(01/21/2024 / sbr)

4evergreen announces new Chair and Co-Chair

4evergreen, Europe’s value chain alliance of over 110 members building a toolbox to propel fibre-based packaging towards a 90% recycling rate by 2030, appoints a new Chair and Co-Chair to lead the alliance. Chair Sarah Price, Director of Sustainability at Sappi and Co-Chair Andreas Walser, Managing Director at Hamburger Recycling , Member of Prinzhorn Group, will help drive the alliance’s strategy towards perfecting fibre-based packaging circularity from the design and manufacture phase to the collection, sorting and recycling of packaging materials.

The coming years will focus on maximising uptake of 4evergreen’s industry toolbox and continuing to provide a unique forum where all value chain stakeholders - from forest owners to producers, designers, brand owners and recyclers – can share good practices and innovate together to address circularity challenges in the best way possible.

Sarah Price has been actively involved in 4evergreen’s mission since the early days of the alliance and has been leading the Strategic Work of the alliance in 2023 as Co-Chair. She was unanimously supported to take over the reins from Hans Wortman, who will retire following an illustrious three-decade career in fibre-based packaging.

Andreas Walser comes from Prinzhorn Group, bringing unique and valuable experience of innovations in recycling and expressing that all fibre-based packaging, when properly collected and sorted, can be recycled.

Commenting on her appointment, Sarah Price said: “After an exciting year as Co-Chair, it is a great honour to continue the adventure with the 4evergreen alliance as Chair. We have made great progress in finalising our toolbox for fibre packaging circularity. In 2024, we want to ensure that we continue to perfect these tools and make them known and available to as many packaging stakeholders as possible.”

On taking up his new role, Andreas Walser said: “I am eager to start as Co-Chair of the 4evergreen alliance. These will be pivotal years for the European fibre packaging sector, with major new European policy making its way into national law. With our value chain approach, the 4evergreen alliance can ensure that the fibre-based industry remains the sustainable choice as these changes come into effect.”

Ensuring 2024's key priorities through a newly elected Steering Group

In addition to the new Chairs, 4evergreen has also elected a new Steering Group for 2024 to ensure that the alliance’s overall strategy is diligently followed. The new and re-elected members of this group reflect the expertise of the different segments within the value chain:

  • Technology Providers: Thierry Robert (Bobst);
  • Pulp producers, Paper & Board manufacturers and Recyclers segment: John Melia (DS Smith), Maija Aho (Stora Enso), Markku Leskelä (Metsä Group), Marc Van der Velden (Smurfit Kappa), and Natasha Chorlton (Ahlstrom);
  • Brand owners & Retailers segment: Jürgen Dornheim (Procter & Gamble), David Guerin (L’Oréal), Rob Hoitink (Nestlé), and Anthony Johnson (Unilever);
  • Non-fibre Material Suppliers segment: Bernhard Kainz (Dow), Daniel Drochner (Siegwerk), and Thomas Schiele (BASF);
  • Converters & Packaging Manufacturers segment: Andreas Helbig (SEDA), Heike Schiffler (Tetra Pak), and Mike Turner (Graphic Packaging International).

4evergreen: continuing the journey to fibre-based circularity

During the annual members’ meeting in Brussels, all members agreed to extend the lifetime of the alliance until the end of 2026.

The new appointments ensure 4evergreen maintains a strong position for the coming months and years, which will focus on four key missions:

  • That the fibre-based industry recognises and uses 4evergreen’s recyclability evaluation protocol and its circularity by design guidelines;
  • That separate collection streams are available for all fibre-based packaging types, including those used in household, out-of-home and on-the-go consumption;
  • That all paper for recycling is sorted according to the paper and board categories specified in the EN643 standard;
  • That 100% of collected fibre-based packaging is recycled.

The 4evergreen toolbox: the story so far

The alliance is developing a toolbox of guidelines and protocols to equip industry to meet the 90% recycling target:

  • the Recyclability Evaluation Protocol – part one for standard mills that provides a harmonised method to evaluate individual fibre-based packaging products and score their suitability for recycling in standard mills. Parts 2 and 3 for Specialised and De-inking mills are underway.
  • The Circularity by Design Guideline – version two that offers recommendations to designers and manufacturers to evaluate the compatibility of materials and components with standard and specialised recycling processes; particularly, for the recycling of used beverage cartons (UBC) and packaging of similar composition.
  • the Guidance on the Improved Collection and Sorting for Recycling - recently updated with the latest industry findings and offering an overview of existing systems and practical recommendations for enhancing the collection and sorting of different types of fibre-based packaging.

The alliance is working to extend these tools over all the categories of fibre-based packaging to ensure that these valuable raw materials will be kept in the production loop as long as possible.