It hardly seems five minutes that we were preparing to meet our customers in Barcelona in September, yet here we are just a week away from the final highlight of the year as far as the industry is concerned - London Pulp Week.
In this age of digital immediacy, some argue that there is little need to leave the office these days – everything can be done via Skype or email. Call me old-fashioned, but I would beg to differ. In our business at least, there is still no substitute for face-to-face meetings and listening to each other. London is one of those dates in the diary that provides the perfect opportunity to meet, talk and most importantly, listen.
This year has been an extraordinary one and it is perhaps in times like these that our meetings matter most. We will certainly have plenty to talk about in addition to contracts for next year: We have seen a sustained period of high and stable prices for both softwood and hardwood pulps which no one could have foreseen a year ago. So many factors across the global market have contributed to the situation we have today: From the Chinese ban on imported waste, to an unusually wet winter and warm summer in Scandinavia, it seems that every few months, the market has been hit by another challenge. For us in Sweden, the latest has been an infestation of bark beetle which our foresters are doing their best to minimize.
While Mother Nature has played her part in creating unpredictability, the backdrop of political uncertainty across Europe has certainly not helped and it would be a brave person indeed who would try to predict with any degree of uncertainty what might be coming next – we can speculate but we simply do not know.
So our approach is to concentrate on what we do know and what we do best, and that is providing a secure and stable supply of pulp from forests carefully managed to the highest sustainable standards. That’s why, for the first time, we have chosen to invite one of our forest inspectors to our stand at the BWPA/Hawkins Wright Symposium during Pulp Week. He will be there to answer any questions you may have about our forestry and to show off some of the state-of-the-art tools we are using to optimize our forest estates. If you are attending the Symposium, do take a moment to drop by and see for yourself the investment and care our forestry department puts into our estates.
I look forward to seeing you there and to discussing how together we are best placed to meet the challenges of 2019!
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