OPI’s European Forum gets underway

It was an intensive and informative Day 1 of OPI’s European Forum Online on 1 December.

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It was an intensive and informative Day 1 of OPI’s European Forum Online on 1 December.

For reasons you are undoubtedly familiar with, this year’s European Forum is being held as a virtual event. There was a strong turnout on the first day, not just with participants from Europe, but also from countries such as Australia, South Africa, Canada and China. In all, the two-day event will feature nine hours of content aimed at helping business leaders shape the future of the business supplies sector.

OPI CEO Steve Hilleard kicked off proceedings with a series of quick-fire interviews with seven prominent figures from the business supplies market. These included Greg Liénard (Lyreco), Richard Scharmann (PBS Holding), Alain Josse (RAJA) and Rui Carvalho (Firmo), whose organisations have all helped reshape the European reseller channel over the past couple of years via significant acquisitions.

The morning session closed with a panel on the key theme of sustainability, hosted by Jonathan Withey of The Planet Mark. OPI Deputy Editor Michelle Sturman presented the findings of an OPI survey on sustainability. Encouragingly, there is certainly an awareness that reducing environmental impact is the ‘right thing to do’, but there appears to be a disconnect between what is said and what is actually done. Nevertheless, new European Union reporting requirements coming into force in 2023 for companies with more than 250 employees may kickstart some meaningful actions.

In the afternoon, OPI Editor Heike Dieckmann introduced four rising stars who were included in the recent 30 Under 30 article in OPI’s 30th anniversary magazine issue. Judging by all the comments in the chat section, it was a panel that was highly appreciated by those watching and a welcome addition to the programme.

The day ended with a look at growth opportunities, moderated by Gordon Christensen of Highlands. The entry of global manufacturing powerhouse Reckitt (maker of the Lysol and Dettol brands) into the B2B space has boosted growth prospects in the cleaning category. Another area is hybrid working, where we are still scratching the surface in terms of providing optimal conditions – in ergonomics, for example – for people working from home.

Day 2 of the European Forum takes place on Thursday 2 December. It will include a highly anticipated keynote on how to manage through chaos by Phil Jones, Managing Director of Brother UK.

More details about how to attend the Forum can be found here.

London, UK