Foreword; Reflections from London Pulp Week
It was such a pleasure to meet face to face with so many of you earlier this month in London. It almost felt like ‘old times’; if only we could have been free of our current challenges, it would have been. Covid-19 may have loosened its grip on our travel plans, but the mood today is still considerably more uncertain than in pre-pandemic times.
It would be an exaggeration to say that a problem shared was a problem halved when we met, but it reaffirmed that we are all facing similar issues as we head into what could well be a very difficult winter.
Everyone is concerned that the global economy looks precarious and in Europe especially, the energy crisis is deeply concerning, both for companies and many millions of households. While there is hope that inflation may be peaking and then begin to fall next year, current input costs are biting hard, and the business climate is tough.
In his excellent presentation to the Hawkins Wright Symposium, the former UK Ambassador to Russia, Sir Roderic Lyne, was not hopeful of an improvement in trading conditions with Russia any time soon, with all that this implies. If Putin does not fall soon, he said, the current conflict on Europe’s doorstep will likely continue for months, even years. After peace returns, it will take a generation to rebuild co-existence.
Against this backdrop, world leaders gathered earlier this month for the COP27 Summit. Climate change mitigation is the most pressing issue of them all and clearly top of most of our agendas. This month we have several articles underlining our commitment to a more sustainable future.
One thing that was clear from our London meetings was that in the absence of a quick fix to our challenges, we turn to each other. Cooperation, trust and loyalty are perhaps more valuable now than ever. We were heartened to hear that many of our customers still have surprisingly good order books for their products despite the tough climate. Long may that continue.
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