2022 Summit Recap

The FRESH 2022 Food, Packaging & Sustainability Summit focused on technology as an enabler of circular solutions across the food value chain beginning with food production and packaging, and included strategies to achieve sustainability targets in both corporate and consumer environments.

FRESH Summit logo

Below is a recap of the 2022 FRESH Summit. Stay tuned for dates for the 2023 event!

Monday, September 19

Clemson Campus Tours

Attendees toured the following Clemson University facilities:

Clemson’s Recycling Facilities, which offered the opportunity to gain practical knowledge of the solid waste stream. Clemson manages its own solid waste recovery, recycling and reuse through consolidation at two campus facilities:

  • Kite Hill Recycling Center: a “mini-MRF” that handles the recovery, sortation, consolidation, and diversion of municipal solid waste.
  • Cherry Crossing Research Center: an organics recycling, composting and research facility. This facility takes the university’s food waste, yard waste and other fiber-based materials and turns them into a soil amendment-quality compost that can be repurposed and resold under the Clemson Compost brand.
Kite Hill Recycling Center at Clemson University
Cherry Crossing Research Center at Clemson University

Clemson’s Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences Department blends many disciplines – biology, chemistry, engineering, health and more – to both help people live healthier lives and to help private industry deliver safely packaged food to a growing global population. Clemson’s top national ranking reflects education rooted in real-world problems and industry partnerships. Highlights include the following research and education labs:

  • CEFPAK: Center for Excellence in Flexible Packaging
  • Packaging Dynamics Lab: ISTA Certified testing facility
Packaging Dynamics Lab at Clemson University
Center for Excellence in Flexible Packaging at Clemson University

Welcome Reception & Registration

The Welcome Reception featured the best of industry partnerships throughout The Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics. Labs were open and hosted by students, and activities were held throughout the building, including:

  • Seaside Grown cooking demonstrations featuring locally sourced products that support sustainability 
  • CU Shop, Clemson’s Eye Tracking R&D lab demonstrations
  • Social Media Listening Center “pop-up” demonstrations
  • Rapid prototyping, Print and Esko Lab tours hosted by students
Welcome Reception Cooking Demo
Welcome Reception CU Shop Demo
Social Media Listening Center Demo
Prototyping Lab Demo
Advanced Print Lab Demo
ESKO Print Lab Demo

Tuesday, September 20

Keynote Presentation: Does a Reimagined Food System Reimagine Your Growth?

There are a number of disruptions transforming the food system, some structural and some systemic. Having a clear vision of what the industry will look like, the drivers changing it and how technology will enable the transformation will be critical in reimagining your own growth. Producers, manufacturers and retailers need to think and act differently to not only respond to industry disruptions but to also drive the disruption and be part of shaping the future food system. Will you disrupt or be disrupted?

Rob Dongoski, EY-Parthenon

Rob Dongoski
EY Food and Agriculture Leader
Partner, EY-Parthenon

Fireside Chat: Technology-Enabled Transformations

Transformational technologies to achieve sustainability goals are quickly accelerating opportunities. A panel of stakeholders discussed their experiences and insights to applying AI solutions in the value chain. Panelists also shared the impact of technology-enabled transformations in driving safe, secure and sustainable solutions across multiple sectors of the food value chain.

Kathleen Cook
Innovation Executive
IBM Supply Chain Intelligence & Sustainability

Donna Lanzetta
Manna Fish Farms, Inc.

Donald Prater, DVM
Associate Commissioner for Imported Food Safety
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Sustainable Packaging: A Layer by Layer Look at Achieving Success

Addressing the environmental crisis created by food packaging relies on defining and achieving truly sustainable solutions. This panel delved into a layer-by-layer look at the materials, technologies, processes, and certifications necessary to successfully achieve sustainable packaging. Equally important, this session also provided examples of the essential partnerships needed to drive innovation and meet market demands.

Keith Belli, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences and Associate Vice President for Public Service and Agriculture
Clemson University

Nikola Juhasz, Ph.D.
Global Technical Director for Sustainability
Sun Chemical

Chris Schaefer
Global Marketing Director
EarthFirst® Films by PSI

Jason Stufflebeam
Senior Product Stewardship Engineer 
Printpack, Inc.

Summit Highlights: Zero Waste Event Strategies

Each year Sonoco FRESH sponsors Creative Inquiry courses which offer undergraduate students the opportunity to work on research projects. This year’s course tackled zero waste events and included hands-on experience planning the 2022 Food, Packaging & Sustainability Summit with mentorship from WM and Aramark. Students also participated in activities such as Clemson’s annual Game Day Recycling Challenge (football) and gained applied knowledge of event planning with the environment in mind. This panel provided an overview of their planning process and insights into decision-making.

Ted Langlois
Associate, Sustainability & Environmental Solutions

Dave VanDeventer
Solid Waste and Recycling Manager
Clemson University

Cassidy Nosenzo
Masters in Sustainability Student
Wake Forest University

Summit Highlights: Gift Box Reveal

The student-designed gift box has quickly become a hallmark of the Food, Packaging & Sustainability Summit. This year’s gift box demonstrated technology as an enabler of food safety and sustainability – themes of the 2022 Summit, along with a compostable packaging concept developed for Holmes Sweet Home by Printpack. Mentored by Clemson faculty and experts from Digimarc and Printpack, students were challenged to create a design that would incorporate technology, accommodate two products, and be consistent with the Summit’s sustainability narrative. Attendees saw an impressive solution to this design challenge.

Haley Appleby
Lecturer, Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences
Clemson University

Sophie Owen
Packaging Science Student
Clemson University

The War on Food Waste

Food waste at its core demonstrates the disparity between those who have excess food and those who are food insecure. However, that is only the beginning of the story. Food waste also contributes significantly to greenhouse gases, needlessly consumes resources such as water and land to grow food that is not consumed, and compounds multiple challenges across the food value chain.

This panel included social and corporate activists who brought expertise and leadership in addressing this complex topic. Each strategy to reduce food waste illustrates the social and economic impact across the food value chain, and may provide ideas for your own organizations.

Claire L.A. Dancz, Ph.D., M.P.A.
Research Associate, Watt Family Innovation Center, Faculty Director, Grand Challenge Scholars Program
Clemson University

Matthew Aronson
Chief Revenue Officer
Verdant Technologies

Marie Davis
Field Implementation Manager, Enterprise Sustainability

Anna DeLage
Recycling Market Development Manager
South Carolina Department of Commerce

Creating Opportunities to Close the Loop on Circular Plastics

Closing the loop on circular plastics takes a village. The entire value chain from resin manufacturers, recyclers, plastics converters, brand owners, retailers and consumers is critical. NOVA Chemicals and Charter Next Generation recognize they play an important role in this value chain for creating opportunities to close that loop.  In this session, attendees heard how each of them are tackling this complex task and how they came together to bring the best of what they both do to close the loop.

Sabrina Dixon-Ridges
Director, Business Strategy Alignment – Global Sustainability

Brent Greiner
Vice President of Technology
Charter Next Generation

Alan Schrob
Manager, PCR Business Development
NOVA Chemicals Inc.

Breakout Sessions: Sustainability Explored by Sector

Sustainability means many different things to many different stakeholders. Each Breakout Session offered an excellent opportunity to enhance attendees’ knowledge of this ever-changing and ever-expanding landscape of some of the key areas of sustainability across the food value chain.

Life Cycle Assessment in Packaging: Un-Wrapping the Benefits and Challenges

Life Cycle Assessments have become a primary tool in the race to evaluate the environmental impact of new packaging concepts under development. LCA experts gave insights to this technology’s benefits and limitations, along with a discussion on leveraging LCAs to support a new generation of solutions. The session included topics such as the efficacy of LCA indicators published on packaging, the utility of streamlined LCA tools for industry, translating data points to actionable decisions and design for reusable packaging – functional units and environmental impacts.

Duncan Darby, Ph.D.
Professor, Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences Department
Clemson University

Ashley Drew
Manager, Sustainability, Americas
UPM Raflatac

Liz Ernst
Sustainability Analyst

The Impact of Sustainability KPIs in the Capital Markets

In the race to reverse the environmental impacts of global warming, companies are being challenged to substantially accelerate sustainability targets and timelines. To gain a deeper understanding of the impact of sustainability KPIs in the capital markets, this session provided insights to green bonds, green loans, and other ways companies are responding to investor expectations of our corporate citizens.

Kenneth Bruce
Red Rock Global Advisors

Shontavia Johnson
Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Clemson University

Tierney Seidel
Vice President, Sustainable Capital Markets

Industry 4.0: A Practical Guide to Understanding Sustainable Manufacturing

Whether you are involved as a decision maker working directly in manufacturing or would simply benefit from a deeper understanding of what industry 4.0 means for sustainable manufacturing and the products you make and sell, this provided valuable context. Thought leaders and experts gave a behind-the-scenes look at how Industry 4.0 supports success in achieving ESG goals.

Catherine Hayes
Industry Manager
South Carolina Research Authority

Mark Johnson, Ph.D.
Thomas F. Hash Endowed Chair in Sustainable Development and Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing
Clemson University

Asem Mokaddem
Tellus Products

Compostable Packaging Technologies, Practices and Certification

Composting has gained significant momentum as a responsible end-of-life solution for food waste and a pathway to address global warming. This session looked at advances that support package composting through improved sortation to remove contaminates. It also explored consumer engagement strategies to build trust with certifications and demonstrates how compostable packaging can promote the recycling of food waste.

Kay Cooksey, Ph.D.
Professor and Cryovac Endowed Chair, Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences
Clemson University

Jay Sperry
Global Digital Transformation Leader

Jason Stufflebeam
Senior Product Stewardship Engineer 
Printpack, Inc.

Michael Waas
Vice President, North America

Reception and Student Poster Displays

Student Poster Presentation
Student Poster Presentation
Student Poster Presentation
Student Poster Presentation

Farm to Fork Dinner Highlighting Sustainability in South Carolina

Leadership from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture welcomed guests to the evening’s dinner showcasing the wealth of locally grown food options in our region. 

Hugh E. Weathers
South Carolina Department of Agriculture

Farm to Fork Dinner
Farm to Fork Dinner

Wednesday, September 21

Keynote Presentation: Implementing pep +: Positive Change for People and the Planet

PepsiCo recently introduced pep + (PepsiCo Positive), a strategic end-to-end transformation to drive sustainable long-term value and competitive advantage. Rachael Lawrence provided a brief overview of pep + and shared updates and examples of successes with PepsiCo’s internal stakeholders and across its value chain.

Rachael Lawrence, PepsiCo Foods NA

Rachael Lawrence
Senior Director of Sustainable Packaging
PepsiCo Foods North America

Packaging Has a Sustainability Story… What’s the Right Way to Tell It?

Americans increasingly want to be seen as eco-friendly buyers of green products, and they increasingly expect companies and brands to lead the way in creating a sustainable, socially responsible future. This of course, extends to packaging. Your brand may wrongly or rightly be judged as “good” or “bad” for society by its packaging, based on the perceptions and knowledge of each consumer. So how can you tell your packaging story in a way that builds brand favorability and purchase?

Suzanne Shelton, CEO of Shelton Group, the country’s leading marketing communications firm focused entirely in the ESG space, shared her firm’s latest market insights and real-world experience to answer those questions and more!

Suzanne Shelton, Shelton Group

Suzanne Shelton
President & CEO
Shelton Group

Navigating the Three Rs: Myth Busting Sustainability Lore

Navigating the Three Rs: Myth Busting Sustainability Lore focused on controversial perceptions around the three “Rs,” reduce, reuse and recycle. Throughout the session, attendees were invited to vote on whether each statement is a myth or a reality and had the opportunity to hear subject matter experts offer thoughts and provide case studies on each topic. Included were topics such as carbon credits, designing for the end of life, food waste, acceptable waste stream contamination rates, and consumers and recycling considerations.

Panel Discussion

Cassandra Snelling
Marketing Manager of Global Sustainability

Heather Batt, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer, Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences Department
Clemson University

Ezra Cates, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
Clemson University

Greg Johnson
Director of New Business Development
Sustana Fiber

Elizabeth Rhue
VP of Environmental, Sustainability & Technical Services

Keynote Presentation: Conserving the Magic – Operationalizing Disney’s Environmental Goals

This presentation offered an inside look at how Disney is operationalizing its 2030 Environmental Goals, including a focus on establishing champions across the organization, engaging Cast Members with training and tools, piloting new processes and technologies and inspiring Guests during their vacation.

Steve Vanarsdall and Gary Jones, Walt Disney World Resort

Chef Gary Jones
Environmental Culinary Specialist
Walt Disney World® Resort

Steve Vanarsdall
Environmental Integration Manager
Walt Disney World® Resort