Two Fonterra packaging professionals have become the first Kiwis to receive the CPP, certified packaging professional designation.
Chris Hartwell MAIP, packaging innovation & development manager Coster Ngirazi packaging technologist, work for Fonterra Co-operative Group. Under the partnership between the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) in the U.S. and the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), packaging professionals across Australasia can attain this designation now.
Hartwell and Nigirazi had different reasons for applying for CPP. Hartwell says, “I applied for the CPP designation because I see a lot of expertise within the industry going unrecognised. Being keen for my team to pursue the designation I thought I might as well lead from the front – if I don’t do it how, can I encourage my team to?”
Nigirazi adds, “After working in different parts of the world I wanted to have a wider network with packaging professionals. With WPO (World Packaging Organisation) and AIP (Australian Institute of Packaging) formally recognising CPP designation, it was worth giving it a go in attaining the certification. I wanted to get a deeper industry reach and have stronger peer connections worldwide working on multiple packaging fields.
AIP describes CPP as the leading mark of excellence for packaging internationally. Hartwell agrees, saying, “Having the Certified Packaging Professional designation shows that the industry has people who are highly competent in what they do and that the designation is live. It is not a designation that you get and then do not need to work at to keep it live – that is the beauty of it. The designation of CPP for the wider group of packaging practitioners in the industry I believe is more important than for the individual.
Nigirazi says, “Receiving the Certified Packaging Professional (CPP) designation is important as it covers a very broad packaging aspect and has global recognition; it provides a sense of belonging to the packaging world; a must have if you are a packaging enthusiast like me.
“It is very important and very significant to my career. Adding the CPP designation to my name seals my adventurous packaging career. I have always wanted something very significant for myself in packaging so I did a MSc Packaging Technology at Brunel University in London, UK in 2005 and was enticed to do PhD in Packaging in Michigan thereafter. Attaining CPP designation will provide me some self-satisfaction and a mark of excellence to my career – A sense of belonging to the packaging world.
Hartwell spent about 10 years in the food industry in a range of technical and supervisory roles before moving into the packaging industry. He says, “I started in the corrugated case industry with Printpac UEB (which later became CHH) in New Zealand as quality assurance manager, on to process improvement and then regional technical manager before moving to the dark side and into a regional sales role for dairy packaging with CHH.
“After 10 years in the paperboard packaging industry I moved to Unilever as their NZ packaging manager, before a family move saw me heading up Fonterra’s Packaging Technical Centre at Whareroa in New Zealand. Following a couple of years there I moved south with Fonterra and have been based at their R&D Centre for the last 12 years as packaging innovation and development manager. I have packaging expertise in packaging regulatory compliance, materials technology and supply chain optimisation coupled with the desire to learn something new every day.
“After a few years you build up a lot of corporate knowledge (you get to see the good and the bad and you learn how to fix things that may have happened in the past) and you build a good network of people that can bring new ideas and make stuff happen.”
Nigirazi has spent 20 years in packaging. His skills and areas of expertise include new product development, plastics materials and processing, packaging optimisation, packaging design, project management, packaging waste management, and packaging validation. His work experience includes FMCG – cosmetics, toiletries and detergents, personal products, food & dairy and retail/general merchandise.
He says, “I started my packaging career with Unilever Zimbabwe. I have worked in Zimbabwe, United Kingdom and New Zealand. I have worked in different packaging roles but mainly as packaging development technologist. Within Fonterra, my roles included packaging and process development and validation for dairy commodities for four years; new product development for nutritional dairy products in metal cans and sachets and my current role involves providing quality packaging technology outputs in New Product Development (NPD) for Fonterra Global Brands.”
AIP says attaining the CPP designation makes an excellent investment in professional development adding that the credential defines the packaging professional and allows organisations to seek out and hire the right professional based on verified knowledge, skills and industry contributions.
AIP states: “CPP is a designation some of the leading packaging companies in the world want their influential team members to have because it demonstrates broad competency in all major areas of packaging. CPPs today typically enjoy more senior, decision-making positions in their companies, and research also suggests that holders of CPP often out-earn their non-certified peers. CPP credential demonstrates that a packaging practitioner possesses packaging knowledge, experience and skills to the degree that they deserve recognition as a true packaging professional; a cut above their peers. To find out more about the Certified Packaging Professional designation, email the AIP on

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *