Some months ago, Mario Abreu became Global Vice President for Sustainability at Tetra Pak. One of his team’s main tasks will be to support Tetra Pak’s global clients –  major companies in the food and beverage industry – to redesign packaging. These clients operate in Europe and Asia and are getting ready to implement new rules on recyclability and collection of packaging to better protect the oceans from plastic pollution.

I am so glad that Mario and Tetra Pak will be helping us to tackle such a major global problem!

I met Mario for the first time in Kota Kinabalu in 2012. We were both walking through a park in the dark with a group of people going to a party to celebrate the end of the negotiations in the amazing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) global congress that year. The atmosphere at the FSC congresses is tense in a unique way. It is a multistakeholder forum with business representatives, environmentalists and social activists. In this forum, senior delegates divided into three ‘chambers’ – Economic, Environmental, Social – have to achieve consensus before proposals on how to certify products and processes with the FSC label are put to the vote. All motions have to be supported by all three chambers before they are presented to the assembly for final decision. The days that precede the day of the assembly are electrifying. There are meetings in every corner, day and night. Few people really get a full night’s sleep. In this context I met Mario.

Mario is an oasis of peace in such a place. He is a smiling, calm person, who pays attention to everything and is always ready to listen to other people’s ideas and stories. What I could not have guessed that day was that he is also a very thoughtful, persistent and results-oriented executive.

I had the opportunity to learn more about his executive side a year later, when he called me. Mario was concerned about the quality of the materiality analysis of the Tetra Pak. He was looking for experts to help analyse and improve the methodology they were using. Interestingly, their main purpose was not to present the analysis in a sustainability report, what is usually why companies do such an analysis, but to enrich the discussions on strategy and communications in Tetra Pak before publishing it. It was a great exercise for all of us. The detailed methodology, the high level of knowledge and the strategic intentions of Mario and his team have really impressed me.

I felt as if I was at a “packaging university”, where experts talked about all aspects of packaging all day long, calculating carbon emissions of packaging production and recycling, or discussing the latest sustainable innovations in the field. I also learned about the immense variety of packaging that Tetra Pak produce, including plants based packaging like Tetra Rex Bio-based, and other equipment for the big players in the food and beverage industry.

Years later we worked together again when Mario wanted to bring some fresh air into the annual strategic alignment team meeting. We designed a workshop to encourage Tetra Pak leaders to envision the future they wanted to live in and compare their vision with Tetra Pak’s: a wonderful, revelatory moment for the 30 executives and leaders in the room, with everybody looking at the future trying to find their common visions.

Congratulations Mario! Count on us!

To learn more:

I love this video on sustainable packaging

And Tetra Pak’s Sustainability Report 2018


by Nelmara Arbex