Peter Harding, CEO Suntory Beverage & Food Europe assumes the role as of 1 July 2023
Peter Harding, CEO of Suntory Beverage & Food Europe, has been elected as the new President of Unesda Soft Drinks Europe, representing the non-alcoholic drinks industry in Europe. He takes up his two-year mandate from 1 July 2023, taking over the presidency from Ian Ellington of PepsiCo Europe.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Harding said: ‘’I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed President of Unesda for the next two years. Unesda has a solid reputation at EU level, and I couldn’t be more excited to build on our strong momentum to contribute to the transition to a more sustainable and healthier food system in Europe. The soft drinks sector plays a major role in the European economy and our entire value chain is estimated to be worth 185bn euros per annum.1 We are a valued employer and together with our suppliers and extended value chain we support 1.7 million jobs across Europe. As an important sector within food and drink, we believe we have a key leadership role to play to help drive strategic sustainable change for Europe, while supporting the growth ambitions of our sector. I am committed to accelerating our sector’s actions and look forward to working with all stakeholders on an enabling policy and regulatory framework.’’
Mr Harding also commented on the role Unesda and its network should continue to play in society: ‘’The soft drinks sector is a very local industry with more than 400 manufacturing plants located across Europe, all strongly connected to their local community. I will encourage our network around Europe to continue supporting relevant social initiatives. I am a true believer that we have the power to make the world a better place, and giving back to society is the key to making it real.’’
Reacting to Mr Harding’s appointment, Nicholas Hodac, director general of Unesda, said: ‘’I am thrilled to welcome Peter as the new President of Unesda and work closely together towards realising our sector’s ambitions at such a pivotal time for us. We are entering into our next strategic phase as major legislative files are being reviewed, such as the proposed EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, and we get ready for a new era of EU policy with the European elections next year. I greatly look forward to the next chapter of our incredible journey.’’
Hodac concluded: ‘’I also wish to express my debt of gratitude to our outgoing President, Ian Ellington, for his extraordinary leadership of Unesda in the past two years. Ian has significantly strengthened our association’s leadership role in driving circularity forward and helping European consumers to make more sustainable and healthier dietary choices.2 We have taken bold leaps forward and we will build upon this great progress.’’
1 The entire value chain of the soft drinks sector includes agricultural raw ingredients, raw materials for packaging, other soft drinks ingredients (e.g. water, syrups), R&D related to innovation across products and services, creative services, transport and distribution of products, retail sales (e.g. supermarkets) and foodservice sales (e.g. HORECA). Source: Global Data.
2 In 2021, Unesda announced a series of voluntary commitments in its two main priority areas for action: sustainability, and health and nutrition. In February 2021, Unesda launched its Circular Packaging Vision 2030, which aims to achieve full circularity of its beverage packaging by 2030. A few months later, in June2021, Unesda announced its new and enhanced commitments to continue to support European consumers in adopting healthier dietary habits.