FPA – January February 2021 - 9

Q: SHOULD CITIES BE THE BEST LEADING
STAKEHOLDERS?
JB: No, it's a systemic question, so there is no best or
worst. Everybody-every institution and level of governance-has a role to play simultaneously. It doesn't mean
that the same
effectsiswill
be achieved.
Let's look
bottom to
The Current
State
the
situation
today,
top without any judgment here. The municipal level can
with the
Future State an aspirational
act really quickly and implement projects, change logistics,
" North and
Star "
forthethe
year
change
material
flows2030
through urban planning, for
instance. What we see is that a circular economy in con* It is crete
based
on discussions with FPA
terms plays out much quicker at the city level simply
members
and
the to
because they
can.leaders
The nationalthroughout
level has the potential
make
that
relevant
for
a
whole
territory
in
one
go,
in
value chain
which case it will not be relying only upon the goodwill
Between
the to
Current
State
andof Future
of mayors
act. It could
give a sense
direction that
will
impact
the
whole
territory.
At
the
institution
level,
State are gaps that need to be addressed
if you look at groups such as the OECD [Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development] or even
bigger-the United Nations-when the UN adopted a
resolution on sustainable consumption and production
(which is SDG 12), and acknowledged that there is an
important role to play for a circular economy, it does not
give anything that is binding. It does not give a direct
order to either a government or a city. What it does is
give an unofficial mandate for those actors who felt like
there was potential in the idea but didn't really know if it
was accepted or credible. When there is an " endorsement "
from the UN, effectively it doesn't have anything binding
behind it. But I think we see a lot of players-governments, municipalities, and regions-being confirmed in
their intuition that it is a good way to go. All these levels
play out on a different timeline, but they mutually reinforce themselves. It is very useful to see what each of them
can bring, as opposed to which is the best one.

E Infrastructure & Process Model

Q: THE EFFECT OF THE CURRENT PANDEMIC IS THAT THE INDUSTRY IS NOT
PRODUCING THE SAME PRODUCTS IN
THE SAME VOLUMES. AS A RESULT,
THERE IS THE IMPRESSION THAT THERE
IS MORE PACKAGING IN THE STORES.
WILL THIS LEAD TO DELAYS IN THE
TRANSITION TO A CIRCULAR ECONOMY?
JB: Of course that can induce some delay, but the
question is where to put the available resources in a time
of crisis. The balance is stuck between short-term issues
that need to be dealt with because they are hurting the
economy, and how to project beyond that storm and what
are we looking to build because, at this stage, it is about
rebuilding something. It is difficult, but at the same time,
what we see is that there is a more central role played by
governments, and the public sector has taken center stage
due to its ability to put massive stimulus packages on the
table. It will be important for the private and public sector
dialogue to agree on a priority and to make sure that, if

there are investments to be made in terms of reindustrialization programs or transition programs, then they are
informed by the circular economy priorities. We see this
at the European level: the circular economy action plan
is precise on what steps need to be taken, what sectors
are priority sectors due to their material intensity, etc. We
could have feared that this question of circular economy
and Green Deal, in general, would completely disappear
in the face of the emergency, and the reassuring thing is
they have not. We have a commitment from leading global
businesses and governments alike to treat the recovery as
an opportunity to reset the system, as well. Now it does
not presume that it will be an overall success but, at the
very least, the sense of direction has remained.
Now let's look at it another way: what does the
pandemic actually change? Does it change the levels of
pollution that we've seen? Does it change the urgency of
dwindling natural resources? Does it change the pressure
on ecosystem services that are suffering from economic
activity? No, the context does not change. Businesses' and
governments' actions are dampened by the fact that they
have potentially fewer resources and financial terms due
to the economic downturn, but it does not shift anything
away from the focus and the fact that what needed to be
solved before the pandemic still needs to be solved. (OK, a
small drop in pollution has been very localized. According
to calculations for earth overshoot days, it has set it back
by three weeks, which is negligible, frankly.) This means
that the situation that we have on our hands is exactly the
same. The same logic as the ban applies here-does the
ban displace the needs? The pandemic does not displace
the pre-existing need.

19

The authors for the interview were Pierre Sarazin, PolyExpert
Inc., and Emma Sarazin, HEC Montreal, with the collaboration
of Nathalie Laganière, PolyExpert Inc.

Editor's note: This article was abbreviated for length.
To see the full version, please visit the sustainable
packaging section on FlexPackVOICE.com.

J a n u a r y/ F e b r u a r y 2 0 2 1

F l e x P a c k V O I C E TM

9


http://www.FlexPackVOICE.com

FPA – January February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of FPA – January February 2021

FPA – January February 2021 - Cover1
FPA – January February 2021 - Cover2
FPA – January February 2021 - 1
FPA – January February 2021 - 2
FPA – January February 2021 - 3
FPA – January February 2021 - 4
FPA – January February 2021 - 5
FPA – January February 2021 - 6
FPA – January February 2021 - 7
FPA – January February 2021 - 8
FPA – January February 2021 - 9
FPA – January February 2021 - 10
FPA – January February 2021 - 11
FPA – January February 2021 - 12
FPA – January February 2021 - 13
FPA – January February 2021 - 14
FPA – January February 2021 - 15
FPA – January February 2021 - 16
FPA – January February 2021 - 17
FPA – January February 2021 - 18
FPA – January February 2021 - 19
FPA – January February 2021 - 20
FPA – January February 2021 - 21
FPA – January February 2021 - 22
FPA – January February 2021 - 23
FPA – January February 2021 - 24
FPA – January February 2021 - 25
FPA – January February 2021 - 26
FPA – January February 2021 - 27
FPA – January February 2021 - 28
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FPA – January February 2021 - 31
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FPA – January February 2021 - Cover3
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