McNutt issues a wake-up call
April 1, 2010 By Pulp & Paper Canada
Baby steps will not be enough to bring this industry back to a position of strength, says Jacquelyn McNutt. As keynote speaker at the PAPTAC Annual Meeting and EXFOR trade show, McNutt told participan…
Baby steps will not be enough to bring this industry back to a position of strength, says Jacquelyn McNutt. As keynote speaker at the PAPTAC Annual Meeting and EXFOR trade show, McNutt told participants, “We are in a place where incremental change is not enough. We really have to move out of our established patterns.”
McNutt is executive director of the Center for Paper Business and Industry Studies at Georgia Tech university.
She noted that many factors are affecting the forest products industry right now, including global public opinion, the push for alternative energy, nanotechnology, and digital media.
“The global political community’s response to the climate change issue will dramatically alter the industry’s competitive landscape. A lot of our behaviours end up being changed by political dogma, media, and public view, not by the truth. But true or not, we’re still going to have to respond to it.”
She also notes that companies can expect “transient” competitive excellence in the future, with entirely new industrial complexes tied together by unique partnerships.
Nanotechnology, she feels, is going to change the way we do business in 20 years. At the same time, alternative energy will become central to our society.
New product portfolios will emerge tied to society’s carbon response. “We will witness unprecedented pressures on fibre resources for new products and from new users. Water resource limitations will, in the long run, overshadow carbon.
“If I were to advise a CEO, I’d say look at water conservation and water usage. It won’t have a short term ROI, but….
“We are going to see a special place for those with sustainable, high quality fibre, land and water resources,” McNutt predicts.
But while resources may be in short supply, the ability to change the industry is not. “Do we have a mindset to transform and innovate quickly?” McNutt asks her audience. “Hell no. But that’s something that we can get.”
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