APCO Award Winner Spotlight – Sustainability Champion Bryan McKay
APCO’s Sustainability Champion Award is exclusively dedicated to recognising the outstanding efforts of one exceptional individual who is leading packaging circularity across the nation.
Bryan McKay, Head of Packaging at Woolworths Group, was recognised as this year’s Sustainable Champion for his efforts to scale sustainable packaging initiatives which have materially contributed to packaging circularity within the FMCG industry.
Woolworths Food Company (WFC)
At Woolworths Food Company (WFC) Bryan developed and implemented the WFC Packaging Sustainability Strategy, leading the delivery of this across the organisation. Under Bryan's leadership, Woolworths has been making incredible strides in the sustainability of its home brand packaging, such as the removal of problematic plastic materials such as PVC and polystyrene in multiple categories 2 years ahead of 2025.
As of July 2023, Woolworths has also reduced virgin plastic packaging by more than 14,000 tonnes, through targeted initiatives. The organisation is continuing to drive commitments to its packaging by:
- Halving the use of virgin plastic packaging by weight in its own brand products against its 2018 baseline for its supermarkets by 2025,
- Achieving an average of 60% recycled content in its own brand packaging by the end of 2025,
- Trialing more refillable and reusable packaging options for products in its operations,
- Phasing out problematic and unnecessary materials, starting with its own brands in Woolworths supermarkets by 2023 and BIG W by 2025.
Woolworths has also updated its own brand products with the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL). To support customers' soft plastic recycling efforts, it is replacing the current ARL 'return to store' logo with the new soft plastics recycling ARL 'check locally' by 1st July 2025. In F23 BIG W achieved 55% of products with ARL (an increase from 0%), Australia supermarket own brand products 92%, and Countdown 80%.
Working Collaboratively with Industry
A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Packaging, Bryan is also actively engaged with APCO working groups and is a representative on the ACAG for the ANZPAC Plastics Pact.
He uses his platform to educate and 'call to action' the whole of the supply chain to make packaging sustainability a business imperative. He advocates for this by speaking at numerous industry events, and working strategically with packaging manufacturing companies to drive the packaging sustainability agenda in Australia.