headline press information

Date 27th October 2011 / www.procarton.com
Title Interview with the new Chairman of ECMA
Text Andreas Blaschke is the new president of ECMA (European Carton Makers Association). Despite the difficult economic environment, he sees significant opportunities for cartonboard and cartons—due to the facts that they are sustainable and have significant innovative potential. We spoke with him about the future of the carton industry, his plans for ECMA and the collaboration with Pro Carton. For download in print quality, please click on the photo.

Pro Carton: The economic outlook today is not very encouraging. How do you see the overall economic situation and what do you feel will be the influence on the European folding carton industry?

Financial crisis, recession, crash – the information situation has become very opaque for companies as well as consumers. On top of that, permanent changing opinions and directions have erased confidence to a great extent. Even the supply of massive liquidity at low interest rates might not bring along big changes. Almost all industrial sectors have started to report decreasing orders, capacity utilisation and thus pricing power. Perhaps it’s rather the silence before a big stagnation than before the big storm.
Yet, private consumption and folding carton demand still don’t seem that much affected. But all indicators are pointing downward.


Pro Carton: What are the trends in the various market sectors in cartons – are some parts of the industry performing better than others and if so why is this do you think?

Packaging for foodstuff is usually more stable with regards to the general economic performance and non-food products such as electronics and other durable consumer goods will always be more exposed. Dealing with ever increasing complexity, short lead times and high quality at continuously falling prices will stay a challenge for everyone in the industry. The highest level of flexibility linked with the best possible efficiency will stay key.


Pro Carton: The packaging market is focusing more and more on sustainability and efficiency. Do you see the folding carton industry well prepared and set-up for this development?

Yes definitely, as folding cartons have very strong sustainable arguments being based on renewable raw materials and that the product can be recycled completely after consumption. And we hear that the general public is becoming increasingly concerned about plastics & flexibles.


Pro Carton: Innovation has always been key for entering new markets. Where do you see new fields for folding cartons – e.g. internet marketing or new barrier technologies?

Shelf appearance and conviction at the moment of truth are gaining more and more in importance. As a consequence lots of attention is directed to the final consumer decision – by the branded goods manufacturers as well as by private labels producers. And innovation covering all aspects of folding cartons is paramount in winning in this crucial moment. On an annual basis, the ECMA Award exhibits the “best innovative in class”.


Pro Carton: What opportunities do you see for future developments of EMCA and the co-operation with Pro Carton?

ECMA was set up in 1960 by 10 national carton associations in Europe. The idea was to provide a European networking and information platform for their members in the context of post War recovery and to stimulate technological development and standardisation at a time that supermarkets were still a curiosity and markets were mostly restricted to national territories. Now, more than 50 years later, the situation has changed drastically. The European Union is now a mature, integrated market, customers and suppliers have become European or even global and the playing field for carton makers therefore extends far beyond their national home market. To a large extent, legislation relevant to the packaging sector is dictated by Brussels and customers are no longer willing to support different practices for different countries. All this demands a stronger European umbrella organisation for the carton industry. Over the past 10 years ECMA has gradually extended its European presence by offering platforms for carton makers with a European scope, but more is needed. In our ‘Roadmap 2015’ we have defined 5 key objectives for the future:
1. To encourage the European folding carton industry to raise the bar and improve its overall financial and operational performance on an international scale.
2. To establish folding cartons as the trusted ‘safe for food’ packaging.
3. To obtain recognition of cartons as the sustainable packaging of choice for customers.
4. To upgrade the overall positioning of the sector in relation to legislative authorities, media and stakeholders.
5. To secure the recognition of ECMA as the competent pan-European umbrella for the carton sector.


In many of these areas, ECMA and Pro Carton have interests in common, for instance in the promotion of our product, in establishing a dialogue with our supply chain and representing our common interest as cartonboard packaging providers towards European authorities, media and stakeholders. A critical condition of success in this respect is however that we align our efforts and that there is a sense of joint ‘ownership’ between carton makers and the board industry when we determine our common goals, programmes and actions.

Pro Carton: What are your personal targets for your ECMA presidency?

A first imperative will be set upon turning the ECMA organisation into a
more powerful and effective organisation.
Second, to speak with a stronger voice at the relevant European and national bodies.
And third, to attract more interest from members, corporates as well as from national representatives.

Andreas Blaschke, Chairman of ECMA

Andreas Blaschke

Andreas Blaschke, Chairman of ECMA



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.