100th SPA Conference Review

21st October 2019

Chairman’s Welcome – Tim Gray, SPA Chairman

The SPA 100th Conference was officially opened by Tim Gray, Chairman of the SPA.

Tim reminded members that 35 years ago the organisation was born as the SPOA (Sheet Plant Operators Association) and recognised the efforts of those that had held the position of Chairman over the years. Richard Jarrett of SH Fiske who was in the chair for 10 years took us back to the start and gave his observations on the progress the Association has made to date. The SPA were pleased to welcome 100 members to the 100th Conference.

Tim read out a letter of apology from Eddie Fellowes at Smurfit Kappa Group, which explained why they were unable to attend. Copies of this letter can be requested from the SPA Office.

Videos of conference presentations will be shared on the UK Sheet Plant Association SPA News YouTube channel.  If you have not already done so, please subscribe to the SPA YouTube channel to receive updates when new presentations are posted.  You will then be able to view and share videos with members (and non-members) who were unable to attend conference.

PowerPoint Presentations (where available) can be viewed online: https://www.sheetplantassociation.com/latest-presentation


UK Corrugated & Print Show Review – Nick Kirby, SPA Committee 

Nick gave members an update on the attendance figures for the show on 24-25 June in Liverpool.

  • 45 exhibition stands
  • 845 attendees pre-booked to attend
  • 526 attendees visited the show

Feedback from exhibitors and visitors covered a number of topics, which will be taken into account when planning the next event for 2021. The plan is to run this show bi-annually. Those topics included:

  • Level of footfall
  • Thoughts about starting the show on a Monday (requests to start on a Tuesday)
  • Event too close to another important industry event (previous week)
  • Food and drink costs
  • Silent auction extended length at Gala Dinner

The charity gala dinner raised £13,000 for two charities (Bluebell Woods and Mind).

Nick’s presentation is available to view online


BREXIT update – Andrew Large, CPI   

Andrew gave the members two takeaways:

  • There is a real risk of a no deal BREXIT
  • A no deal BREXIT could bring risk to your business that you will need to manage.

Andrew advised that there are two CPI Free-to-attend Brexit Readiness events:

  • 22 October – Kenilworth
  • 24 October – Bolton

For more information, please visit https://paper.org.uk/2019/10/04/cpi-announces-free-brexit-readiness-events/

Andrew’s presentation is available to view online


Getting ready for BREXIT – Arjan, Geveke, Dept. for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Arjan (representing the government department, BEIS) advised that there are 4 main areas where members might need to act:

  • Logistics
  • Food & Drink
  • Employing EU citizens
  • Using personal data

Visit this website for more support, www.gov.uk/brexit

Arjan’s presentation is available to view online


Do you have your TICCIT? – Jon Clark, BPIF Cartons

Jon presented details regarding BPIF Cartons and the excellent TICCIT Initiative (Trees Into Cartons, Cartons Into Trees), a hugely successful pan-European project run with local schools by carton converters. The TICCIT programme involves teaching school children about trees, paper, recycling and then assisting each of them to planting a tree sapling inside a box, which they then plant out at home.  Over 100,000 children have now taken part in the TICCIT program.

More information can be found at www.bpifcartons.org.uk/ticcit


Corrugated Promotional Campaign – Andy Barnetson, CPI

The CPI have been promoting cardboard to the consumer, using the strapline “Beyond The Box” since 2018 and have attained a reach of 36 million hits in 2018 and are already ahead of that figure this year. The Confederation have undertaken a wide range of successful promotional activity and are planning a “Boxing Up Christmas” campaign with celebrities for Q4 2019.  Help was requested from the Sheet Plant Association with this – details will be forwarded to members by the SPA Committee shortly.

More information can be found at www.cardboard.org.uk

Andy’s presentation is available to view online


Corrugated Industry Update – Neil Osment, NOA PRISM

Neil shared 100 interesting facts (well, maybe more like ten!) about fibre-based packaging, including Global, European and UK corrugated consumption figures.  In 2019 corrugated growth for the UK has been positive at +0.5% while less so for other parts of Europe.

Neil’s presentation is available to view online


Future of Plastic – Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet 

Sian opened with the statement “You guys are sitting on a goldmine and the time is now”, which made everyone sit up and listen.  Sian shared facts with the audience such as ‘plastic production being set to quadruple by 2030’ and also some positive success stories such as Thornton’s Budgens supermarket and Unilever’s plastic free hackathon. A resource library from A Plastic Planet (free of charge) will be going live this week, which will provide information on alternative materials.  https://aplasticplanet.com/



One and a half centuries of Corrugated Packaging: Are we a sexy sector? – Angelika Christ, FEFCO

Angelika is the Secretary General of FEFCO.  She shared some interesting statistics with delegates, e.g. that there was 2.5% average growth in the European corrugated market in the period 1996-2018.  New markets for corrugated include eCommerce and food delivery.  She expressed her sadness at hearing that Amazon are testing plastic sleeves for shipments in the US.


A Lifetime in the Corrugated Industry – Bob McLellan, NED – Logson, MacFarlane, Swanline

Bob offered some words of wisdom – you need a clear focus and determination and you need to know your market – and don’t forget that cash is king.



The next Conference is themed “Bring a Colleague” and will have a special incentive to encourage members to bring along junior members of staff as a way of injecting more new blood into the membership of the Association.  More details to follow in due course.

Dates for your diary:

  • 101st SPA Conference - 27 January 2020, Forest of Arden
  • Delegation to Florida for SuperCorrExpo – 14-17 September 2020 https://www.supercorrexpo.org/