On the final day of the FEFCO ‘Fit for the Future’ eco-summit, EU and NGO officials spoke in front of a half-empty hall. Obviously, guessing about the upcoming challenges, most of the guests left Amsterdam the day before)
“The EU Green Deal stands out in 3 ways: because of its ambition, one plan for one ecosystem, economic strategy and growth plan,” said Diederik Samsom, Head of Cabinet of Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, EU Commission.
“One of the ambitions is to be fully circular by 2030 because it is needed.
“EU aims to full climate neutrality, full circularity, stop of biodiversity loss and stop of pollution, and the paper & board packaging industry has essential role to make this happen.”
“We need competitive and resilient industry that provides jobs to the society and prosperity for the future,” said Tom Berendsen, Member of the European Parliament, Rapporteur for the European Industrial Strategy.
“European Commission needs to provide legislative pathways to ensure that the industry can support the Green Transition.
“Packaging industry has an enormous challenge and needs regulatory certainty.”
Outi Marin, Chair of the Sustainability & Circularity Working Group at FEFCO, presented the results of FEFCO studies on recycling & reuse, aiming to provide a scientific base for the EU packaging waste review.
Corrugated board is better in most of the impact categories in the baseline scenario. The most important being the climate change.
“NGOs have developed 6 principles to make packaging more sustainable,” said Piotr Barczak, Senior Policy Officer for Waste at European Environmental Bureau.
“Packaging should be: slow, small, local, clean, based on sustainable feedstock, and regenerative.
“In many cases prevention of packaging and reuse make more sense, but we invite the industry to open their minds to reuse.”
The closing remarks came from Dr. Jan H. Klingele, Klingele Group Managing Partner and FEFCO Vice President:
“It’s always a tremendous pleasure to be the last speaker,” he said. “When about half of the participants have left, you feel extremely appreciated. We are celebrating 70 years; we are a really strong association and we are very proud of the results the industry has achieved during this time. Last year, we showed serious growth, feeling that people need us more than ever.
“We have achieved some success in the decarbonization of production cycle, the transition to the principles of a circular economy. This has been emphasized in statements we got from high-ranking officers of FEFCO, our important clients. They told us that the industry is fit for the future and doing all the things right.
“However, we also invited academia and ultimate clients who told us very clearly, ‘We don’t like you’ and ‘We don’t need’em.’ After that, we were joined by the politicians from the EU and NGOs telling us: ‘You are the problem, and you have to change.’
“This is something that really should be taken very seriously when we go home. Maybe, we are not as fit for the future as we all would like, and that we need to rethink our strategies for the next decades.”
Lars Engel, Managing Director, BHS Corrugated:
“It’s always good when the industry comes together, discusses the future and possible ways, how to get there. The ESG theme is very important and we need to come to agreement how we manage to take the Green Deal to the corrugated industry.”
“What ecological solutions can your company offer to your customers?”
“Well, it’s all about productivity and saving materials, so if could lower the usage of paper even further, I think it would be best for the industry as a total.”
Dr. Jan H. Klingele, FEFCO Vice President:
“I could feel that a lot of attendees were very happy to meet again here, very excited by the board themes. I think they got lots of valuable inputs. It was a successful, highly-efficient meeting.”
“What are your further plans?”
“FEFCO plans to carry on activities it does all the time, from lobbying, collecting statistics, setting standards, norms, everything. We will have a technical seminar in October (in Lyon), we are looking forward to host again more than thousand people, bringing together all the technical suppliers and corrugated box makers. I think this meeting will also have a tremendous value, being a very efficient way and a very important technical aspect of our industry.”
The European Federation of Corrugated Cardboard Manufacturers FEFCO (Fédération Européenne des Fabricants de Carton Ondule) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of the production of corrugated cardboard products. It is the leading European organization of the industry.
Founded in 1952, it is headquartered in Brussels (Belgium). The activities of the association are governed by Belgian law.
The Federation’s role is to research economic, financial, technical and marketing issues of interest to the corrugated packaging industry, analyze factors that may affect the industry, and promote and develop the corrugated packaging.
In addition, FEFCO provides members with the latest information on the state of the market and technical innovations, controls and unifies the development and production of all kinds and types of corrugated board products.
Currently, FEFCO regroups 17 National Associations (active members), Corresponding members (corrugated board producers in countries where there is no National Association) and Sympathiser members (suppliers to the industry).
The FEFCO catalog (FEFCO Code) was first created in the late 1960s in order to normalize and standardize packaging produced in different countries of the world. Complex verbal descriptions of packaging designs were replaced with clear codes that entered the common database and became a storehouse of comfort when packaging manufacturers communicating with customers.
Since then, for more than 50 years, it has been a constantly updated and replenished directory of corrugated cardboard products, which includes complete information about all types and types of corrugated packaging. At the end of March 2022, the 12th edition of the FEFCO Code was released.
Packaging manufacturers use the catalog as an industry reference for all types of packaging work. In addition, the document allows you to refer to and rely on it in the event of trade disputes between competitors, so it is a kind of arbitration and the legislative framework (or constitution).
In some cases, the catalog allows deviations from its provisions due to the specifics of the market of a particular country (for example, China), but in general it has no alternative.
The FEFCO international standard regulates which corrugated cardboard is suitable for the production of packaging, what types of cardboard packaging can be considered basic (globally accepted standards), what types of cardboard box designs can be produced, what external or internal elements of the packaging can be, what methods of closing the package can be used, what methods of gluing products can be used.
01 – Commercial rolls and sheets (9 new positions in the 12th edition);
02 – Slotted boxes (11 new positions) – consist of basically one piece with a glued, stitched or taped manufacturers joint and top and bottom flaps. They are shipped flat, ready to use and require closing using the flaps provided;
03 – Telescopic boxes (1 new position) – usually consist of more than one piece (e.g. top and bottom) and they fit over each other;
04 – Folder boxes and trays (28 new positions) – are usually made from one piece of board. The bottom of the box is hinged to form two or all side walls and the cover. Locking tabs, handles, display panels, etc. can be incorporated in some designs;
05 – Slide boxes – consist of several pieces of liners and sleeves sliding in different directions into each other. This group also includes outside sleeves for other cases;
06 – Rigid boxes – consist of two separate end pieces and a body that require stitching or a similar operation before they can be used;
07 – Ready-glued cases (19 new positions) – consist of basically one piece, are shipped flat and ready to use by simple assembly;
08 – Retail and e-commerce packaging (a whole new category of 49 positions) – shows the typical styles used for Point of Sale (POS) displays and trays as well as styles for the online trade;
09 – Interior fitments (10 new positions) – inside liners, pads, partitions, dividers, etc. whether integrated in the box design or as separate items. Any shown number of panels is arbitrary and may be increased or decreased as required.
Photos and videos by Svitlana Volokh, Amsterdam