New Year’s greetings from the President

I hope that you all are enjoying a good start to 2021 and are, above all, healthy! 2021 will be an odd year—a year of recovery and healing, but also new roads, new chances and the solidification of new ways of working. The pandemic is not over—far from it actually—and deep into 2021 we will see its lingering effect.

In the meantime, the world has changed. It will never be like 2019 again. And it should not be. I guess we all have gotten used to working at a distance, working from home. Management has gotten used to the positive aspects and has gotten rid of some prejudices around WFH, I hope. It did take some adjusting, but for me it clearly offers new opportunities as well, especially if one tries to do as much as possible “virtually” and limit meeting face-to-face to urgent matters or when it very obviously brings value. Remember: B2B is H2H in the end. In this hybrid version, it is significantly more efficient, more effective and certainly more sustainable.

One thing that will also shape 2021 is the formalisation of the European Green Deal and increased global efforts in sustainability, circularity and generally becoming serious about climate change and the environment. Some major shifts in big nations have occurred that will support this too. At Afera, we are working more than ever on supporting our Members taking their businesses into the future. This means bringing you the news, editorials and events that keep you up-to-date with the workings and relevant issues of the adhesive tape industry in the entire European Economic Area.

We are working on building our brand and online community in 2021. We are also looking to keep you connected and supported on regulatory affairs issues affecting your business, like the Green Deal but also the Circular Economy Action Plan, the E.U. Plastics Strategy, Ecodesign, the Sustainable Products Initiative and Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. Seeing the need to address these issues is what drove us to develop our Annual Conference, of which today was our concluding installment addressing the business case for sustainability. The number of Members and partners we have joining our online events is constantly growing, indicating that what we are doing is important. And simultaneously, led by our Sustainability Working Group, we are crafting our Industry position on the European Green Deal.

Looking ahead, we are gearing up for our virtual 9th Technical Seminar in April and May, and hopefully a face-to-face 64th Annual Conference in Valencia, Spain, at the end of September. We are working on next-level rheological test methods and co-ordinating (virtually) with the Global Tape Forum. Last but certainly not least, I am delighted to announce the nomination of a new member of our Steering Committee, Richard Marchant (Novacel S.A.S.), who will join in our team discussions pending his confirmation at our next General Assembly. You will find the Minutes of our last GA attached.

I leave you with this today: On 20 April 2020, at the peak of the first lockdown, the effects this had on the world became very, very clear. On that day, I took a picture at the old cemetery close to my home, which is a few miles from the Cologne-Bonn Airport. But there were no flights. No traffic. The sky has never been as clear as then.

Best wishes,

Evert Smit
Afera President