From the GM’s desk

It’s been an eventful few months since our Christmas newsletter. The backlash against plastic waste continues unabated and, as a consequence, seems to be having a positive effect on the carton market as brand owners and retailers look to review their packaging choices. I hope all of our direct and indirect members are seeing the benefit. Of course, we’ve seen a variety of statements and policy decisions being made by both governments and retailers with perhaps Iceland Frozen Foods’ vow to remove plastic completely from their own label range being the most dramatic. We’ve also seen the implementation of the first plastic free aisle in The Netherlands and I’m sure there’s more to come. It’s important for us, however, to continue to promote the advantages of cartonboard as there is still some ignorance amongst groups of consumers. One study, admittedly in the UK where understanding about sustainability is probably lower than in some other countries, showed a worryingly high number of people still thought that paper-based packaging caused a reduction in forests. As most readers will know, European forests are growing by the equivalent of 1,500 soccer pitches every day! Entries for the Pro Carton Young Designers Award opened some weeks ago and we have already had nearly 100 entries, far more at this stage than ever before. This year we’ve doubled the number of winners so 4 lucky young designers will get the chance to visit the state-of-the-art Metsä Board mill in Finland and also Europe’s leading carton converter, Mayr Melnhof Packaging in Austria. Our thanks go to both organisations for their generous sponsorship. In the Carton Excellence Awards we’ve changed some of the categories to more closely reflect the tonnage split across the market and hopefully encourage more mass market entries. Whilst it’s good to celebrate the high quality finishes and effects used at the premium end of the market we should also recognise the structural innovation that goes on in more everyday products and we hope the new categories will help us to do that. Finally, we will be writing separately regarding the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which comes into force on May 25th. Please make sure you positively confirm that you wish to continue to receive our mails, otherwise the new legislation obliges us to strike you off, and that would be a shame. Best wishes Tony Hitchin General Manager