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Future of Print Industry Forum a great success!

The traditional format of conferences still have their place, but we wanted to find out if people attending events wanted to have their say and become more involved with the content of the day?

This was confirmed by FESPA UK at The Future of Print Industry Forum held at Hatfield House on the 10th of March. By opening the discussion to the room for conversation, Future of Print saw delegates engage with each other rather than sitting through presentation after presentation. The open forum saw delegates and conversation leaders discuss a range of topics including business wellbeing and development in session 1, followed by sustainability and waste management in session 2.


The first session was led by Dawn Hampton, Director of Dawn Hampton Consultancy who specialises in leadership coaching and mentoring, Paul Fitch, Head of Inkjet in UK and Ireland from AGFA, Jane Rixon, Business Development Manager in Signage and Decoration from HP UK and Matt Guise, Sales Director from MacroArt. This session covered interesting subjects including rising material costs and how printers and suppliers approach this when dealing with customers, absorbing costs and the awkward situation of discussing rising prices with clients. With this, came the increased costs of shipping and disruption to the market post-covid, and how ultimately it may be more cost effective to return business to British made materials and products. The conversation moved to adapting business to become more efficient and the debate of automation vs training and education to maintain a strong workforce and introduce fresh blood into the printing industry, with very interesting input from Nicole Spencer, Director of RMC Digital and Mike Stearn Managing Director of Aurora Graphics and Displays.


The second session was led by Jon Hutton of Prismm Environmental who explained the developments in the waste management scheme that FESPA UK & Prismm have been working on together. The scheme aims to offer a solution to printers who are currently sending their waste substrate materials such as PVC and Polypropylene to landfill due to not having enough waste tonnage to recycle. This will potentially be solved by offering a bag/box system. Designed by Swanline Group, the boxes and bags are filled by printers or the end user and then sent directly to the recyclers. The second scheme discussed was the “Take back scheme” which sees Partner Members such as Soynag Europe collecting waste materials from their clients with their returning empty trucks and then bailing the waste at their site ready to be recycled.

At Future of Print Jon Hutton stated that:

“Soyang Europe have already begun collecting waste substrates which is great. Not only are they helping to reduce waste going to landfill they are giving back to the printing industry. Printers including RMC Digital, ImageCo, Stylo Graphics and MacroArt have all benefitted and have achieved 100% landfill diversion”.


Although the waste management initiative has only just begun it is destined to become much larger and well perceived with other printers and suppliers alike. Joining Jon and discussing sustainability in session two was Nick Kirby CEO of Swanline Group, Nathan, Swinson-Bullough Managing Director of ImageCo, Mark Mashiter Managing Director of Soyang Europe and Dominic Harris Co-founder of CarbonQuota. Topics included introducing sustainability into modern business and adapting it to become more environmentally responsible, and whether it can be used as a unique selling point to secure contracts, especially to clients that have a requirement for responsible printing. Conversation moved towards whether sustainable choices in substrates are readily available and if they are cost-effective which in turn also came to if they were available in the UK and the cost of international shipping. With the adoption of sustainability came the question of if was measurable, often this can be hard unless it is quantitative, which was readily answered and discussed by Dominic with the relative experience he has in terms of giving quantitative carbon values.


It was great to hear such positivity being shared in the room, and interesting input from all.

Nathan Swinson-Bullough said: “It was great to attend the Future of Print conference in Hatfield recently, both myself and Ed found it very insightful. It was it was great to see familiar faces at a live event. I was personally very proud to have been asked to feature on the sustainability panel and found it interesting to hear from the other speakers. We took a lot away from the event as it was reassuring that other companies similar to ourselves are facing similar struggles. Well done to all involved on the day especially Suzi and Jay for organising such a professional event.”


Tracy Dineen also added: “The FESPA UK 'Future of Print' event provided a great opportunity to network with some of the leaders in the large format community and participate in some particularly relevant sessions given the current market conditions. The atmosphere was open and relaxed which ensured good participation from the audience and it was great to see diversity of opinion being embraced. Definitely looking forward to future events!”.


FESPA UK are looking forward to developing their network even further, with an ever-growing membership base all with unique insights into the printing industry and showcasing this at future events. Watch this space for exciting updates.