More than 250 top packaging professionals from around the world attended the prestigious Summit of the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers held in Berlin from 18-20 May 2016.
FEFCO’s two-day conference was opened by incoming FEFCO President Jan Klingele, who gave an overview of the German corrugated market. Top speakers included Peter Ramsauer (former German minister and member of Bundestag), Ramón Alejandro Balet (President – SAICA), Jean-Paul Macharis (President – VPK Packaging Group), Gilles van Nieuwenhuyzen (Executive Vice President – Stora Enso), Dennis Colley (President – US Fibre Box Association) and Roberto Villaquiran (outgoing FEFCO President and CEO Europe – Smurfit Kappa).
Themed ‘Amazing Corrugated’, the Summit underlined that the industry has a fantastic product in corrugated packaging – offering protection, retail appeal, hygiene, efficient distribution and sustainability. As the European Commission is the first institution to legislate in favour of the circular economy, the corrugated industry is perfectly positioned to embrace the opportunities this offers.
Corrugated packaging is circular by nature; it is derived from sustainable forests and recyclable. The Corrugated Board Industry is addressing these challenges by minimising losses and reducing environmental impact. Bettina Lorz (European Commission) encouraged the audience to progress towards a more circular economic model and to use resources efficiently.
Summit delegates were asked to face up to the changes in the retail environment. Jean-Marc van Cutsem from DELFOOD gave a positive outlook on the impressive attributes of corrugated for retailers. “Retailers prefer corrugated packaging. In the changing retail landscape the industry can help optimise packaging functionality for single units, increase handling efficiency on the shelf and maximise the visual impact that corrugated offers for product promotion and value creation.”
Virginie Maille of SKEMA Business School explained how the skilful use of sensory marketing with colours, shapes, touch, taste and sound can trigger positive emotions in consumers. With its natural look, feel and smell, combined with design and printing possibilities, corrugated packaging is well positioned to exploit the opportunities sensory marketing presents.
Simon Southern and Niel Osment from NOA PRISM emphasized the fast changes in retail. “Corrugated has to adapt to new shopping trends and retailing systems.”
Outgoing FEFCO President Roberto Villaquiran concluded the Summit with a rallying call to the industry urging the audience to reclaim corrugated as the best packaging in the face of aggressive campaigning from competitors. “We must do more with customers, retailers and the EU. We must not only change ourselves but change the conversation and talk more about the added value our product brings as paper based packing is the only true example of the circular economy contributing to the targets set by the EU, be it landfill or recycling rates”.