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Global co-operation

The new grouping was created at a summit hosted by Labelexpo Asia in Shanghai. The L7 held its first full meeting in Barcelona in March and will host another at Labelexpo Americas in Chicago in September.  

In addition to Finat and TLMI, the other five members of the L7 are PEIAC (China), LMAI (India), JFLP (Japan), Latma (Australia), and Salma (New Zealand). An ‘L8’ or even ‘L9’ could well be formed with the addition of Latin American organizations such as Brazil’s ABIEA and the newly founded Mexican label association.  

Such a global forum has long been advocated by this magazine and leading industry figure Mike Fairley, founder of L&L and Tarsus director of strategic development, who called for the creation of a joint global position on environmental affairs at the Finat congress in Paris two years ago. The simple fact is that the major global end users are already meeting with global standards bodies to determine sets of ‘sustainability’ regulations, which will have a huge impact on label converters wherever they are located. If we do not have a voice at this table, we could as an industry be saddled with onerous obligations which harm instead of improve our competitiveness and ability to invest. 

So the L7/8/9 should now press to be represented on bodies like the Global Packaging Project to offer label input on the whole area of sustainability and environment. The GPP brings together the world's most powerful brands and packaging manufacturers to define a common ‘language’ for the global sustainability debate. 

Already the L7 has made a positive start, identifying areas where they can make an immediate start on issues like developing a common environment platform and setting common entry criteria for the global label awards, as well as exchanging data and opinions via a new Finat-built website.  

The Tarsus Group is meanwhile developing a Global Label Summit in 2011 which will bring together the global label associations, global end users, converters, legislators and other key influencers in a forum where these issues can be discussed.

None of this is to say that regional associations are no longer required. But as an industry we do need a global voice – and fast. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Thomas is strategic director of Labels & Labeling.

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