The first draft of the review led on the impact the UK’s changing relationship with the European Union would have on the industry, however, events overtook in the shape of a global pandemic and the review now focuses on the Industry’s response to COVID-19 and how it aims to be part of the solution as the UK works towards post-COVID economic recovery.
Without a doubt, COVID-19 has transformed ordinary life, paralysing large sections of our economy, and placing physical constraints on how businesses operate with social distancing and hygiene requirements. The UK’s Paper-Based Industries have weathered the storm well and have been recognised as a critical industry, providing essential food packaging and hygiene tissue for homes and hospitals throughout the crisis. The industry is now primed for clean growth and hopes to continue to play a key role in the UK’s economy in the years ahead.
The Review more broadly highlights the issues that CPI has been dealing with in support of Members including health and safety, corrugated promotion, recycling, employment, environmental policy, energy policy, packaging issues, forestry and industrial strategy.
The themes of energy and the environment remain at the centre of our work. Paper has a positive role to play as the material of the future, a renewable, recyclable and sustainable material which is an alternative to single-use plastic. CPI continues to promote the benefits of the material, the merits of Corrugated have been shown through the high profile Beyond the Box campaign which creatively reaches out to consumers.
The UK has legislated to become net-zero by 2050 and the UK’s Paper-based Industries are working alongside Government to achieve this. The industry is taking a proactive and innovative approach, working to maintain sustainable jobs for the future. Energy costs continue to be a barrier for the industry, whilst the Government recognise that these costs are not internationally competitive, there is more progress that needs to be made.
Despite the challenges we face in the months and years ahead, there is a great deal of positivity about the future of the sector and the role it can play in the UK economy and beyond.
In the Annual Review, Director General of the CPI, Andrew Large praised the response of the industry throughout the pandemic. Reflecting on the work of the CPI over the past year, Andrew noted that, “Members have always been, and must always be, at the heart of everything that CPI says and does” and CPI continues to work hard to ensure that the industry gets the best possible deal. He went on to comment that “2019 – 2020 has been uniquely tough” with several challenges for the industry in the shape of COVID-19 and the potential economic consequences of that, as well as adapting to Brexit. Andrew welcomed the Governments response to “engage in the economy,” he believes, “public spending and administration will play a long-term role in setting the country on a firm financial footing in the years to come.”
CPI’s Review 2019-2020 is now available, it can be found here or via hard copy on request.