No doubt about it, the buzz at the recent FINAT Congress in Athens, Greece, held June 6-9 at the Hilton Hotel, was all about the state of the host country. With Greece’s economic future literally hanging in the balance at time of the meeting, the fate of the country was the global news story.
While the turmoil in Greece may have kept the Congress’ attendance numbers down from prior years, those that came to Athens enjoyed an educational, thought-provoking and engaging program. The theme of the Congress was “Sustainable Labeling – Now is your Chance,” and focused on various aspects of sustainable practices in the industry. Highlights included getting to hear the perspectives of one of the label industry’s leading customers – Unilever – and also detailed discussions of combining the economy with ecology when it comes to label design, and the sharing of best practices.
History was also made at the FINAT Congress. Greek converters used the meeting as an opportunity to officially establish and announce the formation of a Greek label association, translated from Greek to be called the Union of Greek Labelers. Discussing the new association’s launch and introduced as the oldest Greek label converter, Nikos Kambas, touching on the great Athenian tradition of philosophy, said: “The mind is like a parachute – it works best when it is open.”
FINAT President Kurt Walker officially began the proceedings with a welcome address and stressed that the value of the Congress is in how attendees can “engage in a dialogue with peers, and be inspired by leaders.”
Louis Lindenberg, director of sustainability for Unilever, provided the keynote. He focused on the program’s agenda as seen from a global brand owner’s perspective. With sales in 180 countries around the globe, he said that 54% of Unilever’s total sales now come from emerging markets. Two billion consumers use Unilever products daily, he said, as he described the brand’s Business Case for Sustainability.
“It is not either / or,” Lindenberg said of sustainability. “It is part of our business and how we drive business day-to-day. Consumers are starting to become more conscious of what they buy. They are choosing products because of the affiliation and added value they can give.”
Unilever drives sustainable programs, which Lindenberg said have been a win with its customers. The programs are social, economic as well as environmental. For example, a Health and Wellness plan is in place, whereby clean water and regular hand washing measures are instilled. “We have developed a machine that provides clean water for 20 million people in the poorest of countries,” Lindenberg explained. “This develops markets, those that have the largest hurdles to overcome. We need to engage our consumers. If we fail, we do not bring the consumers with us.” The programs also save money. According to Lindenberg, Unilever saved €30 million last year alone from its eco-friendly practices in its plants.
During the Sustainable Roundtable session, leading converters shared their best practices. Thomas Hagmeier of German converter Hagmeier Etiketten, said he found a company that takes its waste, which he now refers to as a “value material.” He said, “We now get paid for liner material, and it is 100% recycled.”
Multi-Color’s Nigel Vinecombe said you have to use technology to minimize waste. His company now makes some of its own paper, which is manufactured using recycled materials. “Many of our sites have zero waste going to landfill – most is taken away by suppliers and used in recycled form,” he said.
Kurt Walker discussed the expense involved with recycling. “We have existing solutions, but they are expensive and not sustainable. Getting volume is essential to having enough waste to recycle. We all have to get together and do this,” he said.
Another engaging presentation came from Tony Lennon of UK-based Paragon Print & Packaging, a label converter with 45 years of experience. Lennon provided a case study of his company, and how it evolved from a small label printer to a major label and packaging leader. He detailed how the company organically grew, diversifying along the way into sleeves, flexible packaging and brand management. A testament to its success, to date, Paragon has acquired 10 companies since 1994.
Magnus Lindkvist, a trend spotter and “futurologist,” took his audience on a trip to the future, and described what he thinks the world – and the label industry – will look like in 2030. His topics included recession and globalization. “When things are good, we try new things,” he said, adding, “When things are bad, we tend to retract to our natural boundaries.”
Lindkvist concluded by pointing out the five things companies and people need to be better at in the future: Long-viewing (taking a long-term perspective), Idea Blending, Experimentation, Failure Recycling (don’t give up on an idea), and Patience (don’t give up and say, “we already tried it.”).
“And don’t be afraid to make enemies,” Lindkvist added. “It is a sign that you are trying to create something new.”
The FINAT Congress in Athens also provided a forum to announce the winners of the organization’s 32nd Label Awards. This year proved to be a strong year. The competition attracted 325 entries froom 52 countries – the third highest number ever. The judging panel of this year’s label competition included Murat Sipahioglu (Avery Dennison, Turkey), Steve Wood (UK), an expert in screen printing and other printing processes, Gregory Kokkoris (Dot Repro, Greece), Lianne van den Berg (Cartils, the Netherlands) and chairman of the judging panel Tony White (UK).
Each year FINAT looks at ways in which it can refine the competition. This year it was agreed that all wine labels should be entered in their own category. Wine labels usually gravitate towards higher quality by the nature of their design. This sometimes meant that good quality entries in other classes did not feature in the top awards.
The judging comittee reviewed 40 entries in this new “Wine” category resulting in a “Best in Show” award and 13 Highly Commended certificates. FINAT believes that this will become an even more popular category in future years. The same can be said of the cosmetic category where all the cosmetic labels were grouped under one class. This was an even greater success with more over 70 entries in this category.
The Best in Show and the Marketing/End-Uses Group awards went to Collotype Labels USA for its Le Pich label.
“This is an outstanding label on many levels,” said Tony White. “We were extremely impressed not only by the technical excellence of the label, but also by its artistic appearance – the design is very authoritative and confident. This label would sell the wine purely on the quality of the label. Its dramatic look grabs the consumer’s attention. Using the screen and offset litho processes along with delicate and very accurate foiling with the additional bonus of embossing the whole label exudes quality,” said White.
Many of the winners from this year’s competition will be entered in the World Label Awards competition that will take place just before Labelexpo Americas in September.
From the previous year’s FINAT winners, five received a World Label award including the Schreiner Group, Royston Labels, Skanem Introl, Etimag Etiket and Collotype.
Group Winner is Collotype Labels USA for Le Pich
Collotype Labels, USA for Le Pich and Collotype Labels Australia for Christobel’s
Pragati Flexo Pvt. Ltd., India, for Coeur de Lion
Permapack AG., Switzerland, for Mövenpick Honey Mustard Limited Edition
Skanem Skurup AB, Sweden, for Bio Bact Tomat
Skanem Poznan, Poland, for Platinum Max Expert XD SW-30
Skanem Poznan, Poland, for Cinderella Hair and Body Wash
Pragati Flexo Pvt. Ltd., India, for Arshonil Rasayanam
Schreiner Group GmbH & Co. KG., Germany, for NFC Sticker Touch 2ID
Pago International AG., Switzerland, for Harmony Fruit & Yoghurt Dessert
Pilot Italia SpA., Italy, for Print Buyer
Germark S.A., Spain, for Running Girl and Purgina spol. S.r.o., Slovakia, for The Art of Labels Purgina - Hand
Sets of Labels:
FD-Etiketten GmbH, Germany, for Perlmutt/Goldrausch
Printing Processes Group:
Group Winner is Skanem Poznan, Poland, for Soplica Szlachetna Wódka 500ml
Skanem Durham, UK, for Comma Prolife
Cabas S.A., Greece, for Metaxa 7* Flasc 20cl A’side
Reel fed Offset Litho:
schäfer-etiketten GmbH & Co. KG., Germany, for Bondex Express
August Faller KG., Germany, for binop
Skanem Poznan, Poland, for Soplica Szlachetna Wódka 500ml
Non-Adhesive Applications Group:
Group Winner is Skanem Poznan, Poland, for Eveline Cosmetics - Anti Stress.
Skanem Poznan, Poland, for Eveline Cosmetics - Anti Stress
Pragati Flexo Pvt. Ltd., India, for Cubraxis M 5mg. 20 Tabs
Etimag Etiket, Turkey, for Coca Cola Studio Kaprol 250 ml.
The two joint group winners are Schreiner Group GmbH & Co. Ltd., Germany, for Nameplate with integrated pressure compensation seal and Auraprint Oy, Finland, for Orian Clean Card Pro.
Hub Labels, Hagerstown, MD, USA, has recently been awarded LIFE (Label Initiative for the Environment) certification from TLMI. The Project LIFE program was developed in order to assist TLMI members to find cost effective ways to reduce their companies’ environmental footprint. LIFE is a program designed specifically for the narrow web marketplace and addresses four key elements of the narrow web printing and converting industry: clean production, energy and greenhouse gases, product and environmentally preferable materials and management practices.
Frank Sablone, TLMI president, comments, “I would like to congratulate Hub Labels on their recent TLMI LIFE certification. Hub marks the 33rd company facility that has achieved LIFE certification and the TLMI Board of Directors predicts that by the end of 2012 more than 40 companies will be LIFE certified. As brand owners continue to prioritize greening the supply chain, narrow web converters are recognizing the importance of certification and of positioning themselves as companies that truly value environmental stewardship.”
Nantes, France-based Armor SA, a division of the Armor Group, was also recently awarded LIFE certification from TLMI – the second European converter to do so. “I would like to congratulate Armor for their recent TLMI LIFE certification. Armor is our second European member company to become certified, reinforcing the fact that sustainability is truly a global issue and is one that TLMI members around the world are making a top business priority,” Sablone adds.
TLMI is a member-driven, progressive association that provides forums to address issues critical to the success of the tag and label, packaging and converting industries in the North American and global marketplace. For more information about LIFE certification, visit www.tlmi.com.
Global anilox roll supplier Harper Corporation of America is honored to accept a bronze anniversary plaque from the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute, Inc. (TLMI). This plaque represents 20 years of membership with the organization.
TLMI is dedicated to offering solutions to its members in an effort to enhance the products and techniques developed within the label, narrow web tag, and packaging industries. With a member-driven model, the organization serves to assist companies and individuals within the flexographic field.
Frank Sablone, president of TLMI, has awarded the bronze anniversary plaque to Harper Corporation of America, as the Harper family has dedicated 20 years of membership to the organization. Over the last two decades, Harper Corporation has become an integral asset of TLMI, pushing the flexographic field to achieve a high standard of excellence.
“We are honored to receive this beautiful plaque from TLMI,” comments Lee Kluttz, VP of operations at Harper Corporation. “It is our goal to be a positive force in the flexographic industry. We embrace honors such as this one because they prove that we are meeting that goal each and every day.”