Industry association Plastics SA expects about 300 role-players and decision-makers to attend its Second Plastics Industry Conference, themed The Triple Bottom Line and the Plastics Industry, to be held at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, in Nasrec, on March 16.
The conference will focus on the impact of the need for survival and financial growth on people, the planet and profits that companies in the plastics industry must consider.
“During this conference, we will discuss and learn more about issues that have a direct impact on our businesses, day-to-day operations and future prospects,” says Plastics SA executive director Anton Hanekom.
He notes that, like its plastics counterparts worldwide, the local plastics industry is aware that it has a role to play in ensur-ing a sustainable future and that its activities impact on the environment and the wellbeing of its workforce.
“The world is going through interesting changes, with new dynamics impacting on the tradi- tional way of conducting busness. While the
pressure is still there to survive and grow financially to keep shareholders happy and run a profitable business, it cannot be at the expense of our workforce or our planet,” Hanekom highlights.
Despite these difficult socio-economic conditions, he adds, currently, the South African plastics industry has a positive outlook for this year.
“We are seeing that some plastics subsectors are experi- encing a downturn in demand as they struggle to adjust to increased imports and changes in the market for their products, but key opportunities still exist for growth,” he points out.
On the day, University of Aberdeen external affairs vice principal and dean for Europe Professor Dame Lesley Anne Glover will be the keynote speaker and will share her views on how the global plastics industry is rising to the challenge to improve its triple bottom line of people, the planet and profits.
Glover was previously professor of molecular biology and cell biology at the university. She also served as chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission from 2012 to 2014.
Strategic advice and consulta-tion firm UBU Investment Hold-ings chairperson Alec Erwin will be the second keynote speaker. He will focus on what the local plastics industry should do to ensure that it not only survives but also thrives in a challenging economic climate.
Erwin was South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises from 2004 to 2008, and Minister of Trade and Industry prior to that.
Independent writer and speaker and sustainable business practices advocate Jason Drew will provide a business leader’s insight into the future of busi-ness, the environment and the challenges that business leaders face. He will also provide insight into some of the profitable green businesses in Africa and Europe he has started and invested in.
Moulded, formed, rigid and flexible plastics packaging designer and developer Astrapak huamn resources director Mefane Makhutla will share his expertise on how the plastics industry can maximise, motivate and maintain its most valuable resource – people.
He will elaborate on his experience in managing the human element in the workplace.
Law firm and legal adviser Webber Wentzel corporate prac-tice partner Meluleki Nzimande will address matters relating to mergers and acquisitions, anticorruption law and general commercial law.
Nzimande has been involved in investigations into customs duty amendments, including antidumping and trade remedy investigations. He has also advised on bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, which South Africa is part of, including the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agree-ment and the Southern African Customs Union Agreement.
South Africa-based inter-national corporate trend analyst, design consultant and social commentator Dion Chang will speak about technology becoming an irreversible business game changer – which, therefore, also affects the plastics industry.
He will also track various technologies that have been introduced over the years and highlight how they have affected industries.
The conference will be held as part of the larger food processing, printing, plastics and labelling trade exhibition, Propak Africa 2016, which will run from March 15 to 18.