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What are the most significant business management issues around plastics?

Last year we held a conference called “How business can tackle plastic pollution”. It was very popular, in the end. Some attendees objected to the title, which was deliberately provocative. I had to point out to them, that when we originally launched the event, it was called “Why plastics are essential, and how to make them sustainable” and no-one signed up. Once we made it edgy, they did.

In the end it was a packed audience of brands all trying to work out how to respond to stakeholder and media fuelled demands on one side, to boards and investors on the other.

We’re putting together the 2019 version of the conference. And I’d really like to know what readers think of these below, as a list of key issues that have come up in our research.

What would you add to this list? Or take out…Thanks in advance for any thoughts. I am at for responses. (replying to the blog email may not work alas)

Here’s the list of issues we’ve come up with, so far:

The five year plastic plan: What’s expected from business?
Making plastic valuable: Government’s role in changing the throw away culture
Circular economy: Fundamental steps we need to take to reach a closed loop industry
Collaboration: Case studies of partnerships that make a difference, and could be scaled

Consumer expectations vs consumer reactions to sustainable plastic alternatives
Engaging marketing: How to use your marketing teams to change consumer behaviour around plastic
How can brands and activists better partner to educate consumers around plastic

Reduce, reuse, recycle:
Product design: How to increase the amount of recycled plastic in your products
How is the global recycling infrastructure changing and what is the end goal?
How to simplify labels and packaging to make recycling second nature for consumers

New materials and innovations:
Funding is fundamental: Who pays for the R&D into more sustainable plastics?
The lifecycle of bioplastics
Creating new materials from heavy industry emissions

Market dynamics: ensuring ideal price margins and profits are achievable with alternative materials
Investor criteria: What do investors want to see from your plastic policies?
New plastic practices: successful pilots
Extended producer responsibility, how far will it go?
The future of the retail environment, what will it look like?

Look forward to your thoughts and ideas. Thanks in advance for taking a minute to consider.