SPA 105th Conference - Monday 27th February 2023

Delta Hotels by Marriott Forest of Arden Country Club
Max Number of delegates
Booked Number of Delegates

Event Overview

  • All first-time attendees and new SPA members are invited to attend an informal Welcome by the SPA Committee at 12:15 in the Arden Suite Foyer, followed by a buffet lunch.

  • Only DAY DELEGATE Places remain.

  • Try Before You Buy places are NOT available for this event. 

  • This event will be filmed and photographed by the Sheet Plant Association for use on SPA website, in Social Media and SPA Marketing.

The SPA's 105th Conference will be held in the Arden Suite at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Forest of Arden Country Club, Meriden, Birmingham on 27th February 2023.  The Agenda theme is SUSTAINABILITY. 

In line with recent Conferences we open proceedings with an Inspirational Speaker.  Dr Matt Winning is a very entertaining  Sustainability Speaker who works as an environmental economist at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and holds a PhD in Climate Change Policy. 


Matt doubles up as a stand-up comic by night!  Full of energy, quick humour and terrifying statistics, Matt's Powerpoint-based comedy sets both entertain and educate audiences, giving them a hilarious and shocking fast-paced look into the planet's future.  Matt is Scottish but currently stays and works in London.

We are very grateful to SPA Member, Metsä Board, for sponsoring this Celebrity speaker at Conference.


Following along the Conference theme of Sustainabilty, we are delighted to confirm that Tony Smurfit, Group CEO of Smurfit Kappa Group Plc will be our Keynote Speaker.


TONY SMURFIT is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Smurfit Kappa Group plc (SKG), one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging solutions in the world.

He was Chief Operations Officer from November 2002 to September 2015 and he has held a number of other management positions having worked in various parts of the organisation both in the United States and Europe since he joined the company in 1986.  He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1989.

Today Smurfit Kappa operates in 36 countries globally and employs 48,000 people.  The company is currently listed on the Dublin and London Stock Exchanges and revenue in 2021 was just over €10 billion.

He was born in Wigan, England in 1963 and following his early schooling in Ireland, he attended the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania where he graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Management Science.
He is a former Director of Aer Rianta (the Irish Airport Authority which is owned by the Irish Government), the Irish National Stud (an Irish Government owned operation), C&C plc,  Ibec (Irish Business Employers Confederation) and currently sits on the Board of ERT (European Round Table of Industry), and CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries).

He was appointed Honorary Consul of Mexico to Ireland in 2003 and was honoured by the French Government in 2004 when he was nominated Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour.  He was subsequently nominated Commander of the French Legion of Honour in 2017.  He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration and is a member of the Turf Club of Ireland.

He is married to Sharon and they have 4 children.

Continuing the theme of Sustainability we will be hearing from Frauke Schmidt, editorial writer at EUWID Pulp and Paper.

In her own words, Frauke has a 'Passion for recovered paper and sustainable solutions that deserve that name - and loves languages.'   Frauke will talk about the paper market development in 2022 and expectations for 2023 - including the recovered paper market. This will also include some facts on the planned EU waste shipment regulation, which might prevent recovered paper exports from the EU, so the UK as the biggest recovered paper exporter in Europe would be "last man standing".

Andy Barnetson, Director of Packaging Affairs at Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) will be bringing us up to date with the imminent implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility legislation.

'What do we need to know and what (if anything) do we need to do ?'


Panel Discussion:  Real Sustainability v Greenwashing:

Dan Brunton, as moderator, will be exploring the motivations, demands and practicalities of delivering real sustainability in the Corrugated Industry. 

Panelists Tony Smurfit, Group CEO, Smurfit Kappa, Donald McLaren, Managing Director, McLaren Packaging, Maija Pohjakallio VP, Climate and Circular Economy, Metsä Group and Neil Osment, Managing Director, NOA Prism will be discussing the costs v benefits and the projects they have undertaken within their own organisations.

With Energy Prices at record highs and set to remain at similar levels for the foreseeable future we will be hearing from Dr Christian Jardine, Technical Director at Joju Solar, who will be presenting the argument for Solar.

We will also be hearing from members who have installed Solar Panels or started on the journey.  We will endeavour to answer the question 'Are Solar Panels worth it? ...and how long is the payback period ?'

Maija Pohjakallio is VP, Climate and Circular Economy at Metsä Group. She promotes the well-being of people and the planet by combining science and business with sustainable development and a circular economy. 

Prior to Metsä Group Maija worked in the field of circular economy at Sulapac Ltd., VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland, and the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland. She holds a doctoral degree in physical chemistry and electrochemistry from Helsinki University of Technology (currently Aalto University).

Maija will be presenting "Towards carbon neutrality with circular and collaborative fibre-based packaging innovations and investments".

We will also be exploring how and why companies measure and endeavour to mitigate their Carbon Footprint.

Conference staples will be delivered by our regular contributors - namely:


  Monday 27th February 2023  
09:45 Registration, tea & coffee for H&S Forum Daimler Room
10:00 - 12:00 SPA 4TH HEALTH & SAFETY FORUM (Members Only) Daimler Room
11:30 - 13:00 Registration, tea & coffee for Conference Arden Suite
12:15 Committee Welcome for First-time Conference Attendees Arden Suite Foyer
12:30 - 13:15 Buffet Lunch Cast Iron Bar & Grill
13:30 Tim Gray, Chairman Opens Conference
13:35 Dr Matt Winning Celebrity Sustainability Speaker
14:20 Tony Smurfit, Smurfit Kappa Group Keynote Speaker
14:50 Neil Osment, NOA Prism UK Corrugated Industry Update
14:55 Frauke Schmidt, EUWID Update on Pulp and Paper
15:05 Andy Barnetson, Confederation of Paper Industries Extended Producer Responsibility
15:15 Michael Grass, Cogent Marketing Beyond the Box Promotional Campaign
15:25 Coffee Break  
15:55 Tony Smurfit, Donald McLaren, Maija Pohjakallio & Neil Osment.  Moderated by Dan Brunton Discussion Panel - "Real Sustainability vs Greenwashing"
16:25 Eduardo, KM Software Systems Sponsor Spotlight
16:35 Dr Christian Jardine, Joju Solar Solar Panels
16:50 Maija Pohjakallio, VP, Climate & Circular Economy, Metsä Group Towards carbon neutrality
17:05 Gavin Peters, Tri-Wall Sponsor Spotlight
17:15 Tom Jennings, Kene Partners Ring of Defence - R&D Tax Credits
17:20 Alan Jones, Springboard Safety Ring of Defence - H&S
17:25 Emile Hall, SBR Consulting Ring of Defence - Sales Masterclass
17:30 Luke Menzies, Menzies Law Ring of Defence - Employment Law & HR
17:35 Tim Gray, Chairman Conference Close
18:00 Pre-dinner drinks sponsored by KMSS and Tri-Wall Arden Suite Foyer
19:15 Dinner Arden Suite
  Tuesday 28th February  
07:00 - 10:00 Breakfast Cast Iron Bar & Grill
10:00 - 14:30 SPA GOLF  
  Timings and running order may be subject to change.  


As always, Conference will be packed with 100% relevant presentations and content... and there will be plenty of time to network and socialise both at lunch, at the 'sponsored' bar, during and after dinner, at breakfast on 28th and at SPA Golf.

Book your place today by clicking on 'Register for This Event' link below.

We would like to thank KM Software Systems and Tri-Wall for sponsoring the 105th SPA Conference.






Event Sponsors

Hotel & Travel

Delta Hotels by Marriott Forest of Arden Country Club
Maxstoke Lane, Meriden
Birmingham, England CV7 7HR United Kingdom

Directions and map