£60m city region packaging centre moves a step closer

On Wednesday, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram announced £110,000 of pre-development funding for the £60m National Packaging Innovation Centre to be based in Liverpool city region. Tony McDonough reports

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CPI will be based at Liverpool Science Park as it looks to develop the project


Plans for a £60m research facility in Liverpool city region that would develop new types of sustainable packaging has taken a major step forward.

On Wednesday, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram announced £110,000 of pre-development funding to help bring the idea to reality. It will enable project sponsor CPI to expand its offices to Liverpool Science Park an collaborate with industry and academic experts.

With the rise of e-commerce giant such as Amazon there is now a huge demand for sustainable packaging across the world. The global packaging market is estimated to be worth £1 trillion a year.

Consumer products giant Unilever is the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s partner on what will be known as the National Packaging Innovation Centre. It’s manufacturing and research facility at Port Sunlight in Wirral is already home to the largest pool of packaging engineers in the UK.

Likely to be based in Wirral, the centre would be focused on the commercialisation of innovations in packaging materials and production technologies, bringing together industry and academia.

In addition to around 60 jobs at the centre itself, the final project would form the core of a wider packaging cluster in Liverpool city region, bringing up to 2,000 high-value innovation jobs and supporting businesses across the packaging supply chain.

Mr Rotheram said: Liverpool city region is a real hotbed of innovation, especially areas such as advanced manufacturing that have a big role to play in cutting our carbon footprint.

“This funding is an important step towards the development of the National Packaging Innovation Centre in partnership with Unilever, that will help put our region at the head of the £1 trillion global packaging market.

“As well as making a substantial environmental impact, this centre will attract investment to our area and create thousands of jobs and training opportunities for local people. The rest of the world will look and learn from the working we’re doing.”

Unilever is the main partner in the National Packaging Innovation Centre. Picture by Tony McDonough


Darren Ragheb, strategic programmes manager at CPI, added: “Demand for resource-efficient packaging solutions from consumers, governments and regulators provides an opportunity for the UK to lead the way in this disruptive market.

The centre is being co-developed by the Combined Authority and CPI with Unilever as a founder partner. CPI is a deep tech innovation organisation with a long history of working with industry to translate clean tech ideas into new sustainable products and manufacturing processes. 

Richard Slater, chief research and development officer at Unilever, also said: “To tackle plastic pollution, we need bold innovations that challenge existing designs, materials and business models.

“We support the National Packaging Innovation Centre, enabling world-class scientists and engineers from across industry and academia to work together to create more sustainable everyday products.”

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