World Packaging Organization (WPO) president Professor Pierre Pienaar sees that the “damaged infrastructure and the availability of fuels will have and will continue to have major long lasting effects on the global economy with commodity prices rising and continue to rise as long as this war continues and embargoes are placed on Russian oil supply”.
Prices of practically all soft commodities in agricultural, livestock and meat to hard commodities like energy and metal products have climbed up and compromised the supply and demand balance, its corresponding packaging to logistics correlation and as Pienaar adds, “further impacting on distribution, the market wants and needs and of course sustainability”.
WPO is a global federation of 62 member countries predominantly belonging to national packaging institutes, associations and regional packaging federations. Its track record of 52 years has seen the progress of its work programs in the development of packaging and logistics technologies, science, access and engineering as well as in the development of international trade.
WPO’s 2017 strategy report’s concerns center on a “significant percentage of food never meeting its purpose that of nourishing the hungry”. Food is increasingly becoming inaccessible to the marginalized with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) reporting that the Food Price Index (FPI) already hit a record high in February, averaging 140.7 points last month – nearly 4% higher than January.
Two-termer President of the Packaging Institute of the Philippines (PIP), Stefano Paolo Buñag, echoed this concern, stressing that global economic disruptions will continue to make it difficult to meet the UN 2030 forecast of the world needing 50% more food.
Pienaar’s outlook on this issue is that “food requirement is directly proportional to need, and the need is equal to the global population and as population is increasing, the overall cost of
living is increasing too at a rate directly proportional to pandemics, wars, adversities in countries and regions across the globe”.
“The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) of ASEAN’s focus is aligned with that of WPO on the crucial aspect of population as a development factor, this time, covering a market of around 2.2 billion people, which is about 30 percent of the world’s population and roughly producing US$26.2 trillion worth of global output”, added Buñag.
As the largest free trade bloc in the world, RCEP will account for the integration of a regional supply chain and the harmonizing of the utilization of modern technology, packaging, processing and logistics for more effective and efficient global trade.
Buñag said that the RCEP will help reduce poverty to address what Pienaar observes as “the poor getting poorer and the rich richer and with inflation simply put as too much money chasing too few goods”.
Poverty, as WPO’s advocacy targets, is also a result of food loss and wastes. The global food packaging industry has much to contribute to addressing these issues on food losses and wastes according to FAO’s Dr. Nerlita Manalili.