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Amat Victoria Curam

By Michael D'Angelo

July 9, 2021

width=152My friend and predecessor, Steve Young, would occasionally lead this column with a Latin phrase. Latin gets attention, and using it can make one appear smarter than they may actually be.

I figured I would uphold that tradition as I was thinking about a way to capture all that is going on in our business and your Association lately. It’s been a good run of late. A successful in-person and virtual AICC Spring Meeting in Amelia Island, Florida. A booming box business. There are active and looming challenges such as increasingly anti-business policies being proposed by the Biden administration. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation pending in several states. Ongoing with the supply chain and with labor.

Victory loves preparation. Your AICC staff and the convention content committee did a tremendous job of organizing and staging the Spring Meeting. There were multiple options for the attendees, in-person and virtual. Wonderful speakers were booked. The location was ideal. The team anticipated, had a plan, were patient, executed, and delivered. We are grateful to them and to all of you. The theme of the meeting was A Brave Independent World. The team and the attendees proved this to be true. Victoria!

The box business is flourishing. Shipments in 2020 were up 3.4% and, in the first quarter of 2021, up 5.5%. The circumstances behind this happy situation were perhaps not anticipated, but the response of boxmakers and their suppliers was a matter of being prepared and being agile. Your response to the market’s push has nothing to do with luck. Your engagement with your customers and their confidence in you and your people are the result of careful planning, brand-building, and execution. Some execution has suffered under the strain on supply chains, but customer relationships built and nurtured over the years and your partnership with other AICC members have played key roles in maintaining satisfaction. Victoria!

The challenges in the supply of paper and other raw materials and your ability to recruit and hire effective workers will remain for the foreseeable future. Adaptation is a form of preparation.

In matters governmental, victoria is less clear. The government’s extension of unemployment benefits through September and other stimulus brought forth in the American Rescue Plan Act put a definite drag on the available labor pool. The pending PRO Act is another business-unfriendly legislative package, as are the tax implications of the bloated infrastructure proposals beginning to take shape in Washington. Several state legislatures have EPR ready to move. The sustainability track record of paper-based packaging should exempt it from EPR. EPR may make sense for other forms of packaging, especially plastics.

AICC, with its partners on Capitol Hill and our own government affairs committee, will continue to be by your side. AICC, too, has prepared and proved itself to be a trusted partner to members and an ally in their victories. AICC will continue to tirelessly put in the work on behalf of membership.

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Et nos tecum sumus. We are with you!

 

 

Michael D’Angelo

AICC President