What are our speakers hoping to see discussed at the 50th edition of PRIMA?

Now in its 50th year, the PRIMA conference is more than just an event. Over the years, PRIMA has established a reputation as the go-to network hub for the entire fibre value chain – from forestry, minerals and chemicals companies through pulp and paper makers to merchants, publishers, printers, packaging producers and consumers of paper and board products.

As the conference fast approaches, we spoke with some of this year’s expert speaking panel to find out what they are most looking forward to about the 50th edition conference, and what they are hoping to hear discussed as over 100 of the industry’s key players unite from 17-18 September in Prague. Here’s what they had to say…

What key issues are you hoping to see discussed across the two days of the conference?

Bernd Eikens, Executive Vice President at UPM Biorefining:

There are two fundamental, seemingly opposite trends that together present a tremendous opportunity for our industries. On the one hand we have the global expansion of middle class, which is driving consumption of materials especially in Asia. At the same time environmental concerns are raising and taking very concrete forms, such as the single-use plastic ban initiative in Europe. All of us in pulp, paper and paperboard are part of the solution: our businesses are based on renewable materials and sustainable products for the various everyday needs of a growing population.

To capture the limitless opportunities, we need to change the public perception on our industry. We are part of the solution to solve the challenges which mankind faces today, but there are a lot of mistrust and misconceptions about our industry and the use of wood as a raw material. As an industry, we need to build trust and transparency. This is also something I want to bring up and hope to see discussed during the conference, because given the demand for sustainable solutions we all have a lot to win.

Berry Wiersum, CEO at Sappi:

I look forward to thoughtful discussion of world markets and how geopolitical influences will affect them; thoughts on environmental legislation and how it will affect the industry; the future markets for pulp; the development of Artificial Intelligence and maybe some content about the growing attractiveness to the next generation of our industry.

Rupert Taylor, Head of Corporate Sector Advisory at NatWest:

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

Natasha Valeeva, Analyst - Food and Agribusiness Supply Chains at Rabobank:

I expect supply-demand challenges, sustainability and innovation to be key ‘cross-industry’ topics to be discussed during the conference. Rethinking recycling is another important issue to be addressed in light of the above key topics. Furthermore, collaboration and partnerships across the supply chain will remain crucial for finding joint solutions, especially when we are talking about the packaging segment. I hope to see more new examples of such partnerships.


What are you most looking forward to about the 50th edition of PRIMA?

Jay L. Gouliard, Vice President, Global Packaging at Mondelez International:

The opportunity to build and reinforce strong industry connections that will lead to bigger, better, and bolder innovations that deliver strongly against the desired consumer experiences in every. I am also looking forward to sharing our strategy and approach to packaging sustainability with this industry while gaining insights from what others are doing to address this critical opportunity which cannot be solved in isolation.

Magnus Renman, Group R&D Director at DS Smith:

I am mostly looking forward to hearing about what the industry leaders see as challenges and opportunities going forward. Also, of course, the chance to network with industry experts and leaders.

Dina Dedic, Vice President Biorefinery & Energy, RISE Research of Institutes Sweden:

The future for innovative players in the fields of papermaking and packaging is bright as day, and I look forward to exciting talks and conversations! The PRIMA conference gives us all the platform we need to put our heads together and push the industry forward.

Marcus Hellberg, Sales Director at Södra Cell International, Italy:

I’m looking forward to sharing and collecting some fresh ideas and new perspectives on marketing and communication in the pulp and paper industry!


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