GEMI Begins Project Focused on Barriers to Recycling Contaminated Food Film Packaging


While a variety of collaborative programs exist to address plastics in the economy and develop new circular solutions, such efforts are predominantly focused on post-consumer single-use plastics with more limited attention to post-industrial waste streams.  Leading companies across industries have established clear goals around waste reduction and zero waste to landfill but can be challenged in finding practical solutions for recycling of post-industrial contaminated plastics.  While challenges with contaminated materials vary across industries, initial investigation by GEMI indicates that there is a specific challenge and potential opportunity to provide value to GEMI members in this area.  One specific area of interest relates to recycling of post-industrial food film packaging contaminated with animal byproducts from the protein industry.

Project Overview

GEMI’s vision is to develop a Post-Industrial Contaminated Plastic Work Group to engage key stakeholders across the value chain to foster pre-competitive collaborative cross-industry dialogue and develop business-driven solutions that can enhance domestic recycling and material management capabilities for potentially contaminated post-industrial plastics while increasing value for stakeholders across the value chain.

Based on GEMI’s investigations into this area, this work group will launch with an initial project focused on unique challenges related to post-industrial contaminated food film packaging.  The goal of this initial project is to develop a model that could be replicated to address similarly challenging post-industrial contaminated waste streams from other industries. Phase 1 of this project is designed to identify and organize a collaborative group of key stakeholders from across the value chain to develop a landscape assessment document outlining challenges, issues for industry consideration, and activities already underway by companies and organizations related to recycling post-industrial contaminated food film packaging.  

Project Participants

Current GEMI members and project participants committed to participate in this project include: ExxonMobil Chemical, Food Marketing Institute, Sealed Air, Smithfield Foods, Sodexo, Tyson Foods and Waste Management

To learn more about this GEMI project and opportunities for participation as either a GEMI member or non-member project participant, please contact Kellen Mahoney.  .

GEMI Members Convene in Washington, DC for Fall Meeting

On December 5, the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) held its Fall Membership meeting at the Army & Navy Club in Washington, DC. The meeting was sponsored by GEMI members Schlumberger and Smithfield Foods.

GEMI provides a forum for global corporate environmental / sustainability thought leaders to learn from each other, develop collaborative solutions, and engage with strategic partners to advance solutions to emerging environmental and sustainability challenges.

This meeting included in-depth discussion on topics such as engaging and collaborating with suppliers on sustainability goals, as well as understanding and addressing barriers / opportunities in moving toward a circular economy. The meeting also included discussions on planned GEMI activities in 2019, including initiatives related to supplier engagement / collaboration, recycling of contaminated post-industrial plastics, developing a 10-year map of future forces impacting sustainability, and continuing engagement with industry trade associations working on sustainability efforts.

The meeting included expert speakers from GEMI members and guests organizations such as American Chemistry Council, EcoVadis, ExxonMobil, Manufacture 2030, Plastics Industry Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Responsible Battery Coalition, Sealed Air, Smithfield Foods,  UL Environment and Waste Management and World Economic Forum.

For more information about GEMI and participation in upcoming activities, visit or email GEMI’s Program Manager Kellen Mahoney at

About GEMI

GEMI is a global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment, their operations and add business value.

GEMI December Member Meeting

GEMI will hold a membership meeting on December 5, from 7:30AM – 3:00PM, at The Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square (901 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006). The meeting will include GEMI member and guest speaker presentations on topics such as circular economy, supply chain sustainability and industry-level sustainability initiatives. Thanks to GEMI members Schlumberger and Smithfield Foods for sponsoring this meeting.

Corporate environmental and sustainability representatives may apply to attend the meeting as GEMI’s guest. To request an invitation to the meeting, please complete the following:

Meeting Invitation Request

GEMI Publishes Quick Guide on Buyer / Supplier Collaboration on Sustainability

GEMI Quick Guide provides a short, easy-to-read view of how companies can engage with their suppliers in more collaborative ways to create shared value.

Washington, DC – The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), a global leader in developing insights, networking and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business, today published a Quick Guide on Buyer / Suppliers Collaboration on Sustainability.

The Quick Guide builds on GEMI’s Responsible Supply Chain Guiding Principles, published in 2017, and is intended to offer a simple framework for advancing buyer/supplier engagement on sustainability.

The Quick Guide may be used to support discussion within an organization, and with its suppliers and customers, about how to achieve greater business value from deeper collaboration on sustainability issues and opportunities.

Short case examples have been included throughout the Quick Guide to highlight how thoughtful and strategic engagement can reduce the burden on suppliers and deliver improved sustainability performance for both buyers and suppliers.

“GEMI developed its Responsible Supply Chain Guiding Principles to provide a framework to help guide the process for engaging suppliers regarding sustainability, advancing strategic collaborations and, promoting increased alignment across industry-focused supply chain sustainability initiatives” said Bill Gill, AVP Environmental Affairs, Smithfield Foods and GEMI’s Chair.  “This new Quick Guide builds on that framework established through the Guiding Principles to provide additional context relating to engaging with suppliers along with real-world examples to help companies to put the Guiding Principles into action.”

“GEMI’s Supply Chain Sustainability Work Group sought input from a variety of leading companies, third party providers, and industry associations to inform development of both the Responsible Supply Chain Guiding Principles as well as this Quick Guide,” said Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President and Director of Environmental Compliance, Gannett Fleming and GEMI’s Vice-Chair. “We greatly appreciate all those organizations that have taken the time to engage with GEMI and share their perspectives to help inform our discussions on this important topic.”

GEMI would like to thank the 2017/2018 GEMI member companies and Supply Chain Sustainability Work Group participants for their leadership and engagement in GEMI’s supply chain sustainability efforts, including American Chemistry Council, American Cleaning Institute, American Forest & Paper Association, Ashland, Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Corn Refiners Association, Dell, Ecolab, ExxonMobil Chemical, FedEx Corporation, Gannett Fleming, Hexion, IPIECA, Merck, Perdue Farms, Plastics Industry Association, Procter & Gamble, Schlumberger, SealedAir, Smithfield Foods, Smith & Nephew, UL Environment, Valvoline, Waste Management.

GEMI would also like to recognize and thank those external organizations that provided input through GEMI Supply Chain Sustainability workshops in 2017 and 2018, including CDP, Ecodesk, EcoVadis, Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance, Environmental Defense Fund, ISN, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative, SupplyShift, Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, The Sustainability Consortium, The Coca-Cola Company and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production.

Special thanks also to Mary Beth Jordan, MBJ Strategies and Kellen Mahoney, GEMI’s Program Manager for their work in supporting the creation of this Quick Guide.

The GEMI Quick Guide may be downloaded at:

About GEMI 
GEMI ( is a global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment, their operations and add business value.