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15-07-21 - Lejeune, Jules

Setting the scene for FINAT in 2027

The FINAT Calendar for 2021 is halfway. Normally around this time, preparations for Labelexpo Europe in September would be in full swing, but now that the show has been moved to April 2022, 2021 will be the second year in succession without hardly any physical interaction. Is the Covid period a break from association business as usual, or will it be the transition to a new beginning? In spite of, or rather because of the Pandemic, FINAT is as relevant as ever before, albeit in a different setting. And, how does the current short-term evolution of COVID relate to long-term and structural changes in the label industry? In short: what will the future for FINAT look like in 2027? Some possible directions.

The scene for 2027 is set by the accelerating powers and uncertainties associated with the world beyond Covid-19. Two key questions of uncertainty drive the ‘FINAT Scenarios 2027’ (see also this video):

  1. Shall we see an industry development in which the consolidation of label companies into corporate conglomerates prevails? Or shall we see a development in which the forces of entrepreneurial, specialised business types become dominant?
  2. Shall networking, knowledge transfer and collaboration go back to live, physical, interpersonal contact, or will we end up in a world dominated by virtual B2B networks?

In its extremes, this combination of uncertainties leads to the following imaginary futures for FINAT:

1. Back to Base
This scenario is dominated by supply chain reliability issues and re-shoring of goods; competition law issues (market dominance); continued global travel and trade uncertainties; data protection issues; and the emergence of small, agile, innovative start-ups filling up niches left open by conglomerates. The industry has started to de-globalise, decentralise and specialise. Small is again becoming beautiful. There is a revival of ‘vintage’ live association activity. FINAT is the GO-TO meeting and networking platform and a trusted source of leading international contacts and information.

2. Scaling Up
Baby-boomer retirement, customer consolidation and the attractiveness of our sector for (private equity) investors is transforming the industry. The industry is in transition. Typical association functions like benchmarking and knowledge exchange are in-house within conglomerates, but the association remains relevant as a platform to meet peers and potential partners. FINAT is a hybrid platform that brings together big and small members, offers a mix of live and online programmes and services. And it connects local and international associations.

3. Human Interface
In this scenario, corporate conglomerates focus on their own internal priorities. In numbers, the label industry is still dominated by a majority of specialised, innovative smaller family businesses and new entrants who collaborate and exchange knowledge online to save time, be efficient, act sustainably and innovate. FINAT is the online community hub that connects people with similar profiles and interests, to network, share information, to learn and to co-create.
4. Connected corporate world
The European label industry is dominated by a small number of multinational groups representing multiple label and packaging technologies. Regulations and sustainability drive collaboration at industry level. In this scenario, FINAT is the voice of the label industry and a collaborative project platform, subject to corporate good governance principles. It provides a hub for professional inter-company interaction in multiple areas of expertise such as management, marketing and sales, production management, R&D, sustainability and HR.


Of course, these scenarios for 2027 represent the extremes that we can imagine based on the uncertainties we face today. In reality it is more likely that elements of each scenario will co-exist. But this abstraction helps us to define the priorities and measures that need to be taken, and the critical roles that FINAT needs to play to help drive the future of the European label industry:

  • COMMUNITY: FINAT as the unique networking ‘comfort zone’ for label industry peers and partners.
  • KNOWLEDGE: FINAT as a first-hand knowledge and information hub
  • COLLABORATION: FINAT as a compliant project and consortium facilitator.
  • ADVOCACY: FINAT’s identity as the voice of the European label industry.

This autumn, the Board under its new President Philippe Voet will present its strategic plans for the coming years. For now, on behalf of the Board and secretariat I wish you a great summer break in good health. Stay safe!