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Despite increasing electronic media consumption, consumers still prefer paper - FEPE Congress, 22-24 September 2011, Edinburgh

FEPE, the European Federation of Envelope Manufacturers, held its 54th Congress in Edinburgh on “Meeting the Needs of a Demanding Market”. The event which was co-hosted by the Global Envelope Alliance (GEA) was attended by 110 delegates from 18 European countries, the USA, Canada, South Africa, Israel and Japan, representing Envelope Manufacturers and their suppliers.

The Director General of the Universal Postal Union Edouard Dayan, the Chairman of the US Regulatory Commission Ruth Goldway, the and Jane Dyer from the International Post Corporation reported about transformation and diversification of postal services at global level required to serve consumers, which, according to recent studies in the US and Switzerland, still favour “paper” as the most secure and reliable communication media.

GEA´s founder Bert Berkley stressed the importance of cooperation with postal operators, a message picked up various times during the event.  Presentations on market developments revealed a recovery in envelope sales in 2010 and indicated an overall slowing down of the much predicted decline in the coming years – a message supported by consumer preferences for paper and new business opportunities as demonstrated during the congress.

As a great example from the Belgian postal operator, its representative Christine Jean was able to demonstrate that investing in the promotion of direct mail works to keep mail volumes up even in times of economic recession. Furthermore, bpost´s research on carbon footprint showed that a typical paper based direct mail campaign has a 3-4 times lower Co2 impact than its electronic competitor in order to reach the same efficiency

This message was reinforced by Martyn Eustace, explaining how the Two Sides Initiative takes up existing misperceptions on print and paper. Facts like the annual growth of European forests by 1,5 million football pitches are spread in various languages, and a campaign to stop “Greenwash” managed to change the messages of a majority of Banks (87%), Utilities (64%) and Telecoms (100%) addressed. Positive news also from UPM and PostEurop,  proving that paper and postal industries are responding  to  environmental challenges with impressive large-scale initiatives on sustainable forest and water management, eco-friendly and re-usable products, and the reduction of carbon emissions.

On trends and market opportunities, the leading worldwide research firm for print solutions Infotrends predicted a 100% increase in the use of transpromo by 2015 thanks to recent graphical innovations and the importance of the carrier document. DM expert Andy Owen, supported by interviews with four DM professionals, stressed the role and power of the envelope for a successful direct marketing campaign.

The successful congress was kindly sponsored by Stora Enso, UPM, DOW, Winkler+D√ľnnebier, Eukalin, Gascogne Laminates, Multiplastics, Sidaplax, Drewsen Spezialpapiere, Halm and Sihl GmbH.

Next year´s FEPE congress will take place from 4-6 October in Malta. For further information on the congress, FEPE, its members and activities, please contact