News from the EPLF Meeting of members at Interprint
13 July 2009
Each year in May, laminate flooring manufacturers belonging to the EPLF and their suppliers meet for the ordinary meeting of members. This year’s meeting was hosted by Interprint and took place in the German Arnsberg, in the beautiful Sauerland region.
The president of the association, Ludger Schindler, welcomed the two Turkish MDF and laminate flooring manufacturers Yildiz Sunta MDF A.S. (Uzunciftlik - Izmit) and Yildiz Entegre A.S. (Arslanbey - Kocaeli) as new ordinary member companies and Leitz GmbH, a manufacturer of tools for wood and plastic systems from Germany, as an extraordinary member company.
A key topic at the association’s meeting was the economic situation in the European laminate flooring sector, which last year had to contend with its first drop in sales due to the global financial and economic crisis. In the first quarter of 2009, the market in the traditional Western European markets saw a slight recovery, while the Eastern European market is currently in decline. Nevertheless, Eastern Europe remains one of the key growth markets for laminate flooring in the medium term, as was clearly illustrated by international business consultancy firm Pöyry Forest Industry Consulting in the Market and Image Working Commitee the day before the EPLF meeting.
In addition to the standardisation activities at CEN and ISO level and ongoing market observations, the association’s work is currently focussing on the topic of sustainability in particular. The EPLF developed so-called EPDs Environmental Product Declarations for its member companies in collaboration with the TFI Textiles & Flooring Institute, which is based in Aachen (Germany). There are now three sample EPDs for DPL*, HPL* and PDL* flooring, which cover most of the products manufactured by the EPLF’s member companies. An EPD provides information about the ecological impact of construction materials and is a key basic document for sustainable building for architects and planners. The EPDs are currently being published on the website of the IBU Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. at www.bau-umwelt.de. The EPLF has been a member of the IBU since May 2009.
The new laminate portal, which went live at the start of 2009 at www.mylaminate.eu, also shines the spotlight on the sustainability of laminate flooring. The site provides a good overview of the environmental characteristics of laminate flooring under the heading “Natural” in addition to a wealth of information about decor and lifestyle, cleaning and laying, quality and value for money.
In addition to the Working Commitees current projects, the focus of the EPLF meetings is always on targeted specialist information from member companies. There were two presentations in Arnsberg which provided detailed specialist information and approaches to market development. Jörg Elfmann, Managing Director of advertising agency Grey Worldwide from Düsseldorf, spoke about the exciting topic of “Eco-marketing and sustainable consumption” in his presentation. He concluded that “green is thriving, particularly in the crisis, because it creates value.” He added that the brand being advertised should embody an attitude which is understandable and tangible for consumers – or better still, which integrates consumers!
Sylvia Khan, editor-in-chief of the Bombay-based trade magazine Index Furniture Journal, reported on opportunities and development potential on the Indian flooring market. The proportion of laminate flooring on the Indian market is currently less still than 5%; individual brands from European and Asian manufacturers are however well-known. Even in the strong-growth property market, laminate flooring is an exclusive alternative beside stone flooring, not least because it comes from Europe. Laminate flooring has however also been able to achieve increasing acceptance in private homes, because purchasing power is on the rise in cities, as is the interest in new living concepts. The Indian market therefore provides good potential for European manufacturers, but it also requires intensive market development.
*DPL: Direct Pressure Laminate
*HPL: High Pressure Laminate
*PDL: Printed Direct Laminate
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