Michel FONTAINE, CNE President, interview

Interview with Bernd Philipp Ph.D in Management Sciences – Professor and Researcher at the École Supérieure du Commerce Extérieur (ESCE) in Paris
Sep 2015
Jean Martin Interview, Chief Executive of the Plastics Processing industry and Composite Materials Federation
Sep 2015

Michel FONTAINE, CNE President, interview

5 years as chairman of the French Packaging Council (CNE):

43Can you summarise the landmark events of your five years as chairman of the CNE?

First of all, we constantly worked in collaboration with our members and administrators to document the most important issues around packaging. As a result of this comprehensive work, two to three documents were produced each year. Among other things, eco-design and environmental claims brought us a lot of attention at the European level.

Also, we extended our national network and welcomed new members into the ninth grouping. We created partnerships with new organisations, such as the Salon de l’Emballage, which brings together the entire packaging industry every 2 years in Villepinte, and LuxePack, which organises a luxury products packaging-centred event every year in Monaco.

An international network was launched with our European counterparts Europen and Incpen. Other partnerships with Quebec, Brazil and Japan, etc. were formed. The CNE became a bilingual organisation, online as well as on paper.

Finally, thanks to our EMBALLE 3.0 contest, we were able to bring together academics and their students with industrial players and experts from within our membership in constructive yearly event.

What is next for the CNE in 2015-17?

We will keep the working groups going. The logistics one is already in progress, and we will launch one looking into packaging deposit schemes after the holidays. Just as during the past 19 years, the CNE has to be present in every debate.

The CNE is now recognised as a legitimate contributor by the stakeholders who know and use it, but it remains little known outside this circle. This is a real issue for the packaging industry, all of the members of which are naturally very different and sometimes in competition with one another, and for the public authorities that regulate our activities. Beyond our understandable differences, I am sure we can find common values to promote and defend.

The CNE was initially built to work in the background, without speaking out. I believe it is time to consider revisiting its ambitions and objectives, and perhaps its management and budget as well.

What new features are there on the brand new 2015 website?

Our website was created with 5-year old technology, that is to say obsolete technology! We took advantage of the need to update the technical structure of the website to improve the layout and make it more user-friendly. It’s easier and faster to find what you’re looking for, and the design has been updated.

This new web site was realized by the communication agency: www.com4desing.fr

What does the future hold for you?

After dedicating 33 years of my professional life to packaging, I humbly think I know all there is to know about it, particularly the environmental aspects. This time at the CNE was a way to “give something back” to the field after all it had brought me. I was used to creating value, building organisations, and manufacturing physical products. Here, I sometimes had to find the “greatest common denominator” among every stakeholder, which was very challenging… in a very fulfilling way.

What now? Another mission, I hope, not too far from packaging, innovation, and environment.

What can we hope for the CNE for its 20th anniversary in 2016?

As I have mentioned before, I believe the CNE has to speak out more often. How exactly it does this remains to be seen. Whatever the future objectives and ambitions of the CNE, there is no doubt that its 20th anniversary is a good opportunity to put forth its accumulated collective intelligence.