Comments posted on packagingnews.co.uk suggest that he has struck a chord. Kevin Vyse, who has made his own headlines this month, suggested that packaging’s arch-tormentor the Daily Mail should print the comments.
Neal Whipp of BPIF Cartons described the comments as “quite simply the clearest thinking about packaging in society that I have heard”.
Braungart certainly has a point. Too much public discourse on packaging is characterised by a sense that the sector needs to fight its corner against a tide of enemies.
Insofar as this concerns politics, that’s fine. When bad decisions are made about the sector by politicians or supermarkets, we have to hit back; and a wide range of industry bodies do that admirably.
But in most other circumstances there is a chasm between the tone of that discourse and the day-to-day reality in packaging manufacturers, design agencies and their clients. People who matter in the supply chain don’t hate packaging; often, they love it.
Friends of mine who work in marketing, in fact, obsess about it, and for the right reasons. Will it sell more product? Will consumers like it? Trade events in the last few weeks tell a story of an upbeat industry with upbeat customers. And companies I have visited recently, such as the export success story Payne, project a picture of a bullish and successful industry.
So the question is not how to feel better individually about what the sector does; it is how to stop the industry collectively feeling like a victim. I don’t have the answer to that; but we surely all have a part to play.
Josh Brooks is editor of Packaging News