2014: Major challenges and great expectations

With the Interpack due from 8. to 14. May in Düsseldorf we asked Pro Carton President Roland Rex about the current situation in packaging. His summary: this year and the coming years the Packaging Supply Chain will face major challenges, and they will be accompanied by considerable opportunities for cartonboard and cartons. In 2014, the Interpack in Düsseldorf will again prove to be a meeting point for all partners in the supply chain. Pro Carton will be present at the joint stand with the Association of German Paper Manufacturers (VDP) and the Association of the German Carton Industry (FFI) in Hall 9, Stand J13. What do you expect from Interpack? To start with: numerous visitors to our stand. Of course, the main attractions are the winners of the Pro Carton ECMA Awards 2013, especially the Carton of the Year, a sensational packaging for champagne. By the way, the deadline for entries to this year's Pro Carton ECMA Awards 2014 is 6. June 2014. Things look extremely promising: never before have entries reached us so early as well as phone calls and queries. And secondly, good discussions. We are facing a revolution in the retail trade, and this naturally affects packaging. The Packaging Supply Chain needs to network far more closely and exchange know-how to make the most of the coming challenges. Pro Carton and ECMA are already preparing their first major joint congress which will be one of this year's highlights. This will be a meeting point for the entire supply chain of the packaging industry. We will all close ranks to communicate better, not only just to meet the multiple requirements, but for the benefit of cartons in specific. What do you expect from 2014? The long expected economic recovery from the crisis in 2008 is gradually taking hold and comes just in time for new packaging tasks and the fundamental changes predicted for the supply chain. It will be an exciting year for all of us, we are all challenged to be extremely flexible and creative as a response. All areas are encouraged to think and contribute their ideas. New impulses are needed consistently from all areas. The joint ECMA Pro Carton Congress in September with many top class presentations will hopefully herald first results. It is very important for us to promote creativity, and 2014 provides us with yet another highlight: our international Pro Carton Young Design Award, which is held every two years, takes place again this year. Its purpose is to motivate young designers and involve them in the future of our industry. In my 2013 speech at the occasion of the 25. Pro Carton anniversary I already underlined how important it is to ready ourselves for the future. Much of what I addressed last year has become part of the development this year. Does this also include basic research? Quite correct. In the past two years we have experienced tremendous success with our study "Packaging: a medium with considerable power". The study became one the most quoted studies in the industry and presented numerous times throughout Europe. Above all, the study proved effective and has been incorporated in the development work of marketing and design departments. At the ECMA Pro Carton Congress in September we will be presenting another study on the fundamentals. All I can reveal at the moment is: the study is a cooperation with the trade research institute EHI and will cover the topic "Multi-Channel“ distribution, which will also be a major topic at the congress. We are presently working on a relaunch of www.procarton.com and will be able to reveal more in the coming months. How do you view the future opportunities of cartons? The new presentation and distribution channels in conjunction with the internet have led to an extensive re-evaluation of the entire logistic chain. It has become clear that sustainability is not just a question of good will, but also a question of costs: sustainable packaging, sustainable logistics are considerably less expensive long-term. These days nothing goes without environmental responsibility, also for cost reasons. It has become an inseparable part of corporate policy, and, of course, these are ideal conditions for cartonboard and cartons being the most sustainable form of packaging. No part of the production chain can bypass these considerations. Sustainability has become an absolute necessity and is quite rightfully demanded by consumers. This forms the basis of the success story surrounding cartonboard and cartons as witnessed by numerous packaging relaunches and new products. You are welcome to visit us at the Interpack in Düsseldorf from 8. to 14. May 2014 and best reserve a meeting date in advance with Suzanne E. McEwen, Pro Carton Marketing Communications: 0043 676 4244 637, or Jennifer Buhaenko, Head of Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs: buhaenko@procarton.com