Industry News

Innovative corrugated packaging could transform pharmaceutical products transport

Technological improvements of corrugated paper packaging could change dramatically the way we transport pharmaceutical products across the globe.

One of the latest innovations in this field is rapresented by Life Guardian's outer box, an adapatation of the Woolcool solution for transporting temperature sensitive food products such as meat.

Made from a water-resistant coated, dual-wall microflute corrugated construction with a thickness of just 3mm, the product mantains internal pack temperatures between 2°C and 8°C for up to 150 hours while exposed to extreme ambient weather conditions, offering a more thermal resistant material (0.029w/mK) compared to EPS (generally around 0.036w/mK).

Worldwide, it is estimated that £1billion waste problem could be attributed to fluctuating temperatures while goods are on the move. Corrugated paper could represent an innovative solution to develop an environmentally-friendly packaging material featuring high insulating qualities.

“Hitherto, the global pharmaceutical industry has struggled to deliver all desperately needed vaccines safely each year due to inadequate transit packaging. It now has a viable and more sustainable option that will help to reverse the unnecessary waste of money and save lives in the process", said Angela Morris, Structural Packaging specialist.

Andy Barnetson, Director of Packaging Affairs at the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), highlighted that corrugated will "help create an innovative transit packaging solution for pharmaceuticals that not only ticks all the environmental boxes but also provides a more efficient and effective alternative to longer established competition."

<Photo courtesy of Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI)>

Confor releases new documentary on Timber supply chain

'Our forests, our people'

Confor has recently released a short documentary called - 'Our Forests, Our People' - aimed to showcase the economic, social and environmental importance of the UK Timber Supply Chain.

The video, produced in collaboration with Heehaw agency, offers spectacular aerial shots and an impressive insight to the sector through the voices of the people who work for forestry and timber businesses.

"This video is a great tool for us to promote the modern-day success story of Forestry and Timber", said Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor. "The forestry and timber sector has a great story to tell, but we need to tell it more effectively. This video and the other materials we are working on will really help."

EU launches study to assess its deforestation footprint

As reported by FERN, the EU has launched a study, to be completed by August 2016, to assess how to tackle deforestation.

The final report, conducted by three consultant organisations - COWI, Milieu and Ecofys - should lead to a challenging European Action Plan on deforestation.

The consortium will examine a wide range of policies suggesting where improvements could be made. These policies include Trade and Investment, Common Commercial Policy, Development and International Cooperation, the Internal Market, Agriculture and Fisheries, Environment, Consumer Protection, Energy, Climate Change, Sustainable Production and Consumption, as well as EU and international forest policies, including the FLEGT Action Plan. 

It is estimated that, between 1990 and 2008, the EU imported 36 per cent of all traded crops associated with deforestation. According to the preliminary 'Feasibility study on an EU Action Plan on deforestation' some 13 million hectares of forests are lost every year (source: FAO). "Competing and often conflicting demands for land are likely to grow further towards 2050, when 9 billion people will be sharing one planet and its limited resources, under changing climate patterns and socio-economic conditions", the study explains.

"To date, the land on which forest grows is often considered more valuable than the standing forest itself. Deforestation accounts for some 20% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (IPCC, 2007) – more than the total EU greenhouse gas emissions. Addressing deforestation is therefore a cost-effective way to combat climate change and, at the same time, conserving biodiversity and securing better livelihoods."

UK remains primary destination for North American pellet exports, WRI reports

According to Wood Resources International (WRI), the United Kingdom remains the primary destination for North American pellet exports despite "UK government announced plans to reduce various subsidies for green energy from a variety of sources".

"Policy developments in both the UK and the Netherlands underscore the still unsettled details around biomass utilization in Europe despite the continent’s commitment to green energy", claimed the organisation.
The report also highlighted that "Drax biomass plants in the UK remain by far the largest user of North American pellets". "Future industrial pellet demand in the UK was also bolstered in the 3Q/15 with the announcement that a coal-burning power station in Northumberland will close at the end of 2015 only to be converted to a pellet-burning plant operating by the end of 2017 dependent on final government approvals", WRI added.

According to the North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR), North American overseas pellet exports increased for the second consecutive quarter in the 3Q/15, rising 15 percent from the previous quarter to reach a new record high of just over 1.6 million tons. 

BMF warns Merchants: 'Many companies risk to lose out on Apprentice Levy'

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has warned merchants not to lose out on Apprentice Levy. As revealed in teh Autumn Statement, companies with a payroll of more than £3m will have to pay 0.5 per cent of staff spending via PAYE to fund the system. The more apprentices companies take on, the more training will be available to them – in the form of digital vouchers. Nonetheless they will have to pay the levy whether or not they take on any apprentices.

BMF MD John Newcomb said: “The Apprenticeship Levy is designed to ensure that businesses invest in skills and training, which should be a good thing, but we are concerned that some merchants will miss out. The Levy will not only affect national merchants. Many regional groups and larger independents with more than 150 mployees will find themselves in the payroll bracket required to pay the Levy.”

Mr Newcomb's comment followed a survey conducted among BMF members reporting that, while just over half (51%) of the companies employ at least one apprentice, almost as many (49%) have neither current apprentices nor plans to take on an apprentice in the future.

The BMF estimates that its members will be recruiting around 1,000 apprentices over the next two years.  Over a third of members surveyed use the BMF Apprenticeship Scheme provided by Didac and specifically designed to deliver trained apprentices in the merchant industry. Others, mainly larger merchants, operate their own in-house schemes.

“Responses to our survey lead us to believe that up to a third of our merchant members may be liable to pay the Levy. If they don’t invest in the future of the industry and regularly employ apprentices in their own business, their hard earned cash will go to fund the training of apprentices in other industries. This is not a situation that anyone in the industry wants to see", Mr Newcomb, added.

"The Apprenticeship Levy should not be viewed as an extra tax on employment, but a real incentive for merchants to take on apprentices and invest in the next generation.  However, the Levy must not be used to replace public funding for secondary education".