GRAEME RODDEN & MARK RUSHTON
In introducing this Top 50 in 2019, we wrote, “Over the past few years, events and issues, some of which fall outside traditional pulp and paper making, have shown to have increasingly more influence over the industry. This year is no different.”
So what can we say in 2020, as one event has come to overshadow our lives? This is our 13th (which may be fitting, if you are superstitious) compilation and it is like no other. Usually, there is a big, popular event we like to highlight every year that garners a lot of press—soccer’s World Cup, the Olympics, a Royal Wedding—but we will all need to wait until at least 2021 for any of these. Of course, Brexit and the US presidential election will continue to attract attention.
Although we highlight the tissue producers’ donations in the fight against COVID-19, it must be said that all pulp, paper, and board companies that we come across have done their share in trying to help alleviate the consequences of this pandemic, not only to their employees and customers, but to the population at large.
As always, we would like to hear from you as to who we may have missed and why they should be included. You can contact Graeme Rodden ([email protected]) or Mark Rushton ([email protected]) with your list of who—or what—deserves a spot on Paper360°’s Top 50 Power List.
Probably no event since World War II has had such an effect on the lives of our global population as this pandemic. For the pulp, paper, and packaging industries, there are myriad effects. Short-term, bathroom tissue sales skyrocketed (although there was really no need for that). Packaging grades also benefited from increased use of online sales as many retail outlets closed or people did not want to risk going out. Graphic papers suffered as offices, governments, and schools shut down and working from home became the rule, not the exception. Most, if not all, industry conferences have been cancelled or put on hold until later this year or next, but even that is a big “if” at this point.
2-4. CHRISTIAN FISHER—GEORGIA-PACIFIC
DAVID TAYLOR—PROCTER & GAMBLE
This year let’s group the Big Three together. In this ongoing crisis, they (and to be fair, all tissue producers as well as most paper and board makers) have really stepped up their game to help in the fight. Demand for bathroom tissue went through the roof and hoarding became one of the darker results. Producers have been running flat out to meet demand while remaining cognizant of their responsibility to keep their workers safe. Examples of producers’ desire to help are numerous: donations of cash to food banks, switching production lines to make medical gowns/masks, as well as substantial donations of tissue (see page 9). All the while they must keep an eye on their companies’ bottom lines while trying to maintain their places in a competitive market.
5. WALTER SCHALKA—SUZANO
Unbelievably, Schalka earned the Fastmarkets RISI Latin American CEO of the Year honor for the fifth consecutive time in 2019. With the merger with Fibria finalized, Schalka now leads a company that can produce more than 10 million metric tpy of pulp, 1.3 million metric tpy of paper, and 140,000 metric tpy of tissue. Yet Suzano has its sights set firmly on the biomaterials market as well, seeing vast potential. This includes biofuels, bio-oil and biochemicals. Using cellulosic material as a substitute for various plastics is another goal.
6. CRISTIANO TEXEIRA—KLABIN
Under his leadership, the company is fulfilling its objective to be a leader in the packaging industry. As noted last year, the company is spending more than US$2 billion on its Puma II project. Klabin also purchased the packaging paper and corrugated packaging business of International Paper in Brazil in a R330 million (US$65 million) transaction. This further strengthened its leading position in the Brazilian corrugated box segment. Brazil has been hit hard by the pandemic so Klabin, the State Government of Paraná, and the Municipal Government of Telêmaco Borba signed an agreement to convert the Regional Hospital of Telêmaco Borba, which will now focus solely on treating patients infected with COVID-19. The hospital can receive immediate investments from Klabin, which will use its experience to make adaptations to the building infrastructure and acquire the equipment needed to set up ICU and infirmary beds.
7. MARK SUTTON—
A perennial leader on Paper360°’s Top 75 Producers list, Sutton has ensured IP will take a leading position in the struggle against COVID-19. “International Paper entered this crisis in a position of strength due to our committed employees, our diverse customer base, world-class manufacturing and supply chain capabilities, and solid financial footing. Given the unprecedented uncertainty regarding the ultimate economic impact of COVID-19, we are taking prudent steps to further strengthen the company’s liquidity,” reads a statement from Sutton. The company has earned a host of honors for its efforts in ethics and sustainability and has been recognized as one of the best places to work. In addition, Sutton has just been elected board chair of the AF&PA.
8. TEGUH WIJAYA—APP
No power list in the pulp and paper industry could be complete without the head of Asian giant APP, a massive company that continues to grow both organically and by acquisition. The latest major move is the acquisition of Chinese board maker Shandong Bohui Paper Industry in a deal currently being finalized. Added to this, APP China has recently ordered a 1.25-million metric tpy coated ivory board machine for its existing mill in Quinzhou city, Guangxi. The combined moves will make APP China’s top producer of coated ivory board.
9. CHEUNG YAN—NINE DRAGONS PAPER
Another Asian giant, Nine Dragons, headed up by Chairlady Yan, released its latest interim figures earlier in the year, which showed sales volumes up 13.3 percent from a year ago to 8.5 million tons for the six-month period. In total, Nine Dragons now has a design capacity of 16.5 million metric tpy and is expected to grow to 18.1 million metric tpy by 2021. However, it’s not all smooth sailing: the coronavirus crisis took its toll on Nine Dragons’ ability to collect recovered paper, with the result being a lowering of operating rate at the company by as much as 50 percent. Meanwhile, the company rendered its full support in China for fighting the virus by donating over RMB 33 million (US$ 4.65 million) in cash and medical supplies, including 30,000 pieces of protective clothing and 10,000 N95 masks.
10. ANTHONY PRATT—PRATT INDUSTRIES
Pratt has outlined a bold new growth plan for Pratt Industries’ future, charting the box-making and recycling company’s ambitious course. Speaking to The Australian for a January 2020 article, Pratt said he plans to take advantage of the modern online landscape to reach US$10 billion in revenue in Australia and the United States by 2026. To get there, Pratt remains focused on the importance of being outcomes-driven over process-driven. This growth plan comes in the wake of one of the company’s most successful years ever—but also in the wake of Australia’s tragic fires, which affected the operation of Visy Industries, a Pratt family business. Fuelling growth are two ambitious projects: Pratt Industries will construct two large paper mills in the US. This plan will continue a successful run of creation in the US, where Pratt has constructed five of the nation’s past six containerboard mills. The most recent was a US$270-million facility in Wapakoneta, OH, in September, 2019. Under Pratt’s leadership, the company has also become well-known for its philanthropic efforts.
11. VIRTUAL EVENTS
Webinars have been a fact of life for a few years, but will the pandemic spur the industry into a new and growing era of the online conference/webinar? The number of traditional conferences that have been cancelled has been staggering. When will it come back to normal…or is this the new normal? And, if so, how will event organizers cope with the staggering loss of revenue from exhibitors?
12. SUSUMU YAJIMA—OJI HOLDINGS CORPORATION
Oji President Susumu Yajima makes the Power List for the first time in 2020. Yajima heads the 146-year-old company, a leader in Japan in the areas of household and consumer products with a turnover of around US$13 billion. A previous Fastmarkets RISI’s Asian CEO of the Year, Yajima leads Oji under three fundamental strategies: expansion of overseas business, concentration/advancement of domestic business, and enhancement of financial foundation. Oji has been instrumental in the production of masks and other PPE requirements for Japan during the coronavirus crisis.
13. ANNICA BRESKY—STORA ENSO
In December, 2019, Bresky was appointed to lead Stora Enso, a giant in the industry and No.7 on Paper360°’s Top 75 Producers list. On being appointed, Bresky said, “We are well positioned to grow with our customers and support their businesses with sustainable and innovative solutions. Together with our customers and partners all over the world we will accelerate our efforts as a frontrunner in combatting global warming.” Along with its many global activities, recent developments at the company include the proposed conversion of its Oulu mill in Finland from making paper to high-end packaging board. Stora Enso is also looking closely at the bioproducts area, including developing bio-based carbon fiber for use in transportation, construction, and power generation.
14. JUSSI PESONEN—UPM
A stalwart personality on our Power List since its inception, Pesonen has recently been asked by the board of UPM to continue on as president and CEO until further notice. Pesonen has been in the role since 2004. Meanwhile, he heads a company that has many new activities ongoing, including the preparation for its new 2.1 million metric tpy eucalyptus kraft pulp mill in Uruguay and a pioneering biorefinery project in Leuna, Germany, that will produce 100 percent wood-based biochemicals.
The Internet of Things, Big Data, Industry 4.0—call it what you like, it’s making a huge impact across the global industry, with full and partial digitalization of mills across the industry rapidly taking place. And some impressive bottom-line results are being achieved: individual mills are saving millions of dollars by taking out human guesswork and applying digital logarithms to cut down on raw material use and improve efficiency. IIoT, along with the latest in visual technology, is also being proved as instrumental in the running of mills during the coronavirus pandemic, with real-time, expert assistance being provided live from suppliers’ technology centers.
Already a reality affecting our industry, the pandemic and subsequent social distancing have pushed shopping online from a convenience to almost a necessity for many. This may be the final incentive marking the decline of the brick and mortar shopping experience, even for items such as perishables. How will retailers, particularly the grocery and big box outfits, accustom themselves?
17. KSENIA SOSNINA—ILLIM GROUP
Sosnina has headed up the Ilim Group since 2016 and hit the ground running by overseeing a massive US$2 billion expansion and improvement program at the Russia-based giant. The company is at the end of implementing a large-scale investment program, including the revamp and launch of a kraftliner PM in Bratsk and a pulp line retrofit in Ust-Ilimsk, both located in Siberia. Ilim also continues to implement its big Ust-Ilimsk project, which involves the construction of a containerboard mill and PM with a capacity of 600,000 tpy, making it the largest PM in Russia. Sosnina was recently awarded the accolade of Fastmarkets RISI European CEO of the Year, the first woman to receive the award.
18. ILKKA HÄMÄLÄ—METSÄ GROUP
There is always a lot going on at Metsä Group, and this year is no exception. The group is planning another bioproduct mill in Finland, this time at its existing site in Kemi. The mill is expected to produce 1.5 million metric tons of softwood and hardwood pulp as well as numerous other bioproducts, in a similar vein to its award-winning Äänekoski bioproduct mill. In other news, the company is working with NGO WWF to restore fish migration routes in Finland.
19. MILES ROBERTS—DS SMITH
Under Roberts’ leadership, DS Smith has signalled its intent to concentrate fully on fiber-based packaging by selling its plastics division to Olympus Partners and its affiliate Liqui-Box. The company has also bolstered its R&D division by appointing packaging expert Dr. Susana Aucejo as senior R&D director to focus on replacing plastic with fiber-based materials containing new and effective barrier solutions. DS Smith recently launched its “Essential Solutions” online ecommerce range to specifically support businesses rapidly transitioning to online mode due to the pandemic. The range consists of letterbox packs, an essentials provision box, a corrugated tray replacement for recyclable plastic crates, and bottle packs.
20. STEVE VOORHEES—WESTROCK
A perennial member of this list, Voorhees’ accomplishments continue to grow; he was named the 2020 TAPPI/PIMA Executive of the Year. Since the merger of Rock-Tenn and MeadWestvaco, he has completed nine acquisitions. WestRock is now the second largest paper company in the US, ranked at No. 1 for boxboard and No. 2 in containerboard, with 50,000 employees and revenue of more than $18 billion.
21. THOMAS O’CONNOR, JR.—MOHAWK FINE PAPERS
Continuing its history of innovation and punching above its weight, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Mohawk unveiled a portfolio of papers made with hemp, straw, and recycled cotton fiber. The company devised a process that allows the mill to continue to create the beautiful, high-performance sheets Mohawk is renowned for, using rapidly renewable resources. The fibers Mohawk has chosen are all annual crops that regenerate in a year or less. The company also devised an innovative product to help in the fight against the coronavirus. In North America, Mohawk acts as a distributor for South African-based Xanita Board. Usually sold to construct trade show exhibits, the product has been adapted to create pop-up field hospital rooms. It can be converted quickly into walls, beds, and other structures.
22. MATIAS DOMEYKO—ARAUCO
After a two-week pause due to COVID-19, the Chilean pulp producer’s massive MAPA project resumed. Once the project is up and running—start-up was planned for early 2021—it will see Arauco jump from seventh to third place in the global ranking for the supply of eucalyptus pulp. The project, which is taking place at the company’s Horcones site near Concepcion, will raise production at the mill to 2 million metric tpy. Arauco operates five mills in Chile, one in Argentina, and it also has a joint venture in Uruguay with Stora Enso.
23. TONY SMURFIT—
SMURFIT KAPPA GROUP
In its latest results, the Smurfit Kappa Group continues on its growth path with volumes up in both Europe and the Americas. Under Smurfit’s leadership, sustainability has come to the forefront and the group recently announced a 32 percent reduction in fossil CO2 emissions for the period 2005-2019. The group’s target is even more ambitious: it seeks to further reduce emissions to 40 percent by 2030. The company launched a range of products to help businesses, schools, and offices resume operations after the coronavirus lockdown. The Safe Portfolio is made up of wall dividers, desk and workstation separators, point of sale screens, and safety signage all made from corrugated board.
24. LI HONGXIN—SUN PAPER
Sun Paper continues its unstoppable march forward with more startups and capacity expansions. The company recently started test runs on a 200,000-metric tpy unbleached softwood kraft pulp line at its Zoucheng mill in Shandong Province. The pulp will be mixed with recycled fiber to supply its containerboard machines at the mill. The company is also installing a 450,000-metric tpy fine paper machine at its new mill in Yandin, Yanzhou city, as well as a 70,000-metric tpy uncoated specialty paper unit at Yandin proposed to start up later this year. Sun Paper also has another machine on order, a 500,000-metric tpy machine as well as a recovery boiler for a greenfield pulp and paper complex in Beihai, Guangxi. Both investments are scheduled for start-up in 2021.
25. RAYMOND LEE—LEE & MAN
Containerboard giant Lee & Man’s diversification into tissue has paid dividends; it has taken a significant share in the Chinese tissue market after years of rapid expansion in the sector, in particular in bamboo tissue products. In April 2020, the company ordered six new tissue PMs for its mill in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing. The six new machines will bring Lee & Man’s total capacity at the mill to 750,000 metric tpy.
26. MICHAEL DOSS—GRAPHIC PACKAGING
While working to meet the demands of the coronavirus crisis, GPI continues to set its sights on growth and to diversify its end markets. It recently purchased the Consumer Packaging Group business from Grief for US$85 million. This includes seven converting facilities. Earlier, GPI purchased a folding carton facility from Quad Graphics. It has also been able to reduce IP’s partnership interest, buying the initial US$250 million of minority interest that IP holds. Doss has just been elected first vice-chair of the AF&PA.
27. JÜRGEN HEINDL—PROGROUP
Progroup continues to move forward on building what it calls “the world’s most modern paper factory” in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, despite the pandemic. The company says it is proceeding according to plan, and still expects start-up to take place in August this year. The project will enable Progroup to increase its total containerboard production capacity from the current 1.1 million metric tpy to 1.85 million metric tpy. The new 9.2-m wide PM 3 will produce corrugating medium and testliner from 100 percent recovered fiber.
28. WILLIAM KRESS—GREEN BAY PACKAGING
As well as proceeding apace with its new mill in Green Bay, WI, the company has become a minority owner of CompanyBox. Formed in 2014, CompanyBox uses proprietary workflow processes and software to be one of the few companies in the US to have mastered web-to-print in packaging. Also, GBP is now an official member of the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier Network; with this certification GBP will be able to provide packaging design, production supply, and testing services directly to sellers, merchants, and manufacturers that adhere to Amazon’s Packaging Certification requirements. And, as always, the Kress family continues its dedication to occupational health and safety.
29. VTT—PILOTING ALTERNATIVES FOR PLASTICS
Headed by Finnish research, development, and innovation specialist VTT, the Piloting Alternatives for Plastics project aims to take materials developed in laboratories toward mass industrial production. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund to the tune of Euro 6.7 million (US$7.3 million), the project started on March 31 this year and will end on March 31 2023. It includes 52 companies from all over Europe, including Ahlstrom-Munksjö, Andritz Küsters, BillerudKorsnäs, DAIO Paper, Domtar, DS Smith, Essity, Evergreen Packaging, Huhtamaki, Kemira, Kimberly-Clark, Lenzing, Metsäliitto, Neenah Gessner, Pankaboard, Paptic, Sappi, Sonoco-Alcore, Stora Enso, Södra, TetraPak, UPM, and Valmet.
30. MAGNUS BJÖRKMAN—SÖDRA CELL
Björkman took up the role as president of Swedish market pulp producer Södra Cell in July last year. With some 52,000 forest owners as its members located in the south of Sweden, the company has ambitious targets in forest growth, pulp manufacture, and bioproducts from the pulp process. Producing some 1.85 million metric tons of pulp per year, there has been recent expansion at its Värö and Mörrum mills to increase capacity. But it’s in the area of other valuable side streams where the serious innovation is going on at Södra Cell: it recently started up the world’s first commercial biomethanol plant at its Mönsterås mill, which has the capacity to produce 5,600 metric tpy out of side streams from the pulping process. Södra Cell has also entered into a recycled textile project where pure cotton is extracted from fabrics and then mixed with dissolving pulp from its Mörrum mill.
31. LUIGI LAZZARESCHI—SOFIDEL
This is the company determined to change the face of the tissue industry in the US. With its Ohio mill already up and running, Sofidel has just started up the first tissue machine in its new mill in Inola, OK. This facility should have both its machines running by the end of the year. Lazzareschi is determined to further expand the company’s footprint in the US. Based in Italy, Sofidel has contributed heavily to efforts to combat COVID-19 in one of the most severely hit nations.
32. JOHN WILLIAMS—DOMTAR
CEO since 2009 and recognized in 2019 as the TAPPI/PIMA Executive of the Year, Williams oversaw Domtar’s acquisition of the point of sale paper business from Appvion, expanding Domtar’s position in the thermal paper segment. It is also looking at incorporating blockchain technology in its sustainability efforts, allowing improvements in data analysis and business intelligence while offering greater transparency. Domtar is still one of the industry’s leaders in the development of biomaterials.
33. TUOMAS MUSTONEN—PAPTIC
“It’s not paper and it’s not plastic,” says Paptic of its unique brand Tringa. Mustonen heads up the Finnish company that has pulled out all the stops when it comes to innovating products to replace plastic. From its headquarters outside the city of Helsinki, Paptic began developing wood-based products to replace plastic around 2015 after witnessing the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s campaign on pollution affecting the world’s oceans. Paptic’s R&D experts produced materials that have a lot of the benefits of plastic—tough and water resistant—but made purely from wood fiber. Its products are now being readily sought after, particularly among fashion brands.
34. ANDREW KING—MONDI GROUP
A new name to our list is Andrew King, who has taken up the position of CEO of Mondi Group after the departure of former CEO Peter Oswald. King has a lot of experience and knowledge of the Mondi Group as he was formerly CFO. The group continues to deliver a robust performance according to its latest figures, despite the effects of the virus, which it says has resulted in the temporary closure of its Merebank paper mill in South Africa and production interruptions at some of its converting plants. The group has launched new production lines for the manufacture of surgical face masks at its plant in Gronau, Germany, in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus.
35. LARRY MONTAGUE—TAPPI
Despite tough times for any association with cancellation of events, Montague has kept TAPPI active and relevant for its members. As he says, “The world may look different after this crisis, but we will still have a need to learn, connect, build, understand, and plan for our future. We hope you will be a part of this movement to help our industry thrive and remain stronger together.”
36. JORI RINGMAN—CEPI
Ringman is the incoming director general of the Confederation of European Paper Industries. Originally joining CEPI in 2005, Ringman brings with him experience as a civil servant at the European Commission and a political advisor in the European Parliament. Ringman has already made his mark in a number of areas at the confederation, including overseeing the publication of a CEO Initiative that is reconfirming the sector’s stance in supporting European society in becoming net CO2 neutral by 2050. CEPI recently paid tribute to Europe’s 180,000 direct employees in the industry for making sure that European citizens have access to all the hygiene, health, and food supplies they’ve needed during the COVID-19 crisis.
37. HEIDI BROCK—American Forest & Paper Association
As the face of the industry in Washington, DC, AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock plays an important role in ensuring the concerns of the industry do not go unnoticed in the halls of power. “The paper and wood products manufacturing industry has an important story to share, most importantly our commitment to sustainable business practices. There’s a reason paper products are the most-recycled product by weight in the US—and that there are 20 percent more trees in the US today than there were 50 years ago. These and numerous other environmental successes are a testament to the industry’s vision, which was solidified by a comprehensive set of quantifiable sustainability goals in our Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 initiative.”
38. J. CARSON MEREDITH—
GEORGIA TECH RBI
He has just been appointed the new executive director at the Renewable Bioproducts Institute. Meredith’s lab researches the surfaces and interfaces of advanced materials, emphasizing renewable components, sustainable processing, and bio-inspired designs in adhesives, composites, foams, and coatings, among other things. Borrowing their ideas from nature, Meredith and his team are addressing the needs of human societies through food security, renewables, and energy efficiency. “We’ve focused on using cellulose nanomaterials to make alternatives to conventional plastic for all kinds of things, and we’re looking at ways in which we can replace some plastics used in paints and coatings,” said Meredith, who has been an RBI investigator for 10 years.
39. MARIO PLOURDE—CASCADES
On the tissue front, Cascades took over struggling Orchids Papers, including two mills in Barnwell, SC, and Pryor, OK, with the capacity to produce 114,000 tpy of parent rolls. The deal was worth US$207 million. On the packaging side, work continues apace at the company’s conversion of the Bear Island, VA, mill. It also purchased the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Quebéc’s interest in the Greenpac mill in Niagara Falls, NY, a US$93-million transaction. The company is still finding time to innovate, launching a new packaging product line designed especially for e-commerce.
40. MIGUEL RINCON—BIO-PAPPEL
The company continues to earn high praise for its sustainability efforts—it recycles 92 percent of the water it uses. Rincon also earned the RISI International CEO of the Year Award in 2019. The company is growing, with 31 plants and six more under construction, as well as paper recycling centers. It is the largest paper and board producer in Latin America, with more than 1.5 million tpy of capacity. Start-up is expected soon of the Port Angeles, WA, paper mill (McKinley Paper) that it took over from Nippon Paper.
41. ADELE ELICE-INVASO—APPITA
Named the 2020 TAPPI Women in Industry Division Woman of the Year, Elice-Invaso is a passionate advocate for supporting and developing the next generation of leaders and innovators. As executive director of the Australasian Pulp and Paper Industry Technical Association (Appita), she has led the development of new programs and events to better engage, connect, and develop young professionals. Recently Elice-Invaso has been involved in creating a new online master’s program: The Master’s in Bioproduct Manufacturing Engineering at BioPRIA (Bioresource Processing Research Institute of Australia), Monash University. This first-of-its-kind program is designed to prepare a new generation of engineers with entrepreneurial and advanced manufacturing skills. Especially given the changes resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the significance of the online master’s program has increased dramatically.
42. RICHARD HARTMAN—NEW INDY CONTAINERBOARD
As COO since the company’s formation, Hartman has overseen impressive growth, including the recent acquisitions of Resolute Forest Products’ Catawba, SC, mill and Michigan-based Shoreline Container. At Catawba, New Indy is investing US$240 million to convert graphic and specialty paper production to ultra lightweight virgin linerboard (600,000 tpy). At its other mills, the company can make 750,000 tpy of recycled containerboard.
43. MARK LEWIS—
SUSTAINABLE FIBER TECHNOLOGIES
Lewis is this year’s winner of the Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award, TAPPI’s highest honor, for his work with nonwood biomass fiber pulping and the development of the Phoenix Process. This has all come to fruition with the building of the Columbia Pulp mill in eastern Washington (Paper360°, March/April 2019), which uses the Phoenix Process to pulp wheat straw. Lewis has worked in the industry for more than 40 years, including stints with producers, suppliers, and academia. He founded SFT in 2015.
44. KATHY BUCKMAN GIBSON—
Not only does she make our Power List for the second year, Buckman Gibson was also named one of Memphis’s Power Players for 2020, Manufacturing Category, in Inside Memphis Business magazine. A former TAPPI Woman of the Year, Buckman Gibson is the president and founder of KBG Technologies, a full-service chemistry provider to the pulp and paper and water treatment industries. A sought-after speaker, Buckman Gibson is an industry role model who continues her family legacy of leadership, innovation, and community involvement.
45. JUKKA KANTOLA—THE WORLD BIOECONOMY FORUM
Kantola founded the World Bioeconomy Forum (WCBEF) around three years ago and it’s proving to be quite a hit with the pulp and paper industry. Two events have been successfully run so far in the resort town of Ruka in northern Finland, attracting speakers and delegates from across the bioeconomy spectrum, including politicians, CEOs, academics, and bioproduct innovators. This year’s event, to be held in September, will still be run from Ruka, but will be a virtual event for bioeconomy stakeholders all over the world. It has already attracted some very high-profile speakers and panelists, including Annica Bresky, CEO, Stora Enso; Walter Schalka, CEO, Suzano; and Pasi Laine, CEO, Valmet. There are plans afoot to hold some future events in different locations around the world, including Latin America and Asia.
46. CHRISTER IDHAMMAR—IDCON
Mention the words “reliability and maintenance” and the first name associated is going to be Christer Idhammar. Known worldwide as the maintenance guru, he started his career as a sailor. As he says, the world is his office. Helping countless mills exit the Circle of Despair, he and his son Tor are noted consultants who conduct seminars and write a regular column for this magazine. Always equipped with fresh insights, Christer is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and just published his memoir, Knocking Bolts.
47. DAVE ZERR—GEORGIA-PACIFIC
Nominated for a spot on the list by the TAPPI staff, Zerr, a director of manufacturing services for GP, is passionate about the tissue industry, invests a ton of time in various projects (standards development, new book content, speaker recruitment), and is always looking for ways to give more. He earned the PIMA Technologist of the Year Award for 2020 and joined the IT Committee in 2017. Zerr has made a solid contribution toward the IT group’s development strategy of forming common interest groups to explore issues in digitization and infrastructure.
48. TOILET PAPER
From panic buying that resembled bank runs in the Depression to a Finnish bakery that had the bright idea of making cakes that looked like toilet rolls, bathroom tissue became the symbol of the pandemic. Hoarding became a new hobby. Every manufacturer went into overdrive to meet demand despite reassurances that the supply was stable. But, as one CEO explained, “Toilet paper is a very emotive item.”
49. US PRESIDENTAL ELECTION/BREXIT
Sadly, the US has tallied the most COVID-19 deaths of any country in the world—133,300 at press time, far outpacing the third-place UK’s 44,400 (although the countries rank only 9th and 4th, respectively, in deaths per million residents.)
Early June was marred by protests rocking many major US cities, and the nation faces pandemic-related high unemployment and an economic downturn sure to affect its manufacturing base for years. Also, paper-based mail-in balloting is becoming a hotly contested topic in an election that will provide a “temperature check” of public support for Donald Trump’s unorthodox leadership during this series of crises.
Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, finally managed to get Brexit done, only to be then hospitalized with COVID-19. There is no doubt that we will all be hearing more about Brexit when the dreaded virus is finally “sent packing” (to use a Boris Johnson phrase).
50. JAIR BOLSONARO—PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL
The right-wing Bolsonaro has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum for dismissing the threat of the virus in Brazil. Despite dozens of public figures calling on officials to protect the nation’s indigenous people, who often live in remote locations with limited access to health care, the disease is passed off as merely a flu. He has criticized state governors who have tried to impose lockdowns. At press time, the country had the second highest caseload in the world. As the world’s largest producer of market pulp, a nightmare could play out for supply.