Sustainability and innovation in paper manufacturing needed
As Dubai moves closer to achieving the targets set by the Dubai Paperless Strategy, experts at Paperworld Middle East 2019 noted that paper and paper product manufacturers need to focus on innovation and sustainability, which are becoming increasingly important to consumers.
Running for three days at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the annual showcase was opened by Butti Saeed Al Ghandi, second vice-chairman of the Dubai World Trade Centre. Under the theme 'More than Paper', the ninth edition of the event features an expanded product offering, and is playing host to 305 exhibitors from 42 countries. The event, this year, is co-located with Leatherworld, where 23 exhibitors are presenting their latest finished leather goods, from garments, footwear, and bags, to unique handcrafted accessories and luxury gift ideas.
Speaking to Khaleej Times after the official opening of the event, Paperworld Middle East show director, Alexandria Robinson, said that sustainability is a factor that needs to be focused on a lot more in the Middle East region. "The European and US markets are much more mature and the Middle East region needs to keep pace with them. Dubai is keen to be a visionary and innovation comes naturally to the market here, so we will see an acceleration in new and more sustainable products."
She also explained that the innovation and sustainability in the industry are not just limited to the way that paper is farmed and produced anymore. "Before, we would see a lot of manufacturers talk about sustainable farming and growing practices, as well as CSR initiatives that benefit the local communities, however, today the sustainability is there at every level and across a variety of products. You see sustainable packaging, cork boards, wrapping, and bags. This is going to be a key feature as Dubai moves towards hosting the Expo 2020 event, and also as the push towards smart cities continues."
The European presence at Paperworld Middle East 2019 is particularly strong, with more than 50 exhibitors this week hailing from the old continent. Long-time exhibitor Olmar from Portugal is among these, and is showcasing its eco-friendly range of Fegol branded products for office supplies, and Pajory for school supplies.
João Oliveira, Olmar's CEO, said: "We've managed to grow our sales in the Middle East and African region by 45 per cent over the past three years and we hope to improve on that record. We're currently exporting to 32 countries and we plan to add at least another two countries to that list by the end of the year. We've created very good partnerships with all the distributors that we've met at Paperworld Middle East and we always come back to increase the recognition of our Pajory and Fegol brands."