Ahead of PRIMA 2019, we caught up with Rupert Taylor, Head of Corporate Sector Advisory at NatWest to get a sneak peek of what we can expect from his presentation and his thoughts on the current challenges facing the pulp and paper sectors.
The strapline for PRIMA in this, its 50th year, is 'chaos creates opportunity'. How would you summarise the main opportunities, and challenges, for the pulp/paper/paperboard sectors?
There is a material opportunity for the fibre-based sector over the coming years. The way we trade and consume is changing and this sector can play a significant part in not only responding to, but driving that. The opportunities are clear: increased brand and consumer demand for packaging sophistication and functionality, increased trade and ecommerce and increased environmental awareness and regulatory challenge.
Fibre-based businesses can position themselves to take advantage of both underlying market growth but also substitution from other substrates. The opportunity is large and immediate. However, meeting it will require a focus on innovation: to design and produce the packages and barriers of tomorrow, a focus on cost to ensure fibre-based solutions are as competitive as they can be with other substrates, and a focus on recyclable and sustainable solutions.
What key issues are you hoping to see discussed across the two days of the conference?
Many. I am keen to hear how paper can respond to plastics challenges, how the industry is thinking about improving recyclability, and what brand owners are doing to ensure aspiration meets reality in terms of sustainability over the coming years. I’m also eager to hear from the industry’s leaders on how they are positioning their businesses for the future.
Can you provide a brief summary of what you plan to speak about at PRIMA 2019?
I intend to look at the recent financial performance of the fibre-based sector and to look at how the shifting strategic focus of various fibre-based groups is making them a more attractive investment. Furthermore, I intend to spend some time on the attraction of the sector as a financial investment
As a strong supporter of PRIMA over the years, what are you most looking forward to regarding attending the 50th edition of PRIMA in Prague?
A chance to get together with industry friends and peers, discuss the sector’s opportunities and threats and catch-up.