We interviewed Andrea Mecarozzi, CEO of Sc.A.T, and the new president of the Association of Italian Box Manufacturers, the third to lead the association that brings together about a hundred box factories from all over Italy. With him we have drawn up a balance sheet of the last two years with a look at the future of the corrugated cardboard packaging sector, highlighting the salient points of his work program
The election took place during the national assembly which was held last September 17 in Asiago, the first assembly in attendance after the pandemic which also saw the return of association’s industry partners, who animated a lively exhibition area set up inside Asiago Tourism Palace, where the assembly was held.
A return, therefore, to normality for this assembly which also marked the tenth anniversary of ACIS, created in 2011 as a consortium and subsequently converted into an association. Ten years characterized by 24 assemblies, 110 boards of directors, 60 sponsors and hundreds of initiatives and projects developed to let the box factory sector grow and evolve and represent a very important category for the Italian production system and which looks towards the future with eyes of sustainability.
Face to face with Andrea Mecarozzi, president of the Italian Box Manufacturers Association
Dr. Mecarozzi, what will be the characterizing points of your mandate?
“There will be two main points. First of all, the institutional positioning of the association and consequently of the companies that are part of it. We believe it is essential to increase the weight of the box factories sector in our supply chain and give more voice to the needs of our members, also in relation to the particular historical moment we are facing, characterized by uncertainties and opportunities that perhaps had never been seen in these dimensions. We will then continue to work to increase the entrepreneurial culture and technical training of our people in the new scenarios through training courses developed specifically for the needs of our companies”.
How has the cardboard packaging sector come out over the last two years?
Following the closure of the Antitrust investigation on the corrugated cardboard market, we have finally experienced a ‘normalization’ of the scenario, unfortunately interrupted in the last period by the international raw materials crisis. This ‘cyclone’ that has upset all the previous dynamics and puts us every day in front of new organizational, production and commercial challenges, has arrived precisely at a time when the liveliness of demand and the ever-increasing demand for cardboard as a substitute for other materials had charted a very positive path for our companies and our sector in general”.
Let’s talk about the big problem related to the lack of raw materials, what happens and how to get out of it?
“The shortage of raw materials has unfortunately also affected our market in a very heavy way, with production lines sometimes stopped and suppliers in increasing difficulty due to lack of paper. Unfortunately, this scenario results in a delay in delivery times to our customers and generally causes a climate of great uncertainty. I believe that we will come out of it when the paper producers are able to face and overcome the difficulties caused by expensive energy or sometimes short-sighted policies”.
How do you position yourself towards the other stakeholders present in the supply chain? Beyond the problems of the past, forming a common front towards the institutions could strengthen the demands to be pursued?
“We have always maintained excellent relationships with our partners and suppliers, our assemblies are always a moment of great conviviality and exchange of professional skills. As regards relations with the trade association that represents our corrugated cardboard suppliers, now that a new governance has been formed after a long period of transition, we hope to be able to resume a constructive dialogue in the short term, to carry on the numerous common interests for the benefit of our companies and the sector of box factories in general”.
What challenges await the corrugated cardboard packaging sector for the future?
“Corrugated cardboard due to its recyclability characteristics and its very low environmental impact will be an increasingly obligatory choice for the world of packaging. Technological development and innovation allow more and more applications and make our cardboard increasingly flexible and ideal in various fields not covered up to now. Just think of the furniture industry, for example. The now unstoppable substitution of cardboard for other packaging materials will also open up further opportunities for our companies in key sectors for packaging, such as food. In short, box factories able to follow or anticipate these new trends, to innovate and innovate will really be able to seize the opportunities of a quite unique historical moment”.