Between June-October 2023, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and CLIC Innovation-facilitated 4Recycling open innovation ecosystem have completed a series of Engage4Bio co-creation workshops related to Sustainable Packaging.
Each workshop supported the Engage4Bio project goals of building local bioeconomies by developing innovative governance models and increasing citizen engagement through awareness raising and education on sustainable production, consumption, and lifestyles. In Finland, the regional hub targets a shift towards sustainable packaging practices by 2030.
Vision and strategy for Sustainable Packaging
To meet these goals, the first vision building workshop held on 5 June gathered ideas for regional bioeconomy development actions through three co-creation processes: training and mentoring, knowledge gain campaigns and innovative governance models. The quadruple helix model was used during the workshop to engage collaboration across different fields of science, the business sector, decision-makers, and citizens.
The actions identified by participants from companies, research institutes and universities, SMEs, and industry associations included developing research-based criteria for sustainable packaging, providing regulation training for the entire value chain, and leveraging digitalization for communication and awareness.
Education, governance, and communication initiatives
The subsequent workshops on the three themes produced actionable results. The training and mentoring workshop held on 11 September developed prototypes for two initial training concepts: Sustainability in packaging life cycle, and Packaging materials (accessibility and characteristics). The workshop participants represented different stakeholder groups from companies, universities and research organizations, public sector and education.
The vision for the innovative governance models workshop held on the 3rd of October was to involve the entire value chain in building the innovation pathway from ideas to commercial exploitation, and to pitch ideas for improving the innovation ecosystem as a whole. The workshop participants, again from different stakeholder groups, expressed the need for a matchmaking platform between relevant stakeholders, and the need to develop an EU-wide sustainability criteria by combining climate metrics, biodiversity, and societal aspects.
The final knowledge gain and awareness campaigns workshop held on the 26th of October focused fostering collaboration and communication throughout the packaging value chain through digital campaigns, event organizing and exhibitions. Arts and design sector and exhibition centres were new stakeholder groups invited to this workshop. Ideas from the participants included enhancing event gamification, visually depicting future packaging solutions, and establishing learning environments within exhibitions. Participants advocated for showcasing the current state of packaging production and recycling, emphasizing consumer-level sustainability improvements. Digital communication campaigns were recommended to underscore the purpose and significance of packaging and to build upon existing campaigns and audiences.
From ideas to impact
The outcomes of the workshops will be implemented in 2024. For instance, the training workshop results will be incorporated into future education design to equip stakeholders for a sustainability transition within the packaging sector and some training concepts will be published as an open education resource. Further, insights from the knowledge gain workshop will guide the development of ten awareness-raising campaigns in 2024, emphasizing collaborative efforts and sustainability improvements.
Engage4Bio’s overall outcomes, captured within a bioeconomy development framework, are designed to be transferable to other European regions, fostering accessibility and engagement beyond targeted audiences.