The Bosta meeting from Thursday, March 16th may go down in history as the warmest ever spring meeting yet. The sun definitely played its part, but it was the heart-warming themes, especially, that did the trick: from Bosta's own Responsible Office to explanations about FSC and CSR. GfK regaled us with facts and figures on the ins and outs of the industry. And secretary Bea launched the “hottest” scoop of all: the relocation of the Paper Show!

Getting the ball rolling

The meeting took place at Martin's Red in Tubize, a full-service hotel on a very special location indeed: the Red Devils training centre. The utterly charming hotel treats its sporting (and other) guests to top-notch service and infrastructure. Bosta members were given a tour of the hotel and the training site, followed by some networking under an early spring sun. Then, Bert Lippens got the ball rolling with an introduction to the day’s programme. He briefly listed the successes that Bosta had strung together during recent years, and underlined the importance of teamwork.

Teamwork… works

Carlo Bollen looked to the past as well as the future of Responsible Office: an initiative that was launched at the explicit request of the government. Since the establishment of Bosta’s environmental committee (2014) and the launch of the RO site (2015), interest has been growing steadily. Currently, the website hosts about 400 green products from eight manufacturers. To boost the RO site, additional certificates have been introduced, making it easier for manufacturers to join a specific (product) category. Bosta is planning to raise awareness with buyers of governments, municipalities, cities, even further...

Responsible forest management: rewarding!

FSC, short for Forest Steward Council, is an international non-profit organization committed to sustainable forest management, taking into account strict social, environmental and economic criteria. Bart Holvoet explained its vision, mission and background, and focussed on the importance of FSC certification for the sectors in which Bosta members are active. It’s important to keep in mind that deforestation is a global problem with devastating consequences for the entire planet. Nonetheless, wood and paper are brilliant and versatile products which, when managed sustainably, have a minimal ecological footprint. Products carrying the FSC label require more promotion and recognition!

Corporate sustainability: easier said than done

Corporate Social Responsibility: it has a great ring to it, and many companies are 'claiming' it, yet precious few actually manage to apply it. CSR is an integral vision on sustainable operations. It entails that every business decision should consider and balance its social and economic effects. MVO Vlaanderen (CSR Flanders) has no less than 17 objectives, 169 sub-objectives and 229 indicators it wants to attain by the year 2030. Their online CSR scan allows companies to quickly determine how they score in areas such as fair trade, environmental stewardship, good governance, and so on.

GfK: Belgium in figures

Market research firm GfK presented an overview of general market trends and trends specifically relevant to the Bosta industry. Unfortunately, consumer confidence is still negative, although purchasing power has gone up slightly again for the first time. People spend approximately 30 percent of their income on their house (the Belgian’s proverbial “brick in the stomach”), 13 percent on food (meal boxes definitely on the rise here!) and 12 percent on king car. Belgians also love their discount coupons to bits.

The sector’s annual review will be sent separately to all members.

Paper Show scoop: new location in Mechelen!

What more can we say on the 2017 edition of the Paper Show: the trade show was a huge success on all fronts. More exhibitors, more visitors, more exhibition space and more money raised for SOS Children’s Villages than ever before! This link offers a detailed report on the trade show, including the overwhelming numbers.

In 2018, the Paper Show is relocating from the Brabanthal in Leuven to the Nekkerhal in Mechelen. The reason is simple: the trade show is bursting at the seams and has become a victim of its own success. Although the concept itself will not be tampered with, the programme will feature some innovations. For instance: small changes to PS Awards categories: “writing utensils” will henceforth be split up into “pure writing utensils” and “crea and hobby”; there will be an additional category called “leather goods and school satchels”. Going forward, the eco award will be known as the Responsible Office eco award, and competing products should meet the requirements of at least one of the ten RO labels.

Informationally, the spring meeting was stuffed like an Easter egg! And to digest all this news, members were treated to a delicious dinner. The panoramic view of the Red Devils training site was the icing on the cake. Please mark down the date of the next meeting, which will take place on June 15.