PepsiCo expert on how FMCG brands can create a circular economy for flexibles

In early March, some of the biggest companies in the FMCG space committed to increasing investments in the creation of a circular economy for flexible plastics. Gloria Gabellini, director of packaging policy at PepsiCo, tells us more about how her organisation will be looking to put these commitments into practice.

For the benefit of readers who might have missed this news when it was first announced, could you introduce the initiative?

PepsiCo, alongside five peer companies, is pledging to increase investment and support a series of public policy interventions to accelerate the transition toward a circular economy for flexible packaging across Europe. It will be built on the principles of resource ‎efficiency, prevention of waste and pollution, and lowering the overall environmental impact of the packaging.

Our companies are already reviewing packaging designs to cut unnecessary materials, boost recyclability and increase the use of recycled content. To ensure flexible packaging is kept within the economy, we will need improvements to the waste management infrastructure, which must be supported by the right policy instruments.

Crisp packets in factory

This is why, while we’re working on innovative packaging designs and solutions, we want to collaborate with partners and governmental bodies to make changes happen quickly.

The scale and magnitude of the transition requires action from companies, policymakers, experts, academics, and societal organisations. The initiative wishes to step up collaboration across the packaging value chain, with EPR-schemes and with EU and local governments, to support the implementation of these changes rapidly.

Further Questions include:

  • In the context of PepsiCo’s wider goals, how will the results of this new pledge work in relation to the company’s existing sustainability pledges and projects?
  • This pledge was announced just one day prior to the announcement of a UN resolution that aims to end plastic pollution and create a legally binding agreement on plastic waste. I wonder how you’d reflect on the key action points made in the flexibles pledge, in light of the announcement from UNEA?
  • Participants have pledged “substantial investments” towards the realisation of fully circular flexible packaging. I wonder if you can break down some of your key areas of interest/potential investment in this regard?