Once again, an incredible and very turbulent year is behind us.

The first half of 2022 was marked by tensions in the supply of raw materials and other resources and then by the unprecedented and volatile development of energy prices, which had a dramatic impact on the entire supply chain and even led to machine standstills in the paper industry.  In the second half of the year, we have already felt the effects of high inflation and demand for fibre-based packaging has calmed down to more normal levels.  The Covid 19 crisis and the war in Ukraine continue to weigh on the economy and forecasts are hardly possible.  Thanks to our colleagues in member companies and increasing cooperation across the supply chain, we have overcome all challenges so far and will continue to do so as far as can be foreseen.

Our industry is excellently positioned across Europe and consumers simply love sustainable packaging.  Building on these strengths, we will continue to grow as the entire supply chain moves even closer together and each individual becomes even more committed to the common cause.  Especially in times of numerous social, economic and political uncertainties, we need to be a professionally reliable partner for both retailers and the branded goods industry.

For 2023 …  The crises are not over, but will continue next year!  Securing affordable energy prices remains a focus and I believe inflation will dampen this demand across the economy.

The consultation on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation is going into the next round.  This EU regulation is the most important our industry has ever seen and it will have a major impact on the future of our sector – for decades to come.  It is therefore crucial to combine the strength and voice of the fibre packaging sector – through the Fibre Packaging Europe coalition of associations – so that our voice is heard in Brussels.  We will continue to represent our interests through this coalition and other alliances and keep you informed.

We will step up our efforts to communicate to brand owners, retailers, NGOs and consumers the excellent benefits of sustainable cartonboard and carton packaging that delivers goods safely and hygienically.

Another year of uncertainty in terms of market development, raw materials and energy supply lies ahead, and legal opportunities lie ahead as well, and you can be sure that we will do our utmost to advocate the interests of our industry and keep you informed.

The Christmas season is one of the last havens for rest and reflection. After this stormy year, you all deserve some time out. Take the opportunity to make yourself and your loved ones happy. Enjoy a harmonious Christmas and give the gift of time! I wish you all a healthy, happy and successful 2023!

Horst Bittermann, Director General Pro Carton