COVID-19 Shared best practices and experiences
FINAT statement on the COVID-19 crisis
Since the decision of the postponement of the FINAT Technical Seminar at the end of February, the spread of the Corona-virus has been accelerating around Europe. Meanwhile we have lost count of the number of national and international industry meetings, conferences, exhibitions and public events that have been cancelled and/or postponed. While still working on the postponement of the Technical Seminar, we are also reviewing the scenarios for the European Label Forum in Rome next June. And while writing this statement, the news reaches FINAT that also drupa has now been postponed to April 2021.
FINAT wishes to express its sympathy with the members of the European label community and their local associations that have been hurt and hit by the crisis, especially in Italy but increasingly also in other countries as Corona virus continues its journey around Europe and elsewhere.
Apart from the public health risk, the virus is now also spilling over into the real economy, and members of the label industry are taking measures to contain the risk for their staff’s well-being and their business’ continuity. In some cases more far-reaching measures are taken than those recommended or enforced by local governments and public health institutes.
Request to share best practices and experiences
What are YOU doing in your businesses to contain the spread of COVID-19? What works and what does not work? As the linking pin between associations, companies and their leadership, FINAT wishes to support the European label community by sharing the collective knowledge and best practices of the members for the good of the entire industry. We kindly invite the reader of this statement to submit their contribution to info@FINAT.com or via the social media platform where this message is also posted.
EU Commission responds to Citpa position paper
On 18 March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, FINAT co-signed the statement that our fibre-based packaging converting umbrella Citpa sent to the EU Commission (see this link). Through CITPA we asked them to ensure continued cross-border and intercountry movement of goods, raw materials and packaging. Today, 16 April 2020, a reply was received from Elisabeth Werner, Director for Land Transport. The letter can be read here.
FINAT COVID-19 webinars
FINAT schedules regular webinars for its members to exchange know-how, experiences and best practices regarding the COVID-19 situation. Recordings of all webinars are accessible for FINAT members only via the following page: https://www.finat.com/pages/finat-technical-webinar-series-recordings.
- Click here for the general presentation of the first webinar on 31 March 2020.
- Click here for the general presentation of the 2nd webinar on 16 April 2020.
- Click here for the updated survey results as per 21 April 2020.
- Click here for the general presentation of the 3rd webinar on 28 April.
Joint press release FTA Europe & Intergraf: COVID-19 risk of synthetic ethyl alcohol shortage for the production of food packaging
CEPI is calling DG Grow’s urgent support to keeping those parts of the European pulp and paper sector functioning that are essential and vital for the key activities in the society. Also the label sector plays a critical role in ensuring the safe supplies of food and pharmaceuticals and more that are vital for the European society. Annex 3 of the letter contains CITPA’s statement on behalf of the European paper and board converting industry. Read the whole letter here.
UNFEA (France): Our organizations in the Paper and Cardboard sector work with the Ministers of Industry and the Economy to raise awareness of the vital activity of the Paper and Cardboard industries. This warning work is done now. We await the response of the French government. Employees in our production sites are staying at home more and more which will contribute to the decline in general activity. Our carriers are starting to slow down their journeys. We manage to have raw materials such as adhesive complex, inks and varnish but if there is no more transporter and not enough employees, we will no longer be able to produce adhesive labels for the pharma and food industries. Our staff unions do not want employees to work because of the danger covid-19. The leaders of our member companies try to reassure everyone and set up preventive actions for employees. The French government has said a lot on television that workers can stay at home with 90% of their salary to babysit and not get the virus. How do you motivate people to come to work when they are offered this? Even if the government declares our industries of public utility, there will always be the problem of employees.
Pierre FORCADE - Délégué Général UNFEA
- BPIF-labels conducted a survey amongst members to assess the impact of the Covid-19 on their business. See the results here.
- BPIF: Coronavirus - UK moving to 'delay' stage
Suggested guidelines on the role of labels in the essential supply chain during the Coronavirus pandemic
FINAT issued a press statement stressing the role of self-adhesive roll labels and narrow web packaging as essential component of the critical infrastructure for the food and medical sectors. Following this statement we received questions from several members indicating that more clarity needs to be provided to the outside world about the status of their specific component of the labelling value chain. After all, our industry’s chain is characterized by complexity and specialization and at first sight, it is not always easy for an outsider to recognize the importance of that specific component in the manufacture of the end-product. Read more
COVID19 crisis: critical infrastructure
Governments across Europe are releasing lists of critical professions and sectors that need derogation and exemption from the crisis measures in the context of the COVID19 outbreak. Although not always explicitly mentioned, it is clear that the labels and packaging sectors are an essential part of the supply chain of two of the most critical sectors: healthcare and the food supply chain:
- The Netherlands: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/coronavirus-covid-19/veelgestelde-vragen-over-coronavirus-en-kinderopvang/cruciale-beroepen ;
- Belgium: https://crisiscentrum.be/sites/default/public/files/content/mb_-_23-maart.pdf (see page 7);
European authorities applying derogations to speed up supply of disinfectants
To increase the manufacture and supply of disinfectants on the European market, ECHA is supporting EU/EEA authorities to apply derogations from the normal authorisation requirement for biocidal products. See also
- ECHA: https://echa.europa.eu/-/speeding-up-the-supply-of-disinfectants
- Belgium: https://www.health.belgium.be/en/covid-19-temporary-authorisations
- Germany: https://www.baua.de/DE/Angebote/Aktuelles/Meldungen/2020/2020-03-04-Desinfektionsmittel.html
- Austria: https://news.wko.at/news/oesterreich/WKOe-beseitigt-buerokratische-Huerden-bei-Desinfektionsmi.html
State aid cases in the context of the Covid19 crisis.
The European Commission has issued a communication to the main European institutions on a coordinated economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The communication outlines the Commission’s immediate response to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19. It states that “While the described measures announced today deal with the most imminent challenges, we need to be conscious that the situation is evolving on a daily basis. The Commission will work closely together with the European Parliament, the Council, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Member States to implement these measures swiftly and stands ready to take all further initiatives as necessary. The Commission also supports an international response to address the global socio-economic consequences of the pandemic through the multilateral framework, with particular attention to partner countries with vulnerable health systems.”
Herma is abiding by the additional occupational health and safety standards of the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The corona (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic affects both social and economic life, both the working and the non-working population. The reopening of the economy must go hand in hand with occupational safety and health measures if a stop-and-go effect is to be avoided. The German Federal Ministry of Labour has issued special occupational safety and health standards that aim to protect the population by breaking infection chains, safeguarding the health of employees and restoring economic activity while continuously flattening the infection curve over the medium term. An order of priority must be observed in the process, from technical to organisational to personal safety and health measures.
European Commission updates ‘Guidelines for Border Management’
The EU has urged EU countries to immediately implement its recommendations and ensure unobstructed transport of goods in particular by suspending restrictions and opening ‘green lane’ border crossings for trucks carrying any types of goods. Time spent at these fast-track points including any checks and screenings, should not exceed 15 minutes. The full text of the Commission communication to member states can be read here – this also includes a ‘Certificate for International Transport Workers’ which can be used to facilitate intra-country and cross-border movement of freight.
Cartonboard packaging sector issues ‘Green Lanes’ banner
In the context of the EU Commission’s ‘Green Lanes’ statement, ECMA, the European Carton Makers Association, has developed a multilingual banner document (in 11 languages) designed to help truck drivers to minimize traffic interruptions when crossing borders. We thank ECMA for sharing this with other associations.
HPV: English translation