headline press information

Date 30th June 2010 / www.procarton.com

Brief Interview with Öystein Aksnes


Öystein Aksnes has been appointed as President of CEPI Cartonboard, the Association that brings together most of the cartonboard manufacturers in Europe and also some from the USA. After spending much of his career at former MoDo-group and Iggesund Paperboard, Oystein joined Stora Enso in 2008 and currently operates as Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Carton Board. Here he talks to Richard Dalgleish about CEPI Cartonboard and his plans for the future.

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Congratulations on your appointment as President of CEPI Cartonboard. Can you let me know what involvement you have had with this Association before?

Thank you. I am excited about the future of CEPI Cartonboard and plan to continue and build upon what has been achieved under my predecessor, Franz Rappold. I have been a member of the Board of Directors previously but then had a spell away from that but have now rejoined the Board and was appointed President at the Annual Assembly that was held in May in Edinburgh. Throughout my career I have felt that the Association has a most valuable role to play in providing timely and useful information to our members but also linking with other groups both within, and outside, the wider paper industry to ensure the voice of cartonboard is heard and that the issues that affect our industry are well understood.


Food contact is one of the main topics currently being discussed. Can you tell me what involvement CEPI Cartonboard has on this topic?

Indeed this is well up the agenda at the moment and will continue to occupy many people in the future. This is a vital issue for our industry and only recently we have set up a technical working group to follow and monitor all that happens in the area to ensure that the cartonboard industry has the best knowledge available and is meeting and exceeding all the regulations that are in place. Many cartonboard producers are also closely following food safety issues and are taking needed measures to provide safe packaging material. It is also essential that we work with the carton manufacturing industry and this is also covered in the working group we have set up. At each board meeting we will get a report on activity and progress as this is one of the issues that the board wants to follow closely to ensure that everything possible is being done to ensure that the message that cartons and cartonboard are a safe and reliable packaging material, gets across to the whole supply chain.


I understand that statistics are one of the main outputs of CEPI Cartonboard. How do they help you assess and understand the market?

Over many years CEPI Cartonboard has developed its statistical services and now we have what I believe are amongst the best trade statistics in the paper and board industry. Because our membership covers over 90% of cartonboard production in Europe we can be sure that the figures we produce are accurate and reliable. Additionally, because we have a high level of expertise within the industry in Europe amongst our membership and a long history of statistical services, we are able to accurately assess quantities coming in from other parts of the world so we can then build op a fuller picture of consumption in Europe. In terms of understanding and assessing the markets, they are a vital resource to all our members and we also run a statistical working group that is constantly monitoring and responding to the needs of the whole membership so that adjustments and enhancements can be made on a regular basis.


Carbon Footprint and sustainability in general are currently right at the top of the agenda. How is CEPI cartonboard tackling these issues?

We work very closely with Pro Carton on these subjects as they contract a specialist in these fields to maintain full awareness of all that is happening and promote the benefits of using cartonboard as the most sustainable packaging material. With such great emphasis on sustainability in general and carbon footprint in particular, Pro Carton, on whose board I also sit, is constantly updating its data on carbon footprint and the most recent results show a 7% improvement over the last 3 years. Additionally, they will shortly be publishing a new and fully updated booklet entitled “Carbon footprinting and cartons” which will look at all aspects of sustainability in detail and demonstrate that cartonboard and cartons are the ideal packaging medium. The Board of CEPI Cartonboard receive regular and detailed updates on all that is happening in this field so they can offer suggestions and advice on the key topics that affect the industry.


Whilst CEPI Cartonboard is essentially a European operation how do you see it developing further afield in the future?

We are fortunate in that we have two US based cartonboard producers who are members in Europe and this certainly enhances our coverage and knowledge. Through our links with many other groups and associations we also keep abreast of what is happening in the cartonboard sector throughout the world and I plan to ensure that this is continued and developed.


What plans do you have for your Presidency? Is there anything specific you wish to achieve?

I am fortunate in having taken over the Presidency of a well managed, well organised and effective Association. We have a huge depth of knowledge from all our members and the statistics, that I said earlier, are amongst the best in the industry. My aim is to ensure that at the very least this is all maintained and I will work to look for improvements wherever they can be found. The needs of our members are paramount and I will do all I can to ensure that they derive solid and lasting benefit from their membership. Also being a member of the steering group of Pro Carton will give me the opportunity to look for, and help implement, new initiatives that will ensure the whole packaging chain get as much information on the benefits of cartonboard as possible. This is a challenge I welcome and I very much look forward to leading CEPI Cartonboard over the coming years.


Thank you very much

Öystein Aksnes, President CEPI Cartonboard

Öystein Aksnes, President CEPI Cartonboard

Richard Dalgleish +44 777 613 8510 dalgleish@procarton.com
Suzanne McEwen +43 1 218 6918 mcewen@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.