More than 300 top packaging professionals from around the world attended the prestigious European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO) Summit in London from 4-6 June. The Summit opened with a Cocktail reception sponsored by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI). Andy Barnetson, CPI’s Director of Packaging Affairs, commented: “We were very pleased to welcome colleagues to London. It is a vibrant city with a great future, two things that it has in common with the Corrugated Industry.”
Several speakers addressed FEFCO’s two-day conference, including Paul Earnshaw (Packaging Manager, Tesco), Alison Coudene (European Procurement Group Manager, Nestlé), James Walton (Chief Economist, IGD), Miles Roberts (Group Chief Executive, DS Smith) and Gary McGann (Chief Executive of Smurfit Kappa Group).
Themed ‘Re-igniting the Flame’, taking its inspiration from the successful 2012 London Olympics, many important topics were discussed at the Summit including the challenges facing the Corrugated Industry today, how to improve end-user perceptions and the impact of EU legislation.
The importance of corrugated partners working with customers to understand their future needs in an evolving retail world was emphasised by speakers from the retail sector on the second day of the conference.
In his speech, Tesco’s Paul Earnshaw said: “We need to engage with the packaging supply chain because packaging offers us a huge opportunity. But the Corrugated Industry needs to identify the benefits, not the features, of their packaging, and put the consumer at the centre of everything they do.”
While Alison Coudene of Nestlé told the audience: “Packaging has a critical role in reducing waste and complexity across the supply chain. We also need the Corrugated Industry to help us differentiate ourselves with innovation.”
Corrugated’s qualities in terms of printing, design, hygiene, logistics, sustainability and protection are renowned, while its flat printable surface is ready-made for exploiting digital platforms, such as Smartphone apps and Quick Response (QR) codes, meeting consumers’ growing appetite for instant access to product and dietary information.
Andy Barnetson says that embracing new innovations, such as print-on-demand and personalised packaging, will further boost corrugated’s appeal and help the material retain its popularity with retailers and consumers alike.
He commented: “It was a very successful event in London. The UK Corrugated Industry is investing significantly in new technology in response to a challenging retail landscape. However, it is clear from the speakers at the conference that corrugated must remain forward-thinking to retain its position at the forefront of the Packaging Industry.”