3 QUESTIONS FOR… Michel Fontaine, Chairman of the National Packaging Council (CNE)
How are you approaching this new event Edition Spéciale by Luxe Pack ?
An annual trade show entirely dedicated to one unique field is an interesting initiative. As Chairman of the CNE, I can only salute the choice made to dedicate this first edition to the question of innovation in eco-design. It was clearly an evident choice. Evident because it is in tune with one of our strategic directions; since 1997, the CNE has been supporting packaging companies with their increasingly responsible and sustainable approaches.
In the luxury product packaging sector, we often talk about the difficulty in reconciling premium aesthetics (overwrapping, different decorations and attachments, etc.) and environmental challenges. What are your thoughts?
I think that is a hollow debate. The luxury industry has demonstrated its ability to be a driver for sustainable packaging. Firstly because eco-design does not exclusively mean reducing packaging; it also involves the quality of the materials used. And luxury companies are often the most apt to integrate high quality materials in their packaging. This quality gives the packaging longevity and added value that will encourage consumers to keep it, promoting re-use. This is the case in particular for gift boxes. Next, because the vocation of a luxury company is to continuously improve its next generation of products. And finally because the high-end sector has reinvented refillable products. Refilling is a major step forward for the planet. And at the same time, it generates significant loyalty for brands.
A best practice specialist in sustainable packaging, today the CNE operates as a think tank, giving companies the resources to better imagine how they design and sell their products. If you had to mention just one “green” innovation, which from the last few years do you consider to be essential?
I think it would be the integration of recycled plastics in food-grade plastics. Of course, for now that does not directly concern luxury product packaging but this technology that was quite simply unimaginable ten years ago could find a natural place on the luxury market (I’m thinking of cosmetics and make-up). In today’s plastic bashing climate, suppliers’ ability to reinvent plastic shows that when your back is against the wall, the impossible becomes possible. Creating food-grade plastics with plastics that have already been used is an essential move forward in a world where you know very well that, without being able to completely eradicate plastic, optimising its management has become a crucial challenge.