New Year’s greetings from the President

 

Dear Afera colleagues,

First, I would like to convey my best wishes to all of you in your projects, positions and businesses within the European adhesive value chain for 2022! We have all worked hard to weather, react, change, modify and move forward in our industry, especially over the last 2 years. This will continue, but I see this one as being a pivotal year for us.

For Afera, 2021 brought us a steady stream of achievements: namely, our first face-to-face event in the last 2 years, our 64th Annual Conference held in Valencia that welcomed 100 refreshed adhesive tape industry professionals who benefitted from a working programme dedicated to circularity. We also launched Afera’s Flagship Sustainability Project on translating the European Green Deal to our Members to make our industry as a whole (even more) fit for the circular economy. Here we are focusing not on promoting technologies but accepted calculation methods, waste management, and advocacy and communication. We are embracing circularity, because we need to – we know that yesterday’s answers are not sustainable. This also explains why we stepped up our entire regulatory affairs programme led by Pablo Englebienne, our dedicated regulatory affairs manager, now supported by Charlotte van der Voordt.

In 2021, we continued to organise webinars and meetings to drive information sharing and our projects forward; increased social media engagement in real numbers; and explored and created opportunities to get benchmarked market data and analysis of trends. Following the retirement of veteran Afera leader and captain of industry Lutz Jacob, we engaged Karsten Seitz as Afera Standardisation Consultant, who has taken forward the development of a new test method, Dynamic Shear, as well as approached a new generation of standards development. After finalising the images for the Afera Test Methods Manual, Karsten is also leading the release of our new edition in 2022.

Afera continues to be there for all of us – and I think this is a genuine feeling if I listen to feedback on our Valencia Conference in November. We’ll be holding our 10th Tape College in Brussels this coming April – which we hope and pray will be face-to-face – after a very successful online edition of the Technical Seminar this last spring. We’ve been increasing and deepening our technology partner relationships, especially that with FEICA, agreeing last year to work closer together on the crucial topic of sustainability. And we have welcomed an impressive number of new Members over the last 12 months, including Adesia (France), Adhesivos Técnicos y Troquelados (Spain), AFTC Group (Netherlands), Siliconature SpA (Italy), Trinseo (Germany/Switzerland) and MAC Autoadesivi (Italy).

2022 has kicked off with several meetings of the 3 workstreams of our Sustainability Project, which are now taking place monthly in order to identify and reach the goals of each pillar of the Project focused on translating the European Green Deal to Afera Member Companies. I believe that climate change is like a pandemic in slow motion: Too often you don’t see the ill effects of industry’s practices on people and the environment until it’s (too) late in the game. The problem affects everyone, and we all have the potential to pass on good information and practices, i.e. to be part of the solutions, which demand fundamental change on a global scale.

With increasing government intervention seeming to truncate the excesses of free-market capitalism and economic activity being increasingly tied to the stability of the natural environment, some have argued that we are moving beyond the neoliberal era. As I have alluded to before, we are in this together, and I see in our industry a move toward transparency and co-creation, beyond the bottom line and the silly idea of shareholder value. Accordingly, at Afera we are facilitating a functional process of meeting the sustainability challenge together in our industry value chain and in conjunction with the European Commission.

2022 will bring more co-operation at all levels of our organisations and among all our Members. We have seen how in many ways the pandemic has linked us closer together through the various means of communications we have put into place and finetuned to fit our meetings, seminars and conferences. I see this interaction intensifying, whether it’s face-to-face or online. We have our biyearly Committee Meetings coming up in February, when we will continue to action the strategies we have identified to support our Members and the Industry in reaching their business objectives.

I wish all of you a happy, healthy and productive 2022, and don’t forget to register risk-free to join us at Afera’s ultimate learning event, the Tape College, in April in Brussels!

Evert Smit
Afera President