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Collaboration and Other Kumbaya Opportunities

A few years ago, FPI aggressively set out to find collaboration opportunities with other organizations so that we could work together on many of the toughest challenges facing our industry. After all, we’re a small association advocating for the interests of a small part of a much larger packaging industry. If our current work load, meeting and travel schedule and media inquiries are any indication, we have successfully inserted ourselves into many of the pertinent discussions, organizations and coalitions potentially impacting our industry.


So, who are these groups and what are we doing with them? Here’s a quick run down…


·        Our long-standing relationships with the various material-focused groups – including American Chemistry Council and its Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group, American Forest and Paper Association, the Society of the Plastics Industry and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association – continues to be strong and deepen. While most of our work with these folks involves public affairs activities, there’s a growing tie-in with packaging recovery initiatives.


·        And speaking of recovery, the work of FPI’s Paper Recovery Alliance and Plastics Recovery Group have provided opportunities with other recovery-focused groups, like the Carton Council,  Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, Elemental Impact, Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery, National Association for PET Container Resources and the U.S. Composting Council. In some cases, we’re partnering with these groups on specific projects – like a one of a kind material recovery facility (MRF) study, scientific trials or the SERDC 120 initiative to increase recycling in the southeast part of the U.S. – and in other cases it’s just general outreach to make sure our industry’s interests are represented, as well as identify ways we might collaborate (and make sure we’re not duplicating efforts).


·        There is certainly strength in numbers, and that’s often the case when it comes to legislative and regulatory challenges. FPI has been an active participant in public affairs-focused groups like the Food Packaging Coalition and Product Management Alliance over the last few years and was recently invited to participate in a group working on foodservice packaging-specific initiatives in California.


·        Then there are the packaging-focused groups we participate in or partner with.  These include AMERIPEN (FPI's been a member of their invitation-only "Technical Advisory Group" since 2011), Biodegradable Products Institute and GreenBlue's Sustainable Packaging Coalition, with whom we continue to identify ways to collaborate for the benefit of both memberships.  Just last week FPI attended a meeting called by SPC and attended by representatives from many of the organizations listed above to discuss improving recovery access data for all packaging.


·        When it comes to reducing litter and marine debris – another challenge impacting the entire packaging industry – FPI has been in talks with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (on broader packaging-related projects, again with many of the same groups named above also involved) and with Keep America Beautiful, with whom we’d like to work on some foodservice packaging-specific litter reduction initiatives.


·        We can’t forget one of our closest allies, especially since their members are often our members’ customers:  the National Restaurant Association.  We work often with them, typically on public affairs and recovery initiatives, and we have become a go-to source for them on packaging (as we should be!)  In the future, we hope to have a similar relationship with the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. 


·        And, of course there are our international friends, like Pack2Go Europe in Brussels and the Foodservice Packaging Association in the UK. Given how global our industry truly is, it’s helpful to have allies across the pond.


From a broader standpoint, our outreach to other groups is helping FPI to achieve its vision laid out in our strategic plan: “FPI will be recognized as the leading authority on foodservice packaging in North America by the industry and its value chain partners, stakeholders and others.” We’re excited to see this vision coming true, and look forward to more collaboration opportunities in the future.

Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 2/25/2014 9:42:58 AM