React Root Component
Contact Us

ISTA 2024: The Biggest Trends and Insights Driving Forward the Packaging Industry

At ISTA 2024, the best and brightest of the packaging community tackled the industry’s biggest challenges, explored best practices, and revealed the latest trends. We review the highlights and takeaways from this essential industry event.

The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) 2024 has proven to be another successful forum for collaboration, learning, and networking.  The ISTA Forum, which includes the TransPack and TempPack events, is where the packaging community comes together to tackle the industry’s biggest challenges, explore best practices, and discover the latest trends.

One of the most anticipated events of the three-day ISTA forum is attending the educational sessions where the best and brightest of the industry gather to share their insights. This impressive group of speakers discussed critical information on package design and testing standards, sustainability, distribution, and more. Let’s take a look at the highlights and takeaways from the forum.


Tackling Sustainability Through Collaboration

The common theme of the ISTA 2024 Forum was collaboration. To move the industry forward, speakers urged the audience to amplify efforts to collaborate both internally and externally.  

Sustainability is a tremendous priority and most companies invest in promoting their sustainability efforts. By collaborating as an industry, we can share data and amplify messaging to educate B2C consumers and B2B decision-makers on the value of sustainable packaging.  

Industry players should be willing to share their respective insights to make a more positive impact on the environment. The ability to measure impact – and learn from it – is a critical piece of the puzzle.

Sharing data among ourselves can accelerate an understanding of our supply chains and provide the opportunity to increase efficiency and performance across the collective industry. 


EPR and State Regulations Produce Industry-wide Concern

Several sessions were dedicated to proposed Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations and state rules affecting the industry. EPR is a policy that assigns greater responsibility for the end-of-life management of the products to packaging companies and encourages innovations in product design. Four states have finalized EPR legislation for packaging (California, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon), and more are looking at enacting regulations.  

Again, the industry must collaborate to advocate for the value of packaging and advise our peers to focus on improving performance rather than material type.   


Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Improving Professional Performance

Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominates today’s news and it was a big topic at the ISTA Forum. AI and Machine Learning are emerging as critical tools for improving performance and saving time.

Engineers and business professionals are adopting AI-driven tools to bolster efficiency in time-consuming, yet critical tasks. Engineers are turning to AI product design tools to conduct product validation and simulated testing. Companies are discovering these tools reduce the costs and material waste required for physical testing practices.

Beyond design and testing, marketing efforts are increasingly bolstered by emerging AI tools, allowing for quicker, more comprehensive efforts – especially where teams are short-staffed.  

The cold-chain packaging and logistics side is also exploring greater use of technology. Recently, the industry has mandated greater transparency from their providers and partners about their sustainability practices.

Business sustainability rating providers like Eco Vadis and Carbon Disclosure Project/CDP are emerging tools for disclosing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts. Pharma logistics providers are incorporating sustainability metrics in lane risk assessments and supplier qualification with tools like Validaide.

As for product-specific solutions, some companies aim for greater sustainability by focusing on reusable shippers or shifting from a linear to a circular economy. Quantifying data, specifically a lifecycle analysis (LCA), provides a framework to measure environmental impacts and make practical decisions on those product-specific solutions. These data points are one additional way to more scientifically gauge environmental impact, but also trace a solution back to a company’s measurable sustainability goals.

This year’s Forum served as an inspiration for forward-thinking companies to continue to innovate sustainable packaging practices, use AI to drive greater performance, and come together and collaborate to foster a better future for the industry.


If you have a packaging challenge, we invite you to learn more about ISTA or visit Pregis for more resources.