to say I have had another couple of articles published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Packaging.

Ocean plastic is not a new problem, however it took David Attenborough and Blue Planet II to turn the tide of public opinion. My opening article investigates how prime-time endorsement of the core sustainability message proved a public gamechanger, but there is still a long way to go before we reach peak plastic in our waste streams. From high-street retail and global brands, to entrepreneurial start-ups and consumer activism, I am sharing smart insights of key influencers and seeking out sustainable solutions to the problems of a packaging sector under intense pressure. Issues are complex and commercial realities a challenge, but the question remains:

‘What next after Blue Planet?’

The first step towards fixing something is often to admit it is actually broken. Well, the plastics system is broken. So, since the problem is big, the fix must be even bigger, right? My second piece for the report explores how society must move away from the ‘take, make, dispose’ mindset that has long-informed linear consumption patterns and business models, towards a win-win scenario that simultaneously keeps plastics in the economy, but out of the environment. This discussion of proposals and prospects for the New Plastics Economy and UK Plastics Pact includes interviews with project leads at both the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WRAP UK:

‘UK Plastics Pact is central to forming a circular economy’

The full 24-page Future of Packaging report is available to view/download here.

Susty Procurement: From Responsible Sourcing to… Star Wars

New writing... Pleased to say I have another piece published in The Times newspaper today, as part of a special report on Future-Proofing Procurement, by Raconteur. It looks at how the business supply chain is increasingly viewed as a value chain, with shared value being as much environmental and social, as it is economic:

‘5 ways to share supply chain value with people and the planet’.

The full 16-page  report is available to view/download here.

Packaging: 5-a-Day Rant

So… Despite the fact my grapefruit already comes in a biodegradable protective skin all of its own, the supermarket has individually wrapped it in straight-to-landfill plastic for home delivery, complete with unwelcome news that the food has been treated with imzalil/thiabendazole/2-phenylphenol pyrimethanil E202 (potassium sorbate) and wax, as well as a warning that the bag should be kept away from babies and small children to avoid suffocation.

My healthy breakfast suddenly seems a lot less sustainable (never mind the fact it has come all the way from South Africa) – not perhaps my best work as an eco consumer?!

Regeneration, Plastic and Fish in The Sunday Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had a further trio of pieces published in The Sunday Times newspaper this week, as part of a special Raconteur report on Project Management.

The first is a story of simple truths applied at scale and looks at how collaboration  is critical to the success of a multi-stakeholder regeneration scheme such as Nine Elms. This mega-project on London’s South Bank is transforming a wasteland of vacant industrial sheds, derelict warehouses and a long-defunct power station, into the home of Apple in the UK, the new US embassy and a ‘mini-Manhattan’ of des-res skyscrapers:

‘Nine Elms: how to deliver a mega-project’.

My second piece explores the innovative feat of social entrepreneurship that is The Plastic Bank, tackling environmental pollution caused by ocean plastic and simultaneously helping alleviate poverty in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the world. As the name suggests the ‘bank’ is leveraging the benefits of blockchain digital currency to turn plastic waste into profit for people in need, not through charity, but opportunity:

‘Fighting poverty with plastic’.

The third article also investigates issues at sea, but this time looking at the illegal trawler operations exacerbating the problem of overfishing. Launched by none other than Hollywood star and committed eco-activist Leo DiCaprio, Global Fishing Watch uses the Google digital platform to map incidences of criminal activity. It also enlists the power of the people to help crowdsource data – we are now eco-crime-fighting citizen gamekeepers:

‘All eyes on the sea to net illegal trawler activity’.

The full 16-page Project Management report is available to view/download here.