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Exclusive Interview with Henkel

Ahead of next month's Sustainability in Packaging Asia 2022, we spoke to Alexander Bockisch, Global Head of Market Strategy – Flexible Packaging at Henkel, who will be presenting as part of Sustainable Packaging Materials session on day one of the conference.

Q. You are going to be delivering a presentation on Sustainable packaging materials – mono material, why do you think this is an important topic now?

Recyclability of packaging has been embedded in the 2025 targets of most brands. Therefore, more mono-material packaging designs will be introduced to the market in near future. Those will require adhesives & coatings that are compatible with recycling or provide barrier enhancing properties. This applies to both film structures as well as the continuous functionalization of paper through new coating technologies. From our point of view, this also requires a transformation from being a material producer to becoming a design partner.

Q. What do you think will be the biggest challenges to packaging sustainability in the next 12-24 months? How is your company/organization dealing with this challenge?

One of the biggest challenges continues to be related to the development of the respective infrastructure, including collection, sorting & recycling. Henkel supports through the active participation in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, CEFLEX and other associations or via our strategic investment into Saperatec, a German start-up with know-how in debonding flexible laminates.

Q. What does your company/organization hope to achieve over the next 5 years with regards to the future of packaging industry?

At Henkel, we continue to focus our activities on lowering carbon emissions, enabling better circularity through externally recognized solutions and enhancing safety for consumers. We are also enhancing our portfolio of products that are compatible with recycling (RE Range) and reduce the carbon footprint (ECO Range).

Q. As consumers and end-users continue to push for more sustainable/greener solutions, what do you think is the biggest concern regarding packaging?

One of the concerns is embedded in the question, because potentially ‘greener solutions’ cannot always be considered more sustainable. One of my concerns is related to not only identifying the best end-of-life option, but the best alternative from a carbon footprint perspective. That’s why we will deliver 100% end-to-end transparency on the sustainability of all our products according to leading standards.

Q. What do you think will be some of the most interesting advancements in materials or packaging types in the near future?

I am curious about the development of packaging components from renewable sources and as of when EPR schemes are going to have a significant impact on the choice of packaging components.

Q. What sort of partnerships and collaborations do you think will be necessary to drive the industry forward on sustainability?

At Henkel, we believe in collaboration across the value chain. Today, we are already involved in different projects with partners who make resins, films, inks and machinery. Throughout the second half of this year, some of those initiatives will also be made public.

Q. Why do you feel it’s important for companies to attend the Sustainability in Packaging Asia? 

Asia is a key market for the packaging industry and Sustainability in Asia is an excellent forum to engage with other industry partners about the latest trends & challenges.

Q. What are you most looking forward to about attending the Sustainability in Packaging Asia 2022 conference?

I am most looking forward to joining the event in Singapore in person.