Collaboratives provide opportunities for members to connect, learn, share, and engage with each other on important sustainability challenges

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What are Collaboratives?

Collaboratives are opportunities for SPC members to come together on specific topics in sustainable packaging. They serve as a forum to promote partnerships and supply chain collaboration by connecting members to one another on issues of interest. The shared goal of all SPC Collaboratives is to help guide SPC members and the industry in navigating and addressing sustainable packaging challenges and identifying opportunities. Collaboratives serve as a platform to establish and share best practices and learnings with SPC members and the packaging community, which can be translated into actionable strategies.

What to Expect

No two Collaboratives are alike, as each is designed to address the unique challenges of specific sustainable packaging topics. The format of each Collaborative is developed through thorough planning and will be communicated as the group launches. Although there may be variations, most Collaboratives will fall into three types:


Exploratory Collaboratives are best employed when a topic needs to be better understood before a clear path forward can be determined. The goal will likely be tied to a deeper understanding of the issue, with output related to identifying next steps or prioritizing further action.

Features include:

  • Investigating a topic in order to build out the landscape, increase member knowledge base, and discuss challenges and opportunities

  • Group discussions, brainstorming activies, and presentations

  • Identifying a gap within the space, or the need to form a Deliverable-Focused or Seminar-Based Collaborative


Seminar-Based Collaboratives bring members together to engage in dialogue, share resources, and learn from each other. These Collaboratives result from the determination that more discussion in a specific area will benefit SPC members.

Features include:

  • Members, SPC staff, or guest speakers present on topics of interest that align with the goals, and discuss and ask questions

  • Provides education and networking value across SPC membership

  • Focused on sharing and discussing current and future initiatives, best practices, and building value chain connections


Deliverable-Focused Collaboratives are formed to address a clear gap or call to action for a particular project. These can emerge from other SPC activities or discussions, or may be the outcome of an Exploratory or Seminar-Based Collaborative.

Features include:

  • Members and SPC staff will work together to develop and produce the identified deliverable

  • Functions similar to a project with milestones and intermediate deliverables

  • Example deliverables include:
    - A published guide
    - Initial framing or design of a tool
    - A web-based resource

During the planning and development of a Collaborative, the leadership team will conduct in-depth research of the subject and scope the Collaborative to address the challenges within the space. When a Collaborative launches, the leadership team will share the proposed scope and goals and the tentative timeline of the Collaborative with members. These details will be confirmed with member input and may be modified or adjusted based on member feedback. Collaboratives are adaptable to evolving interests of members and demands of the rapidly shifting sustainable packaging landscape.

Most Collaboratives meet regularly through monthly calls. The Collaborative leadership will keep track of the conversation and key learnings. Even Collaboratives that are not focused on a singular deliverable may develop output such as a white paper on best practices, a presentation at an SPC event, or a roadmap of next steps.

What is Expected of Collaborative Members?

Collaboratives exist to engage and connect members. The SPC provides the platform for conversation to happen, but the representatives of member companies who participate in Collaboratives are the ones who drive the conversation. Expectations and level of involvement may vary depending on the type of Collaborative and specific goals. General expectations for collaborative members include:

Additional expectations will be communicated by Collaborative leadership at the beginning of a Collaborative, or to new members as they join. For example, a Deliverable-Focused Collaborative may rely on member contribution and review of the work product.

What to Expect of Collaborative Leadership

Collaborative leadership will consist of SPC staff and member Co-Chairs. The SPC staff identified as the Collaborative Leader will be the primary contact for the group. They are responsible for the development and management of the Collaborative. The Collaborative Leader will coordinate meetings and share information and resources concerning the group. They will also foster discussion, ensure transparent communication, and maintain the group’s focus on achieving the defined goals.

Co-Chairs are individuals from SPC member companies or partner organizations that volunteer to provide leadership to the group. These individuals provide strategic direction and guidance to theCollaborative, as well as industry perspective and feedback to the SPC Collaborative Leader. Each Collaborative will have two or more Co-Chairs, which ensures that the Collaborative is not driven by a single company’s perspective or agenda. These individuals are identified during the planning process and are selected to include a diversity of perspectives representative of the Collaborative as a whole.Availability, interest, background, and expertise are essential factors that are taken into account when selecting Co-Chairs. For longer Collaboratives, the Co-Chairs may rotate every year. Members are encouraged to speak with SPC staff if interested in serving as a Co-Chair for a Collaborative.

Active Collaboratives

Packaging Policy Collaborative

Exploring the complex legislative landscape of policy related to packaging sustainability and end of life.

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Reusable Packaging Collaborative

Discussing reusable packaging fundamentals and challenges, while identifying opportunities where reusable packaging fits in the sustainable packaging space.

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Compostable Packaging Collaborative

Sharing knowledge and best practices on labeling and composting infrastructure for compostable packaging, including both fiber products and compostable bioplastics.

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Next Markets Collaborative

Exploring how companies can support current and future end markets to create more demand for recycled materials.

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Flexible Packaging Recovery Collaborative

This collaborative’s studies sustainable end-of-life solutions for multi-laminate flexible packaging.

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Chemical Recycling Collaborative

Exploring the landscape of chemical recycling technologies and the role that they may play in packaging sustainability.

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Completed Collaboratives

Mixed Paper Collaborative

This collaborative will explore the recovery and utilization of mixed paper (MP).

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Safe + Circular Materials Collaborative

Explored the challenges of safe and circular packaging materials and accelerating the transition to safer alternatives.

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Shipping Liquids Collaborative

Discussed and mapped key issues and learnings on where damages occur in liquids shipping, the testing environment, and sustainable packaging solutions.

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Transport Packaging

Studied the role that transport packaging plays in sustainability. Developed a resource on definitions and key considerations.

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Cold Chain Packaging

Worked to unify the understanding of sustainable packaging for temperature-sensitive products as seen here.

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The Role of Packaging in WBCSD’s Vision 2050

Studied how packaging fits into the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Vision 2050.

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Energy Recovery

Gathered and shared knowledge about energy recovery solutions for packaging and created a database, summary report and research & technologies.

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Inks, Coatings, and Adhesives

Studied the sustainability considerations relevant to inks, coatings, and adhesives used in packaging.

Consumer Outreach & Education

Explored consumer messaging around why packaging makes our world more sustainable. See the first and second prize videos of the student contest.

Meaningful Marketing Claims

Studied the role of marketing in making packaging more sustainable and how marketing professionals can communicate the sustainability attributes.

Verifying Responsible Sourcing Collaborative

Developed an educational resource to help companies reach responsible sourcing goals, implement due diligence strategies and verify their fiber supply.

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