President’s Blog: Thoughts and best wishes going into 2022
After the outbreak of the Pandemic at the beginning of last year, 2021 has been another turbulent year that demanded the utmost of our adaptability. A year ago, my predecessor already praised our industry’s stress resistance, when demand for labels in critical sectors exploded, while at the same time labour and raw materials were short in supply due to global travel restrictions and local lockdowns. But what happened at sector level in 2020 was only small beer compared to the global supply chain disruptions that became apparent in 2021.
Since the summer, the world economy has been facing shortages of almost everything: energy, chemicals, pulp, (waste)paper, plastic, inks, transport, laminates, chips, components, people. When I visited the German association VskE at the beginning of November, I was shocked but not surprised to see the perfect storm of shortages in availability, increases in delivery times, and steep raw materials price increases in all segments of the supply chain, in the report that the association had prepared.
It remains to be seen whether the ECB’s assessment, that the present inflationary tensions are a temporary phenomenon and that there will be a ‘soft landing’ in the spring of 2022 will be correct. It could equally be that ‘Omicron’ will throw us back on the path of recovery. But what seems certain is that the Pandemic and its disruptions have generated fundamental changes with a lasting impact.
And speaking of lasting impact, what about the other mega challenge facing us: climate change and the need to make a transition to more circular economy models. The present supply chain tensions could accelerate the move from linear to circular consumption, turning spent products into new raw materials. FINAT is proud to be the hosting partner of CELAB in Europe and welcomes the spectacular results in the prospect for liner and matrix recycling in Europe since the consortium started in 2020.
But this is not just about recycling, it is also about cross border collaboration to reduce our carbon footprint, sharing knowledge and information on best practices, and bringing peers from the label community around the table to set aside their differences and join forces to secure our common future and that of our successors. This is precisely what FINAT is all about!
I wish you all Happy Holidays and a successful and above healthy start of 2022 when we hope to see you live at multiple events!