Q&A: MARK BADGER, CPIA president and CEO
Q How does your experience, including your time as vice president of Royal Group, prepare you to lead CPIA? A I'd like to think that over the past 25 years in the industry I've made a lot of contacts, and understand the issues facing people in...
Q How does your experience, including your time as vice president of Royal Group, prepare you to lead CPIA?
A I’d like to think that over the past 25 years in the industry I’ve made a lot of contacts, and understand the issues facing people in the industry. We have our own subset of issues here in Canada, and I think I understand them pretty well. I’ve also had experience putting together joint ventures and partnerships, working creatively to marshal the resources that are needed to get the job done. I believe that we enjoy a wonderful lifestyle as a result of plastic, and I’m passionate about telling that story.
Q What’s the current state of the organization?
A The truth is that CPIA is a smaller organization than it was one year ago, but so is the plastics industry in Canada. But while there is a smaller staff than in the past, it’s a very dedicated staff. The important thing is to find creative ways of bringing value to our members, and hopefully partner with other organizations to do a better job for our members.
Q How do you plan to confront some of the specific issues facing the industry?
A Wave number one is to help companies understand the fiscal challenges that we face. We held a breakfast in May, for example, with experts talking about which areas are hot and which are not, as well as best practices for dealing with cash-flow-constrained environments. In June, we had a webinar involving EDC, BDC, Canadian Plastics magazine and the government to talk about existing and new funding programs that are available to the plastics industry.
Wave number two is to become very aggressive in telling the story of plastics. Unfortunately, a lot of people forget the role of plastics in developing life-saving products such as blood bags and IV tubes, and plastics in automobiles so they won’t rust. We’re going to go mainstream with communication, and hopefully find a way to increase the resources to mobilize for this initiative. Regardless, we’ll work with whatever we have.
Q Do you have plans to battle the rise of bans and anti-plastics legislation?
A While some chemicals are toxic in their precursor form, by the time they’re folded into a product there’s no toxicity left at all, and we have to make people understand that. We must work with Ontario, and with the federal government to make sure that legislation protects the interests of all Canadians, while at the same time considering reminding legislators of the science, and of the impact any new legislation will have on our industry. This will be a very important initiative at CPIA.
Q Technical advancements are key to continued growth in any industry. Do you have any plans to strengthen ties between the plastics industry and university research programs?
A The vision is to create innovation forums involving university professors, who are doing research in specific areas, outlining what type of research they’re doing in front of industry members. We then have breakout sessions between that professor and an industry professional to talk about how they could jointly fund and jointly conduct the research to complete a product or process development.
For the complete, two-part interview with Mark Badger, check out