The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has concluded the 17th edition of European Paper Week 2015. Its great success is reflected in a record number of attendees: More than 400 industry representatives gathered in Brussels for three intensive days and have left full of inspiring ideas, new contacts and good memories.
The industry declared the start of The Age of Fibre, and launched a brand new publication containing the most innovative products of the pulp and paper industry. This new publication is the third in the sequence of initiatives that started with the 2050 Roadmap in 2011, followed by the Two Team Project in 2013. All products featured in the new publication were shipped to Brussels for an exhibition that ran throughout the event.
Engaging with European policy makers, the industry stressed European competitiveness. Gary McGann, CEPI Chairman, said “Europe needs a real improvement of competitiveness, not competitiveness which is delivered by potentially temporary currency weakness. We again ask for a completion of the internal market, competitive energy prices, a more flexible and mobile employment environment and a reduction in the extent and cost of governance across Europe. This means greater efficiency in policy making, speedy decision making and clearer accountability to ensure a progressive Europe and a progressive industry”.
Never before did European Paper Week bring together such a large number of prominent speakers. With Industry 4.0 being the overriding theme of the event, the keynote speaker was renowned economist Jeremy Rifkin, author of 20 books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. In an energetic dialogue with Commissioner Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, he presented his theory of the Zero Marginal Cost Society via a live video link from the United States.
Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society, Gunther Oettinger, gave the Commission‟s view on Industry 4.0 and the future of industry in Europe, while Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, joined the dinner and congratulated outgoing Chairman Gary McGann. From 2016 onwards Peter Oswald, CEO of Mondi Europe & International, will be the new CEPI Chairman.
European Paper Week also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform. European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, congratulated the platform for its achievements.
European Paper Week 2015 covered a wide range of topics, from hot EU policies such as the Circular Economy and Emissions Trading System, to market developments (in collaboration with RISI), the future of speciality papers and the US paper industry campaign, How Life Unfolds.
The industry launched its preliminary statistics for 2015, showing that the transformation of industry continues, while volumes and turnover stay relatively stable.