FINAT (a abbreviation of the French title: Féderation INternationale des fabricants et transformateurs d'Adhésifs et Thermocollants sur papiers et autres supports) is all about labels and people. In 2008 FINAT celebrated its 50th anniversary, its Golden jubilee.
THE FOUNDATION OF FINAT
Building on the success of the Coal and Steel Treaty, six countries expanded cooperation to other economic sectors. In 1957, Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries signed the Treaty of Rome, creating the European Economic Community (EEC), or 'common market'. The idea was for people, goods and services to move freely across borders.
One of the objectives of the Treaty was to transform the conditions of trade and manufacture in the territory of the Community. The Treaty set the scene for further cross border cooperation at sector level and this culminated in the foundation of various European associations in subsequent years.
On the initiative of the French label association, at the time the only national label association in Europe, and in particular André Strauss, a group of 20 companies got together in Paris to lay the foundations for an international association dedicated to the label sector. FINAT was officially founded in November 1958.
What started as a small convention of pioneers in a young, emerging industry in Europe has developed into an organisation of over 500 companies spanning all disciplines in self-adhesive labelling in more than 50 countries worldwide.
FINAT's CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF SELF-ADHESIVE LABELLING
One of the aims of FINAT from its foundation has been to develop, promote and defend the interests of self-adhesive labelling. This mission has been part of the FINAT articles of Association and no doubt was the explicit wish of the founding fathers in the late 1950s. Over the last 50 years FINAT has done a lot to achieve these aims.
In order to understand the importance of FINAT's actions one has to take into consideration the time when they happened. In the year of FINAT's foundation, Europe was still divided into individual countries each surrounded by tax barriers with the aim of protecting its national industry. Consequently local, national, associations were far more effective than international associations. Communication took place through telephone, telex and mail, travelling by train was usual and by plane still exceptional. Under those circumstances it was not easy to develop a new industry and/or to lauch a new product (self-adhesive labelling), which was only partly known at the time. The foundation of FINAT however and the fact that the pioneers met at regular intervals under the single roof of the association, in those days a unique happening, contributed considerably in lines of communication. Without a doubt the meetings as such and the networking on an international level have been a great step on the way towards the global approach of today. One of the examples of FINAT's move to globalisation were the inter-continental visits which FINAT offered its members including Japan, Australia, USA and recently India (2006) and China (2007). With all these activities and visits FINAT contributed to enlarging the self-adhesive labelling family.
However, networking at international meetings was not all the founding fathers wished. One of the first activities FINAT undertook was the establishment of a Technical Committee with the aim of working on standards and test methods. It was followed by the set-up of the Marketing Committee, active in promoting self-adhesive labelling. Later on FINAT contributed to cross-border communication by publishing and updating a glossary and dictionary in three languages and also other unique publications like the Technical Handbook, the Educational Handbook and the FINAT News which appeared 4 times a year in 3 different languages. Technical seminars and educational modules were designed to improve knowledge and expertise. Statistical information explored markets and market drivers. The annual FINAT label competition gave converters the chance to excel in their performance and to showcase their best labels. The new millenium saw the reassessement of FINAT's environmental strategy. Initiatives to promote the development and exploration of new recycling concepts for secondary materials from the label industry, and especially liners, were introduced.
It goes without saying that the list of activities does not stop there. FINAT will always be looking for new challenges and areas of interest, whilst at the same time maintaining and enhancing current initiatives to service its members.
THE COLLECTIVE APPROACH
It can be stated that FINAT has been and still is a success story. However, without the good will of individuals FINAT would not have reached the mountain top. The long standing support from converters and suppliers has been absolutely vital. Progress is only possible through a collective approach. We therefore take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken an interest in our activities and contributed to the development of our association.
If you are not a member and would like to join the label family click here for more information on the membership.
UNITED IN LABELS
The above article is just a small excerpt from the vast list of achievements our associations has attained. The full report can be found in the publication 'United in Labels' which was published on the occasion of our 50th anniversary. Click here for more information on how to order this book.