How do we developed products and packaging to promote a circular economy? How can we use social media to ramp up engagement around sustainability in e-commerce packaging? Tune in to hear what Jonathan Quinn, E-commerce Manager at Nova Chemicals has to say.
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00:00:00 Sara Januszewski
Well, I’m just going to jump right into it then. I want to welcome everyone that has joined us here, for the third episode of the Flexible Packaging Round Table. If anyone is new here, the series is an educational tool to provide insight on flexible packaging, and today we are speaking with Jonathan Quinn, E-commerce Manager at Nova Chemicals about sustainability and E-commerce packaging. And I am your host, Sara Januszewski.
00:00:36 Sara Januszewski
So, are you ready to go Jonathan?
00:00:37 Jonathan Quinn
I’m ready to roll, let’s do this.
00:00:40 Sara Januszewski
So, to start, can you just give us a quick overview of yourself and what you do at Nova Chemicals?
00:00:46 Jonathan Quinn
I’m an E-commerce and Shrink Film Market Manager, so I lead cross functionally across tech service, application development, product development and sales as well, and within one of our areas of focus, which is, as I said, the e-commerce and shrink film markets. So really looking at all of our customers who play in those areas and really bringing forward innovation and partnership with them to bring forward new products and new solutions and enabling mainly flexible packaging solutions. I do have a significant or some involvement as well with our caps enclosures market because that is a key function of e-commerce is how we’re marrying rigid and flexible. And so, the rigid closure with a flexible fitment pouch.
00:01:48 Sara Januszewski
Definitely, great. So, building off of that, how have you, within your role at Nova Chemicals, developed products and packaging to really promote a circular economy? And can you explain how plastic resin contributes to that?
00:02:06 Jonathan Quinn
Yeah, from a plastic resin standpoint, so the easiest way to describe it is, resin is, in essence, it comes in a pellet form and you melt it down and it gets extruded into film or gets molded into a rigid. Whether it’s a rigid bottle or whether it’s a cap or closure or drum or a number of different things, so we make that raw material and it’s formulated in different ways. The way that I like to describe it is if you go to subway and you buy a sub and you go through all the different ingredients and, similar to the process in designing and developing a multilayer film structure, that each of the ingredients that goes into a multilayer film structure has different performance requirements, serves a different purpose and is designed or formulated in a special way, so that’s really what Nova does and what we do with our customers and partners like Glenroy. So, when you talk about the circular economy and as that is associated with e-commerce and protective packaging and shrink film, the circular economy conversation has to be a part and a function of all of the conversations that we’re having. It needs to be paramount, and that’s one of the fundamental principles of the e-commerce team that I’ve really been driving at. We have to be looking and paying attention to circular economy and sustainability in every application, every product, every solution that we deliver, because it’s critical and it’s what our customers want. It’s what the consumers want and it’s what the consumers and we should want as well. So, we have to look at ways where we can down gauge and reduce film thickness, we can take what was a mixed material structure and develop a mono material or a mono material barrier structure. So, there’s a wide variety, but then some of the other things that are a part of the e-commerce conversation is, how do we eliminate damage? How do we eliminate product return? Because that’s one of the most critical parts in that conversation is if you buy something and you have to return it because it’s been damaged, that is a waste to the environment, that’s detrimental to the environment, and so we have to improve the overall performance and make sure that every time the consumer orders a product through e-commerce that it arrives the way they it’s supposed to be.
00:04:58 Sara Januszewski
Great, that was some great insight. Next question here, I mean, I know you’re very big on social media yourself with your Friday by the Fire series and all that, I was just wondering if you could touch on how you’ve used social media to ramp up engagement around sustainability in e-commerce packaging with your personal pages or through Nova Chemicals?
00:05:26 Jonathan Quinn
I think the big part of why I’ve really been focused on social media is that’s the way that people go to get information. That’s where people are looking for knowledge and insight, and it’s not just in our personal lives, it’s in our professional lives as well. People want information, they want to be able to connect with people at the palm of their hands. I’m somebody who I thrive for the personal interactions and over the course of the past 18 months or 16 months, call it, I haven’t been able to do that, so trying to find different ways to have those interactions, but what my ultimate goal and strategy behind my personal social media and then I’m hopeful that we’re able to have overflow into Nova as well, is getting the conversation around the benefits and the value of flexible packaging to be on stages that it’s never been on before. That is critical so that the general consumer gets a feeling and gets an understanding of the benefits and value of plastic packaging so that we begin to break down some of those barriers and some of the villainizing that is associated with plastic packaging and really open their eyes to all the benefits as well. So, it’s getting that conversation, and it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not an easy thing to do to get my next-door neighbor excited about what I do, let alone somebody that I’ve never met before. But I think once you’re able to showcase the value that plastic brings and how plastic and flexible packaging enables everyday life, I think that’s where people can get excited and create that kind of human interaction and human perspective.
00:07:39 Sara Januszewski
Definitely, yeah. I think at Glenroy we’re trying to do that as well, even just with this series that we’re doing here. Trying to educate consumers on what it is we do and just get as much information out there as possible.
00:07:54 Jonathan Quinn
Yeah, I think that’s so, so important and I appreciate and applaud all the work that you’ve been doing and Glenroy’s been doing in regard to social media because there’s a lot of people that can be intimidated by it because it could be scary, but it can also make us feel somewhat uncomfortable, but I think putting yourself in uncomfortable situations creates greatness, and that’s why I really applaud all the work that you’ve been doing with Glenroy as well.
00:08:30 Sara Januszewski
Thank you, I really appreciate you saying that. So next here, seeing as you are on the FPA’s Chairperson Advisory Council, would you like to speak further on the work that you are doing with the FPA?
00:08:45 Jonathan Quinn
Yeah, I grew up around the flexible packaging industry. I have pictures of me in a box of resin when I was two, I was doing a technical testing on film when I was five. So, I’m really passionate about the industry and one of the things that I’ve seen as a gap with the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) was developing and bringing forward opportunities for the next generation of leadership. So, I went to the Flexible Packaging Association and brought forward the idea and we’ve been able to develop and create the Emerging Leadership Council, which is an organization that is supported, and we call it powered by FPA, but really, it’s about enabling the next generation of leadership and we have 4 committees. I serve as the chairman and then I also serve on the Chairman’s Advisory Council as well. But it’s really about enabling and creating opportunities not just for the next generation, but we’re doing a lot of things with an internship program to create a cohort of people that are going to be interning within the industry, building a network for them. We’re doing a lot as far as education is concerned, in going out and outreach associated with technical schools and things like that, advocacy work, recruitment. So, getting people excited about being in the industry. So, there’s a number of things that this organization is doing and it’s really one of the things that I’m most excited about personally, because I think when I retire it’s one thing that I’ll look back at and be so proud of because it’s an incredible group of people. And really, the idea behind it is how do we get the kids in high school, how do we get students in college excited about the overall flexible packaging industry and that is what I think is going to have a tremendous impact.
00:11:03 Sara Januszewski
Yeah, I saw today on LinkedIn for the Emerging Leadership Council that they made like a separate page for it.
00:11:12 Jonathan Quinn
Our LinkedIn page went live yesterday and then our first post was today. So yeah, it’s the first step. We’re legit. We’ve got a logo. We’ve got everything. We have a speaker series where we’re getting leaders from within the industry to come and talk about their journey, and there’s some really interesting and exciting stories that we’re able to discuss.
00:11:47 Sara Januszewski
Definitely well, great. That’s really exciting to hear. And then lastly here, you have been vocal and supportive around diversity and inclusion on social media. Can you talk a little bit about that and how it is impacting the packaging industry?
00:12:07 Jonathan Quinn
I don’t necessarily fit what someone would assume to be somebody that would be an ally or would be an advocate, but I’m very passionate about it, I’m convinced, the data supports it, and the reality is the world needs more inclusion and more diversity, and I think it’s important to first be inclusive before your diverse. If you’re not inclusive, you can’t be diverse. So, when I talk about it, I talk about it as inclusion and diversity, but I think the reason why I’ve been so vocal is, I’ll use this as an example, but there was a Martin Luther King quote that said, “We won’t remember the voices of our enemies, we’ll remember the silence of our friends,” and that’s why I get so excited and so passionate about it and why I’m so driven to make sure that we have an impact in that there is a place for everybody within our industry, that everybody feels like they can bring their whole self and be a contributor to the industry. And I’m a dad of a daughter. I want my daughter to want to work and be a part of the flexible packaging industry one day. So, those are some of the key reasons, but I think the biggest thing is it’s critical for our industry to advance, to progress and we’ve got to give everybody a seat at the table, and we’ve got to make sure that perspectives and voices are being heard.
00:13:53 Sara Januszewski
Absolutely love that! So, is there anything else you would like to add before we wrap this up?
00:14:04 Jonathan Quinn
I don’t think so. I just really appreciate all that you guys are doing. Like I said, there’s not many people that are ok with being uncomfortable and trying something new, so I applaud you. You’ve taken the bull by the horns and really progressing the overall conversation because I mean, people can downplay the value of flexible packaging all they want, but the science and the facts don’t lie, and flexible packaging is critical to making everyday life possible. I would say it’s critical to making everyday life healthier, safer, and easier as well. So yeah, I really appreciate all the work that you guys are doing. I’m incredibly impressed with all the innovation coming out of Glenroy and the partnership and just really appreciate all that you guys are doing.
00:15:05 Sara Januszewski
Well, thank you! And I’m going to turn it right back on you and say you know, thank you today for joining us and it was so great to hear about all the amazing work that you are doing for the flexible packaging industry, and I also want to mention that next month in June we will have Joe Kubasiak who is the Director of Flexible Packaging from Wikoff Color Corporation join us as our next guest. We will discuss ink’s role in navigating the flexible packaging industry. So again, just thank you, Jonathan and thank you to everyone that tuned in tonight.
00:15:46 Jonathan Quinn
Awesome, thank you so much. And I have to sign off how I always do, stay positive, test negative!
00:15:57 Sara Januszewski
Yes, the perfect way to end it.