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22-12-20 - Ellison

End-of-year message FINAT President

Dear FINAT members,

To call this a challenging year would be the understatement of the year (and where I come from this would be an achievement in itself). 2020 will be remembered as the year of the Pandemic, and with the current ‘second wave’ of the virus it is quite likely that we will be faced with much of the same during the first half of 2021. It seems like ages ago when our MD and I had a chat mid-February about potential scenarios for the Technical Seminar that was supposed to be held in Barcelona at the beginning of March, after a mysterious virus originating in China had entered Europe through northern Italy and was spreading rapidly around Europe.

The rest is history, but if there is one thing that 2020 has proven is that our industry is not only an essential part of society’s critical infrastructure, but also able to adapt fast to abrupt changes like the Pandemic crisis. Last summer, during two special FINAT briefings in July, we reflected on the results and experiences of the label sector during the spring lockdowns and I encourage you to read the report, showing that our industry passed the stress test.

Also FINAT has had to adapt rapidly. Our online Technical Seminar at the beginning of December attracted no less than 360 registrations, whilst our online Label Awards Ceremony a week earlier has meanwhile been viewed by over 750 people. Our on-going programme of FINAT webinars and FINAT briefings has increased not only in frequency but also in average number of visitors. After missing out on the 2020 edition scheduled for Rome last June, the European Label Forum 2021 will be turned into a 5-day ‘hybrid experience’, each day focusing on a different aspect of our business.

In this sense, the Pandemic has fast forwarded our association into the digital age. However, the strength of the label community and FINAT as its platform is in the personal relations and the network, and now that there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccines arriving from different providers (all needing labels of course!), all eyes are on September when hopefully we can meet again at Labelexpo Europe.

I look forward to meeting you again in 2021! Have a wonderful Christmas break!

Chris Ellison