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Sustainable Packaging Industry Group Appoints Inaugural CEO

Rob Langford.

Rob Langford, who served as The Packaging Forum’s Independent Chair prior to his new appointment, took the reins as its first chief executive on 1 October 2020.

Rob says he’s looking forward to beginning his new role, which he believes will flow seamlessly from that of Independent Chair. “This is an exciting time for the future of sustainable packaging in New Zealand, one in which industry has the responsibility to lead and show the way.”

Adele Rose, who has been acting as the Forum’s interim General Manager, says Rob’s appointment comes at a time when there is ever-increasing pressure across society for businesses to become more sustainable. The Forum researches, creates and advocates for evidence-based sustainable packaging solutions.

“In the past few years the pace of change and level of engagement with Government, communities and other stakeholders has increased, making a full-time leadership role essential,” Adele says. “The Packaging Forum represents the depth and breadth of the industry, and its members are dedicated to finding sustainable solutions for their packaging.”

Rob brings decades of experience to the new role, including technical expertise and design development skills to solve complex issues, Adele says. He leads a team which already delivers two Government-accredited product stewardship schemes – the Glass Packaging Forum and Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme.

“The Forum also has a number of technical advisory groups working on end-of-life and circular economy solutions for various types of packaging, and labelling,” she says. “The appointment of Rob as our CEO will bring cohesion to all of our activities, some of which rely extensively on members who generously volunteer their time and expertise.”

Recent Government announcements declaring single-use plastic packaging a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008, and a proposed phase-out of hard-to-recycle plastics and some single-use plastic items, have helped accelerate work being done by the Forum.

“We certainly support these moves by Government as they align with our members’ commitment to better environmental outcomes for their packaging. However, it’s important for industry to have a voice in the decision-making process so its collective experience, know-how and expertise can help bring about the best possible outcomes.”

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