We are off to SPC Impact 2024

Sophie Walker writes about her upcoming trip with Tom Passmore to attend SPC Impact 2024 in New Orleans…


April sees Tom and I heading to New Orleans for one of the packaging sector’s annual highlights – SPC Impact. This year’s theme is Less Carbon Better Packaging and the agenda is absolutely jam-packed with high-quality speakers covering a huge array of topics from Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and circularity, to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and recycling at Mardi Gras. The team at SPC are not afraid to give stage time to big issues which often don’t get the chance at industry conferences – in particular this year there are sessions on equity, diversity and inclusion, a just transition and mental health. It’s so important to make space for these conversations and take this holistic approach since so many of the challenges we face today are interconnected, intersectional and interrelated – and I really applaud the SPC team for being leaders in this way.

I will be taking to the main stage on Wednesday 3rd April to share the Open 3P journey and how it is helping the packaging ecosystem unleash the power of their packaging data. Across the world governments are implementing a variety of extended producer responsibility (EPR) measures to address the environmental impact of packaging. This upheaval is a challenge for businesses and regulators alike, but regulatory reform also offers a huge opportunity for change, not just directly in response to the regulations but also because the forced change helps to overcome the inertia of business as usual. These changes also highlight the importance of robust data architecture and systems in streamlining reporting and supporting data-driven decisions in packaging and sustainability strategies. Data standards are a crucial enabler of a more streamlined and effective data environment. I will be talking about how Open 3P can facilitate the move to a circular economy for data as well as a more circular economy for the packaging and how by collaborating with over 200 stakeholders over the past 3 years the Open 3P standard has been developed to balance the needs of all actors across the packaging ecosystem. I’ll also touch on our recently released Charter and how a growing number of businesses are signing up (look out for our announcement in the coming weeks), providing the wider sector with the confidence that Open 3P is becoming an industry standard and underpinning the necessary system changes required by the ever-increasing reporting requirements.

For attendees keen to get stuck into the details we’ll be holding an interactive lab on the Thursday morning. Tom and I will be giving an overview of the Open 3P standard and the GING data sharing platform and then leading an interactive session that will illustrate how a data standard really unlocks the potential for a circular economy for packaging data. Data standards can be quite abstract and technical so we’ve devised an analogue activity to mimic the functionality of the standard and how the same data can be used for a multitude of purposes. It promises to be quite different and like a lot of what Open Data Manchester do, it should be fun!

Speaking of fun, we can’t wait to get a chance to explore New Orleans. This city has been high on my wish list for a very long time and it is an absolute privilege to get to visit for work. We’re keen to connect with anyone attending SPC Impact and we’ll be spending the week of the 8th April Stateside too, so for anyone based in North America who would like to learn more about how Open 3P can help you with your packaging data challenges then we’re keen to take advantage of the alignment in time zones so please get in touch.