An incredible and very turbulent year lies behind us. The supply of raw materials as well as other resources has been – and remains – tense, and we have experienced significant costs increases. The Covid-19 crisis continues to burden the economy and forecasts are virtually impossible. Thanks to our colleagues in our member companies as well as growing cooperation across the entire supply chain, we have overcome all the challenges we have faced so far and will continue to do so as far as can be anticipated.

Our industry is excellently positioned across Europe and consumers just love sustainable packaging. Based 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 these times of numerous societal and economic uncertainties, we need to be professionally reliable partners for both retailers and the branded goods industry.

I was particularly pleased by the widespread and growing support that Pro Carton’s longstanding efforts have met with this year. The response is both tangible and enormous. It starts with the recent record number of submissions for our awards. Despite some of the most difficult conditions, companies, educators, designers and students have not let the coronavirus prevent them from doing their part to ensure that sustainable packaging continues to gain ground [see Award News]. In addition, numerous studies have shown that consumers attach great and increasing importance to packaging that simply “feels good”, both haptically and in terms of its environmental performance [see Publications]. Cartonboard sells the packaged product most sustainably.

By closing ranks across our borders, the entire fibre-based packaging supply chain has set its ambitious target – a 90% recycling rate by 2030 – with the 4evergreen alliance. Both Mike Turner and I were able to contribute to the progress in the Steering Committee and, among other things, standardised methods for evaluating the recyclability of packaging and Europe-wide design guidelines for recycling will soon be published.

The Christmas season is one of the last havens for calm 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, prosperous and happy 2022!

Horst Bittermann
President Pro Carton