42nd Annual PRIMA Conference, Berlin - 27 May 2011

Sappi Fine Paper Europe sets out an ambitious new agenda for paper and pulp in the 21st century at Europe’s leading paper conference


We live in a changing world – a world which is constantly evolving, most visibly through the way we communicate. The paper and pulp industry must change with it if it is to take advantage of the new opportunities provided by innovative technologies while avoiding the pitfalls of the new digital age. Sappi Europe CEO Berry Wiersum and Business Development and Marketing Director Eric Van den Bruel shared their vision with attendees of the 2011 PRIMA Conference of how paper, pulp and trees must face the many challenges of the 21st century to remain relevant, and why there is much reason for optimism.


This year’s PRIMA Conference, the 42nd of its kind, took place in Berlin from 22-24 May 2011. The annual PRIMA conference is one of the foremost events in the paper world, taking place in a different European city every year, and bringing together all of the major actors of the sector. Some of the key attendees and speakers at the 2011 event, which was hosted by Sappi Europe, included futurist Gerd Leonhard, Jan Algoed and Bart Muskala of Proximity BBDO, Kirsten Lange of the Boston Consulting Group, Paul Marsh of Virgin Media, Peter Phippen of BBC Magazines and Clive Suckling of PricewaterhouseCoopers.


In a world where all ‘traditional’ media – even television and film – are losing out to online and digital communication channels, the paper and pulp industry cannot afford to be complacent. As this year’s keynote speaker, Sappi Fine Paper Europe CEO Berry Wiersum dealt head-on with some of the toughest challenges faces by the paper and pulp sector today: natural resources, commodities prices and new media, to name but three.  At the same time, he expressed optimism that paper can and will be relevant in the years to come, pointing out that non-digital revenues remain important, that printed material still has added value compared to online content, and that digital print in particular, alongside other technologies, would help build a more symbiotic relationship between online and offline materials. He also suggested that more cooperation and consolidation would be necessary to streamline the sector.


Eric Van den Bruel, Business Development and Marketing Director at Sappi Fine Paper

Europe, followed on from Berry Wiersum’s realistic and hopeful outlook by pointing out that trees could, in fact, be at the very heart of our future – that there is much more that we can make from trees than just plain paper.

The materials we use today to make so many of the products essential for our daily lives are unsustainable. Eric Van den Bruel focused on the enormous environmental impact and economic costs of both cotton and oil, which are set to grow in the years to come as we put a greater and greater strain on our planet’s finite resources – and suggested that trees may be the green alternative of the future. Chemical cellulose from trees, and its different forms – viscose, microcrystalline (MCC), carboxymethyl and acetate – can be used to produce everything from food and drink products, through medicines and personal care products, to the clothes we wear. Trees could well be the renewable future we are looking for – and Sappi is working toward this future through renewable forests and extensive scientific research.


Alongside Berry Wiersum and Eric Van den Bruel, many other distinguished speakers brought their points of view to the table. Bart Muskala and Jan Algoed of Proximity BBDO pointed out that the growth of digital print technologies means that it will become easier and cheaper for publishers to harness the added value and meaning of paper. Gerd Leonhard, leading futurist, urged the paper and pulp industry to evolve to survive in a world where ordinary content is heading almost exclusively online. Meanwhile, Virgin’s Paul Marsh spoke about the value of paper-based advertising in reaching homes and families, while Robert Wilson (Wilson, Walklate & Associates) talked about paper as part of the third, green, sustainable industrial revolution.


Speaking about the conference, Sappi Fine Paper Europe CEO Berry Wiersum said: “This year’s PRIMA Conference showed, more than any of its predecessors, that all of the industry’s stakeholders have understood the unique challenges we face as we remain relevant and important in a changing communications world – and that the creative minds here have many ideas about how to adapt to survive and thrive.”


His colleague Eric Van den Bruel, added: “Sappi is committed to paper. But we want to do more. I was encouraged by the positive reaction among attendees to the scientific advances that we have made in turning trees into the renewable materials source of the future.”


Additional Information

Details of the 2012 Conference will be available on the PRIMA conference website shortly:http://www.prima-papernetwork.org/index.cfm




Sappi Fine Paper Europe is the leading European producer of coated fine paper used in premium magazines, catalogues, books and high-end print advertising. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, Sappi Fine Paper Europe is recognised for innovation and quality. Its brands include Galerie, Royal, Magno, Tempo, Quatro, Furioso, HannoArt, Mega, Allegro, EuroArt Plus, EuroBulk, as well as Tauro for the uncoated graphic papers. Algro, Fusion, Leine and Parade are the brands for speciality labelling, topliner, packaging papers and boards. Top and Jaz are the paper brands for digital printing.

Sappi papers are produced in mills accredited with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification and EMAS registration for all our mills in the EU. SFPE’s mills hold chain-of-custody certification under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and/or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) schemes.

Sappi Fine Paper Europe is a division of Sappi Limited (NYSE, JSE), a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with over 17,000 employees and manufacturing operations on four continents in 9 countries, sales offices in 50 countries, and customers in over 100 countries around the world. Learn more about Sappi at www.sappi.com.

Contact details:

Claudia Hammerich
Manager Corporate Communications
Tel +32 (0)2 676 9784
Mobile +32 (0)472 618966
Email: Claudia.Hammerich@sappi.com

Elsa Mouille
Press & Media Relations Coordinator
Tel: +32 2 676 97 25
Mobile: +32 479 588 009
Email: elsa.mouille@sappi.com