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FINAT’s prime annual event, the European Label Forum, moves this year to the Hilton Berlin, 7-9 June. The ‘ELF’, as it is familiarly known, brings together a broad spectrum of industry leaders across the value chain, from raw material suppliers to end users, to debate major strategic business topics and gain in-depth market knowledge from top international speakers.

A journey into the label industry’s future

The conference will launch with an inspirational opening keynote address by ‘the other’ Michael Jackson, the management guru from South Africa, who will waken up and inspire his audience to embark on this two day-journey to confront and address the challenges of change. One key element of change for the coming years is certainly the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or ‘Industry 4.0’ as it is often referred to, which encompasses all technologies that connect, exchange data and co-operate with each other, via the ‘Internet of Things’, to automate and optimise manufacturing and create smart products that connect with the consumer. Following the keynote, the ELF programme will highlight the manufacturing, product experience and people side of this disruptive evolution, bringing to the stage experts from Porsche Consulting (DE), EVRYTHNG (UK/USA) and Randstad (BNL), who additionally engage in an interactive debate with the audience during a closing panel session. This agenda also takes event participants on a journey specifically into the label industry’s future, featuring possible scenarios for its business environment in 2020-2025, and providing a practical context as background information for strategic decision making. For this purpose, FINAT has commissioned scenario-planning expert Paul de Ruijter, De Ruijter Strategy (NL) to conduct a project over the coming months that will culminate in two parallel interactive workshops during ELF.

Market trends and developments

The second day of the conference opens with an update on the latest market trends and developments. A review of the market for direct digital print to containers by AWA Alexander Watson Associates (NL) will be followed by the annual summary of FINAT’s authoritative labelstock statistics and half-yearly market review, the FINAT RADAR. ELF participants will additionally benefit from a special report on a FINAT-commissioned study into the present and future status of digital label printing in Europe from the brand owners’,  packaging buyers’, and label converters’ viewpoints, prepared by US-based market research agency LPC, who also conducted a parallel study in North America. One of the highlights of the second day will be a high-level discussion panel in which leaders of three of the world’s largest label companies will reflect on the future of the label industry. Workshop host Paul de Ruijter, supported by co-host/’side-kick’ and FINAT President-elect Chris Ellison, will also debate the likely outline of the future landscape for the industry.

Joschka Fischer: the future of Europe in a divided western world

The direction of the tide in European integration has changed greatly in the last few years, and it is with great pride that FINAT will welcome as its closing keynote speaker Mr. Joschka Fischer, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany and one of the most highly-respected statesmen of the late 20th century. He will present his insider view of the present and future landscape of European societies, connecting history, the present, and the future. Full details of the programme, speakers, and surrounding activities such as the presentation of the FINAT label and recycling awards, pre-conference workshops, and social events, can be found on this event website.