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Dr Stewart Davies appointed as new OPRL chair

The UK’s expert on recycling labelling, OPRL, has appointed Dr Stewart Davies as its new chair. Davies – who also brings his waste and resources expertise to his role as non-executive board member at the Environment Agency – joins at a time when accurate packaging labelling and claims around recyclability have become key issues for brands. Outgoing chair Jane Bevis was recently awarded Environmental Champion award at the UK Environmental Packaging Awards. The OPRL says she was instrumental in launching OPRL, along with retail brands which remain as guarantors and advisors. Bevis said: “Since 2009, OPRL has grown from around 25 founding members to nearly 800 companies all around the packaging value chain. We now offer a much broader range of services supporting members in making the right design and procurement choices, as well as extending our labelling to include Reuse/Refill options and covering hospitality and B2B packaging.

“I am enormously proud of what we have achieved and am certain that Stewart is exactly the right person to take OPRL on to further success. His blend of leadership experience in commercial operations in the resources sector, and a deep knowledge of the politics and policy development in resource efficiency and sustainable packaging will be of enormous value in setting out OPRL’s strategy.”

Dr Stewart Davies is an experienced non-executive director and chair of public bodies, advisory bodies and trade associations. His posts include Chair of the Sustainable Development Partnership at the City of Bradford Metropolitan District; Chair of the Innovation Advisory Board at the Natural Environment Research Council, Governing Board Member at Innovate UK, and Business Commissioner at the Sustainable Development Commission. Davies’ career has focused on all levels of the packaging supply chain, from polymer manufacture to commercial strategies for the steel packaging sector; from managing local authority waste and recycling contracts, to chairing the Environmental Services Association (ESA). 

Davies described collaboration as the key to the challenges facing brands and recyclers. He said: “As a member organisation born out of a desire within retail to address the sustainability challenges around packaging, OPRL is uniquely-placed to take collaboration to the next level. Customers trust our technical advice on recyclability, while consumers know that our label can be trusted.

“Packaging plays an important role in protecting products to benefit consumers. We need to recognise this, while working together to achieve the systems approach that will address sustainability challenges. Sustainability is increasingly vital for the reputation of brands and retailers, so OPRL is working hard to build on the assurance that enables our members to progress on circular economy packaging solutions. I’m looking forward to supporting the team to continue in providing this excellent service.”

As Jane Bevis steps down after 15 years, acting chair Phillip Ward spoke on behalf of the OPRL board. “It is sad to say goodbye to Jane. Fifteen years ago there was no effective labelling system to tell consumers how to recycle packaging. The retail industry and others with packaging obligations realised that a simple and consistent scheme would be needed and, with the initial engagement of the British Retail Consortium, Jane became the rock on which OPRL was built.

“Since it was established, OPRL has grown its membership exponentially and its range of services and labels has grown too. Its labels are the most widely-recognised and understood by consumers, and satisfaction with its services from its members stands at over 90 per cent. The regulation of packaging is about to change and the demands on OPRL will change too. But Jane has left us on a firm foundation to continue doing and developing the task the industry asked us to do.”

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Publication date: 11/09/2023

European Plastic Product Manufacturer

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31