It was the 3. June 1988 in London's Cumberland Hotel: leading managers of the cartonboard and carton industry from all over Europe decided to found an association to represent their interests: Pro Carton. It was the first association in the entire paper and cartonboard field devoted solely to those products for which they stood. It was the first time that two sectors in the supply chain collaborated to convey a broader perspective and greater knowledge about the business they represented. A pioneering approach: the list of the founding members reads like the Who's Who of the industry. Today, Pro Carton counts 15 manufacturers of cartonboard as members, nearly the entire European cartonboard industry as well as the European carton industry via the ECMA partner organisation.
On the occasion, the current president of Pro Carton, Roland Rex, invited representatives of the cartonboard and carton industries to a festive dinner in Dubrovnik on 19. September 2013. Nearly all the previous presidents attended the gala. Rex thanked his predecessors for their commitment and willingness to take on the responsibility for an industry sector, in fact an entire supply chain. In particular, he honoured the services of founding president Franz Rappold of Mayr-Melnhof Karton who was actively involved from the beginning.
Pro Carton was and remains the first organisation which is greatly involved in the future of the supply chain. Again and again, Pro Carton has critically examined its role and proven its sustainability, partly through radical structural changes. In his speech at the Pro Carton Dinner, the president underlined that changes also always offer positive aspects. "One refocuses on the core tasks and drives new developments, especially in the right direction." Today, he sees Pro Carton as being a strong organisation with numerous activities in tune with the requirements of modern marketing and well equipped to handle the challenges of the next 25 years.
Pro Carton has delivered continuity over 25 years as a reliable partner of the Packaging Supply Chain. The association will continue being closely involved in the developments of the next 25 years: challenges such as the current changes in the retail trade, innovations such as Internet-linking via QR-Codes will be addressed and discussed by experts. With the Pro Carton ECMA/Award and the Pro Carton Design Award as well as studies on the role and tasks of packaging, Pro Carton continues to drive this development. Current trends and designs are accessible to interested parties throughout Europe via the the Pro Carton/ECMA Congress as well as the Website www.procarton.com and regular E-news in five languages – the Pro Carton E-News has over 9,000 subscribers at present.
He gave a tongue in cheek future vision of Pro Carton. In five years Europe would experience a phase of solid growth. Sales of cartons would show double digit growth and the Pro Carton/ECMA Award would attain new record levels with 250 entries– "an unsurpassed show of performance by our industry" . In 15 years, cartons would be regarded by the branded goods industry and the advertising community as the most superior of marketing instruments, and the annual Pro Carton Congress would welcome 1,500 attendants. "In 25 years cartons made of cartonboard would be the first and only absolutely climate and resource-neutral form of primary packaging. The Pro Carton hall at the Interpack 2038 is the meeting point of the packaging industry and will deliver an incomparable showcase of the most sustainable and significant means of packaging in existence on a floor space of 2,500 m ".
"Even if this vision cannot be achieved 100 per cent: the goals are important and we will stick to them", said Roland Rex in conclusion.