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  • 11 Oct 2011

ECMA makes move on middle ground

The European Carton Makers Association (ECMA) is targeting medium-sized businesses for its next stage of growth, according to secretary-general Jules Lejeune.
Speaking at the recent Labelexpo Europe 2011 exhibition, where Lejeune was present in his role as managing director of self-adhesive label association FINAT, he turned his attention to the future of ECMA and said the association is targeting a pool of 75 medium-sized businesses across Europe, having reached critical mass with 10-15 larger businesses.
He said: ‘ECMA is to become an association that is more business orientated.  To do this, we need to target medium-sized businesses and offer them something different that they can’t get elsewhere.  This will include introducing a series of third-party services to the membership package, such as benchmarking, marketing activities, and research that are exclusive to ECMA.  This will add value to the membership and help us attract these companies.’

Lejeune said this fits in with the ECMA Roadmap 2015, announced last year, which outlines five strategic objectives for the association to meet.  These include: supporting the industry in upgrading its overall revenue performance; assuring the acceptance of folding cartons as safe for food packaging; achieving the recognition of cartons as the preferred choice from a sustainability perspective; upgrading the overall positioning of the folding carton sector towards authorities, media and stakeholders; and securing the recognition of ECMA as the competent pan-European umbrella for the carton sector.

Food safety is a pressing matter for European carton makers and one that has led ECMA to launch the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guide for cartonboard-based food packaging.  The ECMA GMP guide is a management tool for the minimization of migration, organoleptic changes and contamination in carton manufacture, and covers the entire process from raw material intake, through design for compliance and manufacturing, to storage and delivery.  The guide also features a specific guidance chapter on inks.
To discuss the latest status of folding carton food safety best practice and explain the principles of the ECMA GMP guide, ECMA is organizing a food safety seminar on Wednesday October 26 at the Sheraton Airport Hotel in Brussels, Belgium.

In addition, ECMA recently announced that Andreas Blaschke has taken over from Per Lundeen as president, and will implement the Roadmap 2015 during his period of office.  Now, the search is on for an executive vice president to manage the process and drive development.
‘This is a crucial period for ECMA but an interesting time too,’ Lejeune commented.  ‘The market has changed over the past 10 years or so.  As customers have become more global, so suppliers have had to adopt a similar approach.  This has seen associations move from being locally focused to having a Europe-wide remit, as with ECMA. 
‘The next step is to get medium-sized players geared more towards export.  The Central and Eastern Europe markets are growing fast, and have the potential to leapfrog the mature markets as they rush to invest in cutting-edge technology that puts them ahead of the game,’ he concluded.