Feliks Bezati, Global Sustainable Packaging Manager at Mars was nominated as representative of the ‘Brand Owners and Retailers’ segment of the value chain within CEFLEX and will take a seat on the CEFLEX Board and Steering Committee. He takes over from Sokhna Gueye, Plastics Sustainability Manager, Nestlé.

With more than 160 stakeholders, CEFLEX invites them to identify and participate in one of five relevant value chain groups, reflecting the role they play and representing their interests. Each of these five value chain groupings is represented by an elected member on the CEFLEX Steering Committee for a period of two years.

“The imperative for all flexible packaging to be circular and the need for rigorous technical solutions, underpinned by a sustainable environmental and economic business case, has seen CEFLEX grow its membership significantly,” remarks project coordinator, Graham Houlder.“ A strong governance and project management in place since our conception has been instrumental to this success, and we have been fortunate to have the leadership and guidance of a balanced and representative steering committee.”

Much progress has been made with Sokhna Gueye as part of the leadership team, including establishing a common vision and five-step roadmap for achieving a circular economy for flexible packaging. This also includes a significant push towards mono-material packaging, aligned with CEFLEX guidelines, for which the brand owners and retailers have been key drivers. Feliks Bezati’s nomination to the steering committee aims to continue and accelerate the initiative’s deliverables.

“Several major challenges lie ahead, including specifying and speed up the required seven-fold increase in collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure for flexible packaging across Europe, as well as developing sustainable markets and applications for the recycled materials. In addition to representing and coordinating input from his peers, Feliks brings with him insights from Mars and a PhD. in material sciences and recycling of plastics. These will be considerable assets in helping us meet those challenges,” says Houlder.

“We all need to be part of the journey towards a circular economy and CEFLEX is an essential platform to make it happen,” said Bezati. “Flexible packaging has plenty of positive attributes. It is very light and resource efficient and it keeps the food fresh and protected at a rather low carbon footprint and cost. The initiative is an important forum to ensure that flexible packaging is recognised as an environmentally responsible and relevant format for the future. For that, we need to design and recycle it properly.”

“Significant progress is being made in terms of design. For example, many of the brand owners in CEFLEX report that more than 90% of their flexible packaging portfolio consists of mono-material. This is certainly a positive development, and the ‘Designing for a Circular Economy’ guidelines will further help everyone to innovate in this direction. I am confident that by working together as a value chain we can tackle our challenges in collection, sorting and recycling, and return these valuable materials back to the economy,” he says. “Flexible packaging plays an important role in our daily lives, let’s ensure the systems are in place to provide full circularity.”