Coca-Cola leads industry collaboration for sustainable packaging

Posted by Editorial on 28th January 2009

Coca-Cola will provide US$400,000 to MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to help establish a new Center for Packaging Innovation and Sustainability, designed to allow for food and beverage industry collaboration in the quest toward improved packaging sustainability.

The planned facility will serve as a think tank for packaging innovation and sustainability and a research and education hub to measure and reduce packaging’s environmental impact.

“The Coca-Cola Company is honoured to collaborate with Michigan State University in its quest to bring corporate, academic and packaging professionals together to foster new ideas in sustainable packaging,” said Ingrid Saunders Jones, senior vice president of global community connections for The Coca-Cola Company. “Our company has set ambitious environmental goals to not only deliver quality products, but to also have minimal impact on the environment. Research and work generated through this collaboration with MSU will assist us in reaching our goals.”

The centre will “provide a platform for both collaborative, non-proprietary research and proprietary work conducted by industry partners, both in partnership with and independent of MSU researchers, to develop innovative packaging solutions that reduce production costs and improve sustainability.”

“It will serve as a bridge between corporate and packaging industry professionals and university scientists in engineering, packaging, business, the environment and other areas,” said Satish Udpa, Dean of the MSU College of Engineering. “The center will be a clearinghouse that disseminates information and encourages action that speeds the adoption and implementation of sustainable practices.”

“By bringing together university and industry resources in supply chain, packaging and engineering, this centre will be able to effectively address issues of sustainability, discover environmentally and economically operative solutions and consider new ways to manage environmental impact throughout the value chain,” added Elvin Lashbrooke, interim Dean of the Eli Broad College of Business.

The center will include state-of-the-art technology for bench research and testing of packaging materials and will offer academic, outreach and continuing education programs. It is anticipated to eventually expand its reach internationally through research, development, education and training facilities in Dubai and Shanghai.

“Packaging is ubiquitous throughout the food system and a critical component to the quality, safety and sustainability of the products we buy and eat,” said Jeffrey Armstrong, Dean of the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Coca-Cola’s funding commitment to establish the Center for Packaging Innovation and Sustainability will move us toward an unprecedented level of industry collaboration that will have global implications for improving packaging performance and sustainability.”