INTERVIEW MR. PAUL BEER
Published 18 March 2021
As a passionate and experienced packaging professional Mr. Paul Beer, Giflor’s agent of UK and Ireland, is sharing with us his view on the development of packaging industry during Brexit times.
Paul, how do you think Brexit is affecting the UK packaging industry in general?
Currently it is causing a lot of delays, confusion, burocracy, higher prices and generally an increased workload for those directly involved in the daily business.
How will Brexit impact Chemical Regulation (plastic reduction, sustainable materials etc.) and what does this mean for UK packaging companies?
Personally, I am not concerned about the impact on Chemical Regulation as I believe responsible companies will continue to behave correctly for the benefit of their customers and business.
This might be by following and meeting the EU systems or perhaps adhering to new UK systems that might even set a higher standard. Either way I do not think that this will be a major problem for professional companies.
Actually, the concept of “Rules of Origin” prevails in UK, how do you, as Giflor’s agent, adapt to these new rules of doing business? Does this affect pricing and transformation of customer needs?
The new ways of working with the requirement to use an import agent and pay VAT is certainly an extra shared hassle for everybody (UK & European companies). I think this could have and should have been avoided because everyone suffers with the additional work and cashflow implications. Regarding customer needs, I personally don’t think the UK customers are so passionate about the requirement for made in the UK. Particularly when comparing ourselves to other nations such as the French who I know really want this. In reality, even if a UK customer or brand wants everything to be of UK origin the unfortunate reality is that a lot of the UK manufacturing has already disappeared with little effort to support it, protect it or rebuild it. The UK brands therefore have to deal with Europe and in light of the challenges of shipping anything from the Far East currently, European manufacturing is looking very favourable.
And now, looking forward to 2025 and beyond, what do you foresee as the biggest challenges for Giflor?
I think the biggest challenge will be to satisfy the forever changing demands of the governments on plastic taxes and the use of PCR materials. The supply of the PCR materials will become an enormous challenge for all plastic manufacturers to manage. I also think that there is a challenge to educate consumers and brands about the levels of PCR necessary.
Although 100% PCR sounds great, I personally think that an element or percentage of PCR might be a more sustainable long-term target for everybody. This way we can all reduce the demand for certain materials rather than simply allow the larger brands to dominate the raw material market. If the PCR is shared out fairly to the whole market, then all regions and all brands can benefit. I fear that the larger companies will consume all the materials and therefore benefit from tax savings at the expense of smaller independent brands who are unable to obtain the materials.
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