Packaging industry gets sustainability boost with FIPS launch

Industry veterans Dr NC Saha, AK Gosh and MK Banerjee have combined efforts to establish the Foundation of Innovative Packaging and Sustainability (FIPS), a non-profit NGO which aims to translate packaging researches from a laboratory phase to the industrial scale for commercialisation.

01 Feb 2021 | By Abhishek Muralidharan

The foundation was launched through a virtual programme on 28 January 2021 that saw close to 400 participants from countries such as the UAE, USA, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh among others.

Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awardee Man Mohan Sharma was the chief guest for the event. While Dr U Venkateswarlu, former chief secretary, Government of Tripura and Rajani Ranjan Rashmi, former chief secretary, Government of Manipur, were the guest of honour.

Sharma said, “Packaging is an amalgamation of high science, technology and art. Simple innovations in packaging can make a huge difference for the consumers and many such developments will be required to achieve a circular economy. I compliment and wish FIPS all the very best for this initiative as they packaged everything in this programme right form researches to innovation to the market appeal.”

Through its activities, FIPS has set sights to increase awareness in terms of sustainability and identify and fill up the gap between the research and phase and commercial production of packages. Skill development, employment generation and entrepreneurship boosts, policy advocacies and publications will also be the organisation’s key focus areas.

Dr NC Saha, former director at the Indian Institute of Packaging, said, “The Indian packaging sector is a sunrise industry with close to 12% yearly growth. However, on the flip side, this will also lead to an increase in post-consumer packaging waste, especially in terms of plastics. Unfortunately, as the plastic waste management system has not been formulated and implemented systematically in our country, it has created environmental concerns. Thus, immediate researches on innovative biodegradable and natural solutions have become the need of the hour. We have established FIPS to address these environmental concerns.”

According to Gosh, the organisation will strive to provide technology, knowledge and human resources to promote Life cycle Analysis, develop packaging in the context of the fourth industrial revolution, stimulate resource efficiency and recyclability, Coordinate R&D programmes and ensure International cooperation.

The programme’s national board of advisors include Dr Lakshmi Raghupathy, former director, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Pradyumna Vyas, former director, National Institute of Design and Dr Anil Wali is the Managing Director at the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer, IIT Delhi. Meanwhile, its international board of advisors include Safiullah Chowdhury, Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Dharma Tilak Ratnayeke, Packaging Development Centre, Sri Lanka.

FIPS also boasts its thought leaders – Abhijit Choudhury from the USA, Tamilmanian Nagalingam from Chennai, Deepak Mehta from Vadodara, with packaging industry experts Rahul Bhargava, Shailendra Singh, Subhas Bhattacharjee and Deepak Manchanda as its chief consultants.

The organisation has already lined up training programmes and webinars beginning from February 2021.