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7 FRESH Sustainability Takeaways

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Better Packaging. Better Life. is at the heart of everything we do at Sonoco, and because of this, we’re constantly working toward creating better sustainable packaging solutions. From responsible material sourcing to end-of-life waste management, our team is always exploring and finding new, sustainable wins for customers and communities across the globe.  

To promote and progress sustainability across the food value chain, Sonoco experts shared their insights with other academic, brand, packaging and government leaders during Clemson University’s FRESH Food, Packaging & Sustainability Summit in September. Here are some of their takeaways:

Michael Pratt, Sonoco’s Associate Manager for Sustainability in North America, liked that the agenda included sessions covering the entire food lifecycle. Providing space for meaningful dialogue across a wide range of companies, this conference explored how to responsibly deliver safe, secure and sustainable nutrition to consumers across the globe in a fast-growing industry.

“I was especially inspired by learning more about the work the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is undertaking to combat emissions in the recycling industry, including providing hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to companies of all types that will surely have a significant impact to improve the collection and management of post-consumer waste.” 

Courtney Cloninger serves as a Sonoco Account Manager for the Rigid Paper Containers group in North America. She liked the variety of industry experts and diverse perspectives on how to progress sustainability efforts, policies, access and recyclability. 

“No one is going to achieve sustainability wins by acting alone. In order to drive change, large consumer packaged goods companies and other organizations must combine their efforts, share technologies and demand more sustainable options and greater access to end-of-life options for packaging.” 

Jake Branyon serves as Sonoco’s Associate Director of Research & Development for Flexible Packaging. He appreciated the opportunity to collaborate and share best practices.  

“Sustainability still has many unknowns, but efforts like FRESH bring the industry together to highlight successes, discuss gaps and share ideas. These collaborative discussions will help us shift the unknowns to solutions in the coming years.” 

Delia Mears, a Sonoco Environmental & Sustainability Analyst for Corporate Environmental, enjoyed the sense of comradery. 

“Sonoco is not alone in our mission to develop more sustainable packaging. We have partnerships in academia, support from governing bodies and peers with similar goals. If everyone in the packaging ‘ecosystem’ works together to collaborate on innovation, we have a much better chance to not only find solutions, but also to scale them in order to reach our collective sustainability goals.” 

Seanise Haskins serves as a Sonoco Account Manager for Flexible Packaging. She liked gathering with professionals who are just as caring and compassionate about the planet as she is. From discussing sustainable farming practices to innovative packaging solutions, she appreciated the dedication to finding creative and active solutions that reduce our environmental impact. 

“Collaboration is important. We are all in this together. By working hand-in-hand with one another, we can create a more sustainable future. I am so proud to be part of a company like Sonoco, where we’re making sure we are a part of these conversations and are taking the necessary steps to help our customers and community progress towards the future.” 

Hoa Pham serves as Sonoco’s Product Development Manager for Global Technology. She appreciated seeing the shift in sustainability discussions to the source—our food supply chain and the growers. She appreciated the stimulating variety of speakers from governing officials to corporate consultants to large brand’s charitable foundation leaders.  

“The call for collaboration across the supply chain was the underlying theme. To realize solutions, all parties should address different aspects of sustainability—from energy consumption to farming materials to packaging.” 

Sara Pennington, a Sonoco Marketing Copywriter for Global Brand Strategy, enjoyed networking and making new connections within the industry. As a content marketer, she listened for common themes throughout the sessions.  

“Sustainability works best when all the players work together. Packaging providers, brands, sustainability teams, local municipalities, legislators and consumers—if this industry wants to see meaningful sustainability wins, we need to collaborate. By sharing knowledge, resources and more, we can make meaningful contributions toward responsible packaging and improve recycling education and practices.” 

Sonoco sees sustainability as a big part of everything we are and do, and you can join us to create responsible packaging that benefits both producers and consumers. To learn more, visit: