Can Latin America Overcome Its Sustainability Challenges in the Cleaning Products Market?

Luciana Pellegrino has been the Executive Director of the Brazilian Packaging Association for over 10 years, leading the organization’s work towards the construction of references for the development of packages in Brazil. 

Smithers: The Circular and Sharing Economy is taking off both in North America and Europe, inspired by the Ellen McArthur Foundation and is being taken on by consumer products companies and NGOs equally. How is this movement shaping up and being adopted in Brazil?
We know that packaging plays a major role in educating the consumer when it comes to sustainability, recycling practices and in the case of cleaning products, on concentrates and over dosing. 

Pellegrino:  In fact each country will have its specific challenges once the stage of its economic, social and industrial development differs from the others. At the Brazilian Packaging Association, in the past 15 years we have been working to build the references for the sustainable development of packages. Besides the promotion of events with national and international key leaders, we have launched brochures that help the industry to understand this subject and what are the global demands that they should be prepared to cope with. Recyclability has been one of the topics we have been working on, together with others such as the understanding of the hole that packaging plays in promoting more sustainable practices to consumers when using a product, or avoiding the waste of products along the supply chain, such as food. At this moment we understand the challenge and opportunity we have are to work on case studies to build references that will promote both: an holistic view on packaging efficiency and its circularity after use. That is when we will offer effective sustainability to our society. 


Smithers: What are the major challenges in Latin America when it comes to packaging sustainability? Is the infrastructure a major problem?

Pellegrino:  The first challenge comes to the better understanding of what is packaging sustainability by the industry, and also by the government and the society. It is a very broad theme and its enhancement relies not only in technology but also in people’s behaviors and infrastructure, which we know that LatinAmerican countries are behind richer economies. That means, it goes beyond production efficiency, amount of packaging per packed product, logistics efficiency, materials, and also beyond how packages  contribute to the product’s life cycle and to the performance on using the product. The challenge relies on education and on involving the society in the sustainability path, and in governmental management for implementing the infrastructure necessary.


 Smithers:  What are you looking forward to hear at Cleaning Products Latin America this June?

Pellegrino: This event will offer a great opportunity to our industry to learn about cases and references on circular economy and to discuss how to work this concept for the fmcg products, which bring a different challenge than durable products such as house appliances, electronic goods, among others.