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22-12-22 - Philippe Voet

President’s Blog: Looking back at 2022 and best wishes for 2023

Dear FINAT members, 2022 has come to an end, and as usual I would like to close our agenda by presenting you the 18th edition of the FINAT RADAR, our 6-monthly market monitor.

This edition comes at the end of a year in which our industry faced multiple challenges, both internally and externally. The label story of 2022 undoubtedly has been that of the strike at one of our largest upstream suppliers that almost lasted one third of the year. The resulting paper shortages demanded the utmost in terms of stress resistance. Fortunately, the past two years already demonstrated the label industry’s ability to be flexible, creative, to adapt and collaborate: first after the outbreak of the Pandemic in support of the essential infrastructure and then, a year later, when consumer spending picked up rapidly after one year of hardly any spending in lockdown.

While the paper shortages caused our industry to temporarily slow down, time will tell what the impact of the next disruption, the energy and raw materials crisis caused by the horrific war in Ukraine and the resulting inflationary tendencies will be. Will disposable income be hit or will government support packages and excess consumer savings in the past few years help the economy weather the storm? How will the supply chain behave after this year’s experience, and where will our stock levels be beyond the backlogs, if or RATHER when the economy turns into a recession?

The impact of events on label users

This edition of the RADAR assesses the impact of the events of 2022 on label users’ sourcing projections for 2023, but also on their procurement strategies for the medium and longer term. As you will read, while short term impacts have remained manageable, there may be longer lasting impacts in sourcing strategies due to brand-owners reassessment of risks associated with supply reliability. FINAT will continue to play its role by raising awareness about supply chain management planning inside our community, and by addressing this subject in our communications towards policymakers and other stakeholders.

The recurrence of physical FINAT events in 2022

But apart from the gloomy general economic foresight, we can all look back upon a successful year for FINAT, in spite of the last-minute postponement of Labelexpo Europe back in April. In June, we had our first in-person event since three years with our European Label Forum in Baveno. And last month, in November, we held a very successful Technical Seminar in Barcelona, where we hadn’t been since March 2018!

Both events demonstrated the need of our community to meet and interact in a tangible, three-dimensional space rather than just virtual, behind a flatscreen. Events and networking between members of our community are a crucial part of our association’s ecosystem and we have been missing this for too long. But at the same time, we should cherish the convenience and experience gained during the past two years of online engagement in sharing knowledge and providing insights via webinars and portals. Thirdly, and finally, the EU Green Deal and its underlying measures demand a tremendous effort from European industries in our continent’s effort to combat climate change and make the transition towards a circular economy. The label industry is no exception and FINAT is the platform bringing together the industry’s know-how, resources and influence on issues like the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), Design for Recycling (DfR), Product Carbon Footprint (PCF), liner and matrix recycling (via CELAB Europe) and food safety guidance (UVFoodSafe).

Apply for a position in FINAT’s workforce

Early next year, our association will be hosting a Committee Summit in Amsterdam to set the priorities and divide the tasks in the various ‘workstreams’ that have been set up. If you are not yet on one of the present (sub)committees and interested in joining, feel free to contact the FINAT Secretariat.

The FINAT Radar: AWA takes over the baton from LPC

In closing, I also inform you about a change concerning the FINAT RADAR. In view of the volatility of markets and the need for up-to-date data, in 2023, the RADAR will become a quarterly report with more data on relevant European industry indices. As of 2023, this report will be prepared by AWA Alexander Watson Associates, a market research institute that has a strong foothold in the European label value chain. I would like to thank LPC and especially Jennifer Dochstader for her passion and dedication during the past nine years, for the insights gained and for laying the foundations of the FINAT RADAR as authoritative industry report.

I wish everyone Happy Holidays and a prosperous 2023.

Philippe Voet
FINAT President