CEO’s, senior executives, customers, suppliers, and government policy makers gathered in Vancouver, BC this week for the 24th Annual Global Forest & Paper Industry Conference.
Hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the conference is an opportunity for members of the industry from many different sectors to come together to discuss current markets, emerging trends, and the outlook for the global industry. This year’s conference put a strong emphasis on tackling the emerging opportunities and risks arising from changing markets.
“Although the global forest, paper and packaging sector has recently been faced with several challenging shifts in the marketplace, it is now to change directions and revolutionize strategy,” the conference’s website says.
To speak on this overall theme, this year’s conference assembled many industry leaders, including – among others – Robert Johnson, Director of Global Energy and Natural Resources Eurasia Group, Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, Dr. John N. Saddler, Professor of Forest Products Biotechnology/Bioenergy at the University of British Columbia, and José Penido, Chairman of the Board for Fibria Celulose.
Also included in the speakers was Chadwick Wasilenkoff, CEO of Fortress Paper Ltd, who spoke to delegates about his company’s most recent innovations. Last year, Fortress Paper – a specialty paper manufacturer – purchased a northern bleached hardwood kraft pulp mill in Thurso and began converting it into a dissolving pulp mill. Dissolving pulp, also called specialty cellulose, is a primary component in the creation of rayon. The move was an example of a business in the industry changing its strategies in order to capitalize on changing markets.
“The highest growth and most profitable opportunities will come from those industries that are more specialized,” Wasilenkoff told the delegates.
The conference was a part of the 2011, Global Forest Products Leadership Summit , which was also happening in Vancouver. Three other conferences hosted by separate organizations also happened this week: The Pulp and Paper Products Council’s 8th Annual International Pulp Week, International WOOD Markets Group’s Global Wood Products Industry & Market Conference, and BC Bioenergy Network’s Next Generation Biomass Applications Conference.