Unilever Bangladesh Limited (UBL), the country’s leading Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company, and Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA), jointly organised a national seminar titled ‘Innovation for Plastic Circularity’ recently at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden in Dhaka.
Dr. Colin Kerr, Head of Packaging Excellence and Technology, Unilever; presented his keynote presentation on ‘Innovation and Inspiration in Packaging for Holistic Plastic Circularity’, where he illustrated the innovations that Unilever has adopted in packaging globally to ensure environmentally friendly packaging.
The seminar also featured two panel discussions: the first, titled ‘Importance of Innovative Design for Plastic Circularity’ and ‘Importance of Innovation in Collection and Recycling for Plastic Circularity.
Mr. Muhammad Abdul Mannan, MP, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Planning, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, was present at the seminar as the Chief Guest.
Besides, an exhibition titled ‘Innovative Material and Packaging’, showcased the innovation in producing and recycling plastic products and packaging from local organisations.
Planning Minister Muhammad Abdul Mannan , said, "The exhibition titled 'Innovative Materials and Packaging' gave us the opportunity to see innovations in plastic packaging closely. The seminar, jointly initiated by UBL and BPGMEA is undoubtedly commendable. The government remains vigilant concerning the country’s business landscape, while our primary objective is the overall development of the nation, he added.
It is not possible to ensure a good life for the people of Bangladesh, without ensuring development by addressing issues regarding not only plastic pollution, but all sorts of pollution, the minister said.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury, said, "Our previous model of using natural resources was linear. A resource was taken from the environment, used and finally thrown back into the environment. However, as the awareness on the importance of proper waste management has increased, there is a need for the circular model. Earlier, we were an export-oriented nation. But by the day, we are becoming a consumer nation. As a result, when we become a trillion-dollar economy 12 to 13 years from now, the level of environmental pollution, especially plastic pollution, will increase manifold.
Dr. Colin Kerr, Global Head of Packaging Excellence and Technology, Unilever, said, "Unilever is globally implementing its Golden Packaging Rule and digital models for innovative plastic packaging. Both rigid packaging and flexible packaging play an important role in providing the product to consumers. But they also leave a plastic footprint which Unilever is committed to reduce through time-bound actions. Our holistic aim to achieve ‘less, better and no plastic’ framework is reflected in our commitment to innovate plastic packaging designs. Unilever Bangladesh has already successfully implemented new approaches to reduce plastic packaging, Dr. Colin said.
Zaved Akhtar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of Unilever Bangladesh, said, “We all have a responsibility towards the planet. As part of Unilever’s global push for innovation in plastic packaging and a waste-free planet, Unilever Bangladesh is actively adopting innovations in how our products are packaged. Through innovative packaging and effective waste management implementation, UBL aims to optimise plastic’s many benefits.”
There is still a lot to do to ensure plastic circularity, and we cannot do it alone. The government and businesses need to work collaboratively to achieve Bangladesh’s Vision 2041, he added.
Amin Helaly, Vice-president, FBCCI, said, “We need to work together for the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s vision for Bangladesh by 2041. We need to adopt a 10-year plan regarding a circular economy. Moreover, future generations should be educated about plastic waste management. If the future Bangladesh wants a sustainable economy, the education system should be changed, Amin Helaly said.
Shamim Ahmed, President, BPGMEA, said, the need for plastics has increased exponentially to maintain product quality, but proper waste management is also essential.
He also requested the ministries concerned and the Government to ensure adequate support for the industry.
“We don't want our environment to be degraded by plastic or our future generations to be harmed by plastic. Therefore, emphasis on infrastructural investment and strategic solutions is very important. I am especially grateful to Unilever Bangladesh for their support that is helping all of us achieve a circular economy.”