Leading the program was Jeroen Diderich, vp-gm for Label and Graphic Materials – EMEA at Avery Dennison.
His keynote address looked at pioneering change in the release-liner industry.
- Avery Dennison is the world’s largest supplier of RFID labeling; overall the industry will produce about 30 billion such tags in 2020.
- With strong moves by the p-s labeling field toward digital printing over other methods, converters and end-user customers must be aware of how silicone release liner can affect the quality of inkjet printing, in particular.
- Sustainability is core to Avery Dennison’s operations. Its 2025 corporate sustainability goals mandate that 70% of its products will have a positive impact on the environment via recyclability, renewable materials, or lightweighting. Ninety-five percent of the operations will be landfill-free, ending waste in the converting value chain.
- Release-liner waste can add up to 21% during printing and converting of the initial labeling constructions. Downstream, 60% of labeling waste is generated by the CPG customers, and 40% by the end-user consumer via the packaging itself. Fifty-four percent of p-s labeling release liner was recycled in Europe in 2017.
- Avery Dennison is open to work with the full value chain to solve industry challenges, not just its suppliers or direct labeling, converting customers; collaboration is key.
- There is a mix of “push” by packaging and end-user consumer markets and “pull” by AD itself on suppliers to solve environmental, waste, sustainability, digital-printing, and RFID challenges.
Participants in the Executive Leadership Panel included Diderich; Simon Medley, CEO of Loparex; Jaakko Mikkila, senior vp-Specialty Papers at UPM; and Inge Grubben-Stromnes, senior vp-Strategy and Business Development
at Elkem (see photo above).
- Release liner is so much more than labeling. While this category dominates the market, it’s the niche areas that are growing the fastest and offer new business opportunities.
- There’s business to be done in India from the basics to high-tech medical and hygiene products; integration of Chinese resources is improving the value chain for the Asian market.
- There’s real money to be made in the burgeoning e-commerce field; and industrial shipping with multiple p-s labeling (delivery and returns); especially with Amazon.
- Release-liner raw material suppliers and converters need to not just tell or show, but involve all parts of the value chain so they understand.
- Unusual new advertising applications are breaking with p-s private-car wraps, and new p-s specialty window films that are clear buy allow message projection to the outside.
- Exchanging employee assignments around the world is a good move, but 1:1 interaction at the end of the day is the best environment for learning.
- The current raw-material consolidations and bankruptcies are only short-term nightmares.
- Getting some vital suppliers to really care about the environment and sustainability is key; don’t play with those who won’t play along. Non-negotiable values must be set, and they must also pass audits.
- Paper release-liner overcapacity overseas, resulting in higher European anti-dumping duties, is fortunately mostly a thing of the past. Overall industry growth has mainly solved the problem.
- Different container, packaging decoration methods (direct, shrink labeling) are not the solution to easing release-liner waste; recyclable does not necessarily mean recycled.
My Thoughts: A recurring theme of the keynote and leadership panel (and really the silicone-coating and materials innovation panels, too, for that matter) was collaboration among all parts of the release-liner converting value chain. The myriad challenges faced, to some extent, by the raw materials providers, converters, liner customers, product consumers (and waste recyclers, as well) are not going to get solved without contributions and give-and-take from everyone. The sooner that approach is adopted, the better for the industry – and the planet.