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Speaker Interview - Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Hear From Ellen MacArthur Foundations' Leela Dilkes-Hoffman

Ahead of E-PACK Europe 2020, we spoke with Leela Dilkes-Hoffman, Senior Research Analyst at Ellen MacArthur Foundation to get a sneak peek of what we can expect from her presentation.

Your keynote presentation will discuss “realising the innovation opportunity in a new plastics economy”, can you give us a sneak peek of what delegates will hear?

The challenge of how to move towards a circular economy for plastic packaging is an exciting call to arms for innovation. It presents the opportunity to rethink how we deliver products, and challenges us to move beyond just thinking about the packaging material and its recyclability to rethinking the entire concept of the packaging, the product itself, and the delivery model. This presentation will showcase innovation opportunities for e-commerce, including the redesign of packaging, products and business models.

Why is this an important topic to discuss and what effect could it have on the e-commerce industry?

The e-commerce industry is perfectly positioned to be a leader in the transition to a circular economy for plastic. It is a rapidly growing sector that already redesigns the purchasing experience to complement or replace the traditional in-store purchase. The consumer experience is different as the engagement with the packaging is partly virtual, which leads to different branding requirements.

There’s a great opportunity to innovate in this space, as companies are still exploring the best approach, and can implement new ideas quickly. Some of the product innovation trends, such as solid personal care products (shampoo bar vs liquid shampoo in a plastic bottle) could speed up the development of online subscription models. The e-commerce sector has a lot to gain from applying/adopting circular economy principles.

What are the trends and developments that will redefine the e-commerce packaging industry the next 5 years?

Reusable packaging will redefine the e-commerce packaging industry within the next five years. We will see a growth in businesses that offer reusable packaging options, including coordinating the collection, cleaning and redistribution of the reusable packaging. It will become a commonplace practice across consumer sectors, from groceries to dry goods to personal care products and even to clothing.