The UK Flexographic Industry Association (FIAUK) hosted its second sustainability breakfast meeting to discuss the education challenges facing the flexographic supply chain at the Leeds United Gary Speed Suite, Elland Road, Leeds on June 14.
June’s event followed the inaugural event in September, during which FIAUK identified the flexographic industry’s need to collaborate, innovate, legislate and educate in order to stay ahead of the sustainability challenge.
The ‘Blue Planet Effect’ was a key factor discussed as delegates debated the most effective ways to combat the spread of misinformation regarding plastic packaging. Several key areas for improvement were identified, including the sector’s use of social media, which many attendees agreed was not yet strong enough to address the growing need for transparency and clear communication.
Another issue discussed was the lack of a visible cultural representative for packaging. Attendees noted that media channels and platforms that seek to eliminate the use of plastics altogether have key figureheads, such as David Attenborough. Plastic packaging brings its own sustainability benefits and it was identified by the attendees that there are currently no high-profile advocates to champion this side of the discussion and stem the tide of misinformation and reactionary policy.
Additional discussions highlighted how critical education is within the industry itself. The flexographic printing sector contains a very wide, diverse talent pool and delegates proposed ideas to both retain existing talent and attract new individuals to the industry considering the aging nature of the current workforce.
“We were delighted by the engagement we saw at the breakfast event,” commented Debbie Waldron-Hoines, FIAUK Consultant CEO. “Education is so crucial to keeping the flexographic industry at the forefront and every business has its own approach and thoughts. Events such as our breakfast mornings allow everyone to share their experience and make their voice heard, paving the way for our sector to flourish.
“Clearly FIAUK is key proponent of training and education promoting the FIAUK Academy e-learning solution designed by professionals in the industry, for the industry. However, education is a broad topic and the breakfast meeting clearly identified we have a lot to do both in terms of communication outside of the sector and supporting those to be successful within the industry.”
The panel included Dave Daniels (National Flexibles), Sarah Greenwood (North of England Packaging Society) Mark Hawkins (Smurtit Kappa), Rachel O’Connell (Key Recruitment) and William Walter (Bridgehead Communications) and was chaired by Ben Mitchell of The Retail Institute. The event attracted over 70 delegates from across the flexo printing industry.