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253 - Christopher Davidson share about new and exciting sustainable innovations from WestRock

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About the Guest(s):

Chris Davidson is the Vice President of Sustainability at WestRock, one of the world's leading packaging companies. With a career deeply rooted in the forest products and packaging industry, Davidson has climbed the ranks from a forester managing land resources to spearheading sustainability directives at a global level. In his current role, he expands on WestRock's commitments to sustainability, with a significant focus on innovating alternatives to plastic packaging and reducing the company's carbon footprint.

Episode Summary:

Welcome to an engaging episode of the People of Packaging podcast featuring the knowledgeable Chris Davidson, VP of Sustainability at Westrock. Your host, Adam Peek, navigates a riveting discussion around the evolution of paper-based packaging solutions and the industry's push towards eco-friendly alternatives. Davidson and Peek touch upon the company's innovative strides in replacing single-use plastics and their recent achievements in carbon emission reductions.

In the course of the podcast, Davidson elaborates on WestRock's sustainability pillars centered on serving communities, prioritizing the planet, and creating innovative solutions for customers. Highlights of WestRock's portfolio, such as CanCollar®, a paperboard solution replacing plastic rings, and EverGrow™, a sustainable alternative for produce containers, reinforce the company's dedication to green initiatives. The conversation underscores the adaptability of the packaging industry during the pandemic, demonstrating heightened consumer awareness and corporate responsibility towards sustainable practices.

Key Takeaways:

  • Chris Davidson discusses the shift in operations and focus on sustainability for WestRock during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting an increase in e-commerce and paper packaging demand.

  • WestRock's innovation in sustainable packaging includes CanCollar®, an eco-friendly substitute for plastic can rings, and EverGrow™ for produce, strengthening the company's eco-conscious portfolio.

  • Consumer familiarity with recycling paper products helps drive the adoption of paper-based packaging solutions, showcasing the practical and environmental benefits.

  • Davidson emphasizes WestRock's ongoing commitment to decarbonization, including the partnership with Éngie through virtual power purchase agreements to reduce scope 2 emissions.

  • The podcast reveals the potential for further innovations with WestRock's adaptable packaging machinery and automation solutions that enhance operational efficiency.

Notable Quotes:

  • "The way you described it, you know, it's true. You know, paper cannot do everything. Plastic has its place and is much better than paper in some situations."

  • "…and then others who are just like, well, I don't really understand this whole recycling. Probably I should just throw it away. But as you said, if it's a can, if it's paper, most people go, yeah, this is going to be recycled. I'll put it in."

  • "We're happy to work with folks. We've done many, I guess you could call them sort of Kaizen kind of events where we've brought in folks and we've talked about an issue, a problem that they're having, and we're able to help them…"


Tune in to the full episode to hear the comprehensive discussion on the strides being made in the packaging industry towards sustainability, and stay up to date with the People of Packaging podcast for more insightful conversations.

Packaging Is Awesome with Adam Peek
People of Packaging Podcast
This is a podcast where we illuminate the stories of people in the packaging industry and proudly sponsored by
Hosted by the Packaging Pastor, Adam Peek