Brand design consultancy Elmwood recently appointed Ian Schofield as non-executive director to advise clients on sustainability.
As the former own label manager of Iceland Foods and an expert on packaging reuse and recycling, he led the charge of going plastic-free by 2023 and continues the mission as an independent consultant.
Below, Schofield talks about sustainability in design, the work achievement he's most proud of and what he hopes the industry can achieve in the future.
Tell us about your responsibilities at Elmwood…
This is a new role in Elmwood to design sustainability in at the start of the design process. This is now compulsory for brands and retailers to ensure they are fit for purpose for the complex world of environmentally sound packaging.
Tell us about your background and how it has equipped you for today…
I’ve been lucky to work on both sides of the fence in retail and brands and have also provided services to them. In my last job at Iceland as own label manager I owned the launch process reporting to the MD and led the charge on going plastic-free.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
Golfing in the summer, skiing in the winter; travelling if I could afford to.
Tell us something about your professional life we don’t already know…
When I trained as a packaging technologist at Co-op in Manchester we had over 100 manufacturing plants back then, including coffins. Yes, coffins were part of our packaging brief and training.
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
I still have so much energy and enthusiasm and love completing launches on time even when everything is thrown at you from all directions to stop or delay it.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
I have two, both sales related. Breaking into Danone as an English business (which was the first one they had used at the time) and breaking into Estée Lauder in New York.
How do you recharge away from the office?
Travel, eating out at nice spots and golf.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industry?
With many of the leading UK retailers pledging to make step changes in the fight against climate change, we are about to witness a long overdue but seismic change for the packaging industry and for brand owners alike as they have to find new materials to package their goods to remain on shelf in the next decade.
My hope is that sustainability is owned and practiced by designers.