United NationsDépartement des Affaires Économiques et Sociales Développement Durable

The Future Of Positive Packaging

SoScience (
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    Description
    Intro

    In 2019, social enterprise SoScience, expert in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), partnered with water brand Perrier (Nestlé Waters) to launch The Future Of Positive Packaging, an open innovation program aiming at creating multi-stakeholder research and innovation collaborations around packaging. The Future Of is a framework designed for companies, research institutes or public agencies willing to orient their core activities and resources towards the SDGs’ achievement. The Future Of Positive Packaging enabled 41 experts (social entrepreneurs, researchers, companies) to meet and co-build solutions with environmental and social positive impact.

    Description

    The objective is to generate and launch multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources including stakeholders from both developed and developing countries (SDG 17.16), public and private sectors, and civil society (SDG 17.17) to address societal challenges linked to packaging (SDG 12.5, SDG 14.1, SDG 15.5). The projects selected integrate environmental, social, economic KPIs to ensure positive environmental and social impact delivery as well as business viability. Ultimately, the objective is to accelerate innovation and change in the whole beverage industry (SDG 12.6), no longer considering innovation as a competition field but as a lever for the industry to transform towards sustainability.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    The Future Of framework goes beyond the current open innovation practices implemented by companies, e.g. financial support/prize, start-up buyouts. With the support of a third-party facilitator, it has been designed to build close and long-term partnerships. Indeed, while all stakeholders may agree to implement sustainable solutions, many challenges can arise in the implementation, because they do not pursue the same interests and are not subject to the same regulatory and financial constraints. It requires time, adaptation and trust, it is not sufficient to only put stakeholders in touch.

    Implementation methodologies

    The Future Of Positive Packaging was a 11-month program that involved several steps: - Definition of the challenge to address and the scope with the partner organization - International call for applications in our scientific and social entrepreneurship networks and targeted sourcing (350+ experts) leading to 89 applications from all over the world from 30 different countries - Screening of applications & selection of 33 participants from 13 countries - Design, organization and animation of one-day meeting with 41 experts (33 selected experts + 8 experts of our partner) in Paris, France to spur collaborations - Selection & launch of 3 collaborations with high potential of impact. Our criteria of selection were: the potential environmental and social impact of the project, the solution’s scope of application (application beyond the beverage industry), the implementation effort and the need for support. - 6-months follow-up (logistics, business model, expertise, legal) with definition of roadmaps and social, environmental, economic KPIs for the 3 selected projects - Impact measurement of the program & the collaborations In line with the essence of The Future Of programs, The Future Of Positive Packaging involved many stakeholders all along its implementation: - We made sure to involve different type of profils and expertise from the partner organization (Marketing, R&D, Innovation, CSR, Communication, Purchase, Regulatory) at each workshops of the program - SoScience also teamed up with another social enterprise (makesense) to complete project monitoring during the 6-months follow-up phase Budget (covered by the partner organization) - Budget envelope for the implementation of the program - Technical, operational and financial support, with a minimum of €100.000 per project up to 1 million euros in total.

    Results

    During the meeting day of the program, 88% of attendees expressed the will to collaborate with other attendees leading to 89 ideas of collaborative projects. 15 collaborative projects were effectively formalized among which 3 projects have been selected, addressing different aspects of the packaging challenge, from new materials to the end-of-life: - Biotic: a bio-based and biodegradable plastic, produced in Africa from agricultural waste while creating well-paying jobs for women locally - Flexikeg x Perrier: delivering water and other beverages in a re-usable flexible keg to reduce plastic waste and carbon emission - Plastiskul: micro factories to valorize plastic waste in developing countries, with a strong social impact, including a training program for local entrepreneurs Other similar programs were performed by SoScience with private companies, but this is the first time such a big player took the risk to engage in such a radical collaborative process.

    Factors and Constraints

    ENABLING FACTORS - Diversity of experts in terms of profile, geographical distribution and expertise - Our expertise and guidance as a third-party facilitator - Our open innovation methodology and tools - Technical, operational and financial support CONSTRAINTS - Organizational difficulties linked to the international profile of the event - Geographic distance: need to develop an adapted framework for project management including stakeholders from all over the world - Different temporalities, regulatory/financial constraints among stakeholders: need to unlock any potential blocage to ensure that collaborations continue and deliver impact at the end

    Sustainability and replicability

    The Future Of Positive Packaging is the 6th edition of The Future Of programs. This open innovation framework can be indeed replicated to any societal issues. We have been running 9 editions so far with an average of 2 programs per year. To expand this open innovation approach and methodology in order to benefit as many stakeholders as possible, we developed an Ambassador program, allowing support organizations (social incubators or accelerators, support networks…) to implement their own The Future Of program. Each Ambassador benefits from a 3-day training run by SoScience in order to master the methodology of the program, learn from best practices from previous The Future Of editions, adapt the methodology to their specific context and needs; as well as from a toolkit to be able to implement their own program (guidelines, timeline, access to our networks, tools for project management). We also provide a remote support during the implementation of their program to help them at each step.

    COVID-19 Impact

    As COVID-19 has slowed down the operational implementation of the follow-up phase, it had to be adapted in terms of project management to ensure the collaborative projects to continue. We also had to rethink our The Future Of Programs since the meeting days, which is the core of these programs, are impossible to perform physically in this context. Hence we transform this physical event into an online one, adapting an existing interactive online tool to our program and methodology, training our attendees before the meeting. We tested it on our latest program on Urban Agriculture: we managed to gather 38 experts to build collaborations on this topic efficiently.

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    Timeline
    01 February 2019 (start date)
    01 June 2021 (date of completion)
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