The Elite Conference on Specialty Films and Flexible Packaging in Mumbai

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Sanjiv Mehta, Elite Conference
Sanjiv Mehta CEO and managing director of Hindustan Unilever speaking at the 8th ElitePlus Conference in Mumbai in 2019 Photo PSA

The 9th Conference on Specialty Films and Flexible Packaging will take place as an in-person event in Mumbai on the 5th and 6th of September 2022. The conference is loaded with speakers from all the major technology suppliers, global and Indian brand owners, and many of the leading Indian flexible packaging converters. There will be more than 1,100 participants at least count, and although a percentage of these are from the supplier side, from the converter side both the speakers and the participants are generally the decision-makers.

As many of our readers know, the past two years have been full of growth for the Indian and South Asian flexible packaging industry and unprecedented capacity creation of large film lines has been ordered with installations taking place each week and expected to continue into the next year. Sustainability was discussed at the last few Elite conferences before the pandemic interruption, with speakers and panels discussing the workflow and alternate materials for recyclable packaging and also the process of collection and sorting of packaging into the appropriate waste and recycling streams. Sustainability moves more to the center of the conference with more brand owners, converters, and suppliers addressing the topic based on solutions, processes and hopefully some of the initial fruits of the experience of the leading early adopters walking the talk in the past few years.

Thus with the rapid installation of new film lines on the one hand and the pronounced shift to recyclable materials and films and containers being produced, this is likely to be a conference of turning recyclability into viability. As the vibrant organizer of the event, Nidhi Verma says, “It will be about growth with sustainability!” In other words, although there is no other business case except sustainability being the essential component of all business activity, one expects this conference to show the way not just for plausible recyclable solutions but to lay down touchpoints, milestones, and easy-to-use signposts that are transparent to take advantage of the interest from consumers in this key vector of the consumer product industry.

Also, the 2025 deadline for the complete adoption and implementation of CEFLEX guidelines for packaging is quite close, and this will force exporters of packaging goods and packaging materials to comply sooner than later. In addition, the Indian government’s ban on the use of single-use plastics is in force since 1 July 2022, indicating that the government is acutely aware of its opportunity and indeed necessity to push industry and society into meeting its sustainability climate change goals.

Some of the most important sessions will be on the technology and material ingredients that will lead to recyclable films. Sessions on new polymers, structures, masterbatches, metalizing, and coatings should be marked on your programs and we would love to hear from the participants and speakers about their takeaways from the event for the October review issue of Packaging South Asia that will be distributed at K in Dusseldorf in October. They can write to me at editor@ippgroup.in.

Thus the 9th Elite conference in Mumbai becomes one of its most important as it suggests the material solutions for change in packaging and provides the spirit that comes from new ideas, consensus for common goals, and the sharing of positive intentions and experiences. This is a daunting task for any such event, but we feel that this event taking place after a pandemic-induced gap, is up to it and should be held to the high standard it has always maintained, in influencing policy and a large number of industrial participants in investing resources and creative thinking in the advance of flexible packaging to not only viability and growth but also to recyclability and sustainability.

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