It has been an honor serving as chair of the FPA Board of Directors. I lookforward to working with George Thibeault, president of Constantia Hueck Foils and chairman of the FPA Board of Directors, during his leadership. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the association, the FPA Executive Committeeand the FPA Board of Directors, for their contributions to a very productive year.In 2007, the accomplishments and activities of the association were many. As we take a look back, we focus on the value of membership and the strengths of the Flexible Packaging Association.

FPA Value Proposition

In 2007, a thorough review of FPA’s value proposition found that the association is recognized for several strengths including valuable industry information and data, strong industry protection, great networking events, high commitment of membership and being the united voice of the flexible packaging industry. The association’s efforts on sustainability and providing leadership on the Wal-Mart sustainability initiatives were also notable strengths.

FPA Sustainability Initiatives

To help FPA members communicate the sustainable benefits of flexible packaging to their customers, the association developed an educational brochure on the sustainability of flexible packaging. The brochures are now available and will be mailed to all FPA members within the coming weeks. FPA is also in the process of developing a companion brochure that will provide detailed case studies on the sustainable advantage of flexible packaging over other packaging formats. This brochure will be available soon.

FPA’s participation and efforts on the Wal-Mart Sustainable Packaging Network and Steering Committee resulted in the successful addition of an option for multi-layer and majority material to the Wal-Mart scorecard. Additionally, FPA developed a majority material guidance document and conducted two Sustainable Packaging Workshops, which provided guidance on completing the Wal-Mart scorecard.

On the FPA website, the association added a Sustainable Packaging page, which features a wealth of information on FPA sustainability events and Wal-Mart Scorecard updates. The FPA Members Sustainability Initiatives and Activities page, also added to the FPA website, highlights the sustainability achievements and initiatives of FPA members.

These efforts and activities were also supported by the launch of the FPA Sustainability Update - a monthly, electronic newsletter developed by FPA to provide the latest on industry-related sustainability news and events to FPA members.

These efforts and activities were also supported by the launch of the FPA Sustainability Update - a monthly, electronic newsletter developed by FPA to provide the latest on industry-related sustainability news and events to FPA members.

The growth of the FPA website was outstanding in 2007. As a major resourcefor FPA members, industry professionals and the general public, the FPA websiteaverages more than 52,000 visitors a month. Behind the homepagelies a content-rich website, with more than 1,270 pages of industry-related data and information, which is readily available with the click of a mouse.

A key component of the FPA website is the Members Only section. Containing electronic copies of FPA publications, reports and documents, presentations from FPA workshops, conferences and meetings, and minutes from past FPA task group and committee meetings, the Members Only section continued to provide FPA members with exclusiveaccess to information not available to the general public.

Government Relations & Financial Benchmarking Reports

The FPA regulatory committees worked proactively with federal agencies and other industry groups to minimize and prevent the adverse impact of government regulations on the flexible packaging industry. Activities of this committee included the annualEnvironmental Summit and Safety Conference, submission of comments on proposed rules including the Title 5 flexible permitting rule, publication of the quarterly Environmental Issues Index and successful restoration of funding for the Food ContactNotification program. FPA’s financial benchmarking reports, including the Compensation Report, the Earnings Report, the Operating Ratios Report and the Pulse of the Industry Report, continued to provide critical actionable information on the flexible packaging industry. The excellent economic and financial data is beneficial to all members and I encourage all converter members to participate in this program.

To learn more about these and other FPA events and activities, contact the association at (410) 694-0800 or


The FPA Annual Meeting, which focused on the “Future of Flexible Packaging,” was recently held from March 5-7, in Orlando, Florida. The meeting included great content and several networking events. Following are summaries of the FPA Annual Meeting presentations. Electronic copies of the presentations are also available in the Members Only section of the FPA website,

Providing Value

Immediate past chairperson of the FPA Board of Directors, and president and CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan, Ilene Gordon, reviewed the activities and accomplishments of the Flexible Packaging Association in 2007. Gordon discussed the FPA’s sustainability

initiatives, the growth of the FPA website,, detailed the activities

of the Regulatory and Government Relations task group and stressed the importance of participating in FPA’s financial benchmarking report surveys. Gordon noted that “the benchmarking reports provide critical economic information” and she encouraged all FPA converter members to participate in this program.

2008 State of the Industry Report Preview

Chairman of the FPA Board of Directors and president of Constantia Hueck Foils, George Thibeault, provided a preview of the 2008 State of the Industry Report. As a result of revisions in the U.S. Census Bureau’s data, and additional information from FPA members, FPA estimates that there will be approximately $25.6 billion in U.S. flexible packaging industry sales in 2007. The industry growth is estimated at 2.9% in 2007 with slower growth projected in 2008. The full report will be published in summer 2008 and will cover several key issues and topics of importance to the flexible packaging industry including industry growth, imports and exports, M&A activity (global and domestic) and future flexible packaging end-use opportunities.

European Flexible Packaging Market

Michael Cronin, chairman of Flexible Packaging Europe, and president of Packaging Food Europe, Rio Tinto Alcan, provided an update on the European flexible packaging market. During his presentation, Cronin noted that “the growth of the European flexiblepackaging market will continue to grow 1% to 2% annually over the next five years as competition within the market continues to intensify.”

Cronin examined the future for flexible packaging converters in Western Europe and explained that more plant closures and further consolidation could be experienced. Despite these obstacles, flexible packaging converters continue to focus on the application of sophisticated technologies and innovation that will yield higher added-value products and provide sustainable packaging solutions.

Cronin also discussed the FACET (Flavors, Additives and Contact materials Exposure Task) Project, which has been established to combat the potentially adverse effects of the European food contact legislation, and the recent research study commissioned by FPE on the Life Cycle Analysis of Packed Food Products: The Function of Flexible Packaging.

Merger & Acquisition Activity in the Packaging Industry

Doug Lawson, managing director of the Packaging Group at BMO Capital Markets examined the drivers behind recent mergers and acquisition activity in the packaging industry, 2007 mergers and acquisitions in packaging and provided a market outlook for 2008.

During his presentation, Lawson noted that the packaging has been an active sector for mergers and acquisitions over the last several years, with 2007 being an extremely strong year. Lawson discussed the causes of the recent M&A activity and the influence capital markets have had on it. His presentation also included an overview of transaction volume (2005-2007), and flexible packaging transactions by acquirer type and geography.

An Economic & Financial Outlook

Dr. Robert Genetski, interest rate forecaster and investment advisor, shared his economic and financial outlook with Annual Meeting attendees and guests. During his discussion, Dr. Genetski examined the stock market, productivity trends and shared his housing market outlook and solutions for improving the current credit problems. Dr. Genetski also discussed the four classic principles of economics, discussed the forces helping to spread these classic principles and provided a long-term outlook on future financial and economic developments.

A Closer Look at Election '08

Annual Meeting keynote speaker, Fred Barnes, discussed his predictions for the 2008 presidential elections. Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard and a commentator for Fox News, shared his thoughts on the candidates, what the presidential election will determine and his predictions on who will be elected president. Barnes also discussed several issues surrounding the campaign and noted that the 2008 presidential race has been unique and unpredictable.

Conducting Business in China

Henry Levine, senior vice president of Stonebridge International-China, shared his views on conducting business in China. His discussion examined the benefits and challenges of doing business in China and underscored the business opportunities available in China. China is too big to ignore and a major player in the global economy. Levine stressed that China will play a major role in future business decisions, whether a U.S. company is interested in the price and supply of energy/raw materials, the stability of global equity markets, exporting, investing, importing or sourcing.

The Future of Flexible Packaging

Sharing his thoughts on the future of flexible packaging, Michael Richmond, Ph.D of Packaging & Technology Integrated Solutions LLC, provided insight into trends, issues
and opportunities key to the continued growth of the flexible packaging industry. Richmond discussed new models and approaches for product growth, packaging drivers for the future and key trends affecting packaging including taste and performance, convenience, health, experiential packaging, customization and personalization, safety and security, value and sustainability.


Paragon Flexibles delivers industry leading film products and services. Specializing in optimal package atmospheres, Paragon Flexibles is committed to providing excellent customer service. The FPA official representative for Paragon Flexibles is Mark Lapping, managing director, and the FPA alternate representative is Tony Kendall, technical director.