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A toast to 2021 | Merry Christmas from Products of Change

Tue 21 Dec 2021 | 01:53 pm GMT
Rob Hutchins and Helena Mansell Stopher | Products of Change Writer

Season\'s Greetings from Products of Change

The halls have been decked, adequate ‘rocking’ space has been cleared around the Christmas Tree, and tiny Santa hats have been crudely placed upon our heads. If the very thought of downing tools and toasting the end of 2021 hasn’t driven you to your first festive drink yet, then we dare say the above image should do the job! For whatever reason you’re reaching for the mulled wine this week, we all have one thing in common right now: we’ve got to the end of 2021. And that in itself is worth the celebration. So seriously, we doff our tiny Santa hats to everyone that has gone above and beyond all that has been asked of them to survive both at home and at work this year. To think that we started the year in lockdown following a brutal 2020; we have all certainly had to dig deep to find the reserve that 2021 has demanded of us. And we're glad we did; because what an amazing year it has turned out to be. To watch the industry embrace sustainable change the way that it has, has totally blown us away. We now have more than 350 members on the Products of Change community, globally, all working together and sharing best practice to advance the industry forward. More than 90 per cent of the audience at the Sustainability in Licensing Conference this year now have a sustainability team within their business, some led by experts, some by the marketing, sales, licensing, or creative, but all bound together by their desire to change our industry for the better. We have seen global companies spearhead industry innovation and smaller start-ups showcasing technological innovation, while I have had the honour of working closely with our amazing Products of Change ambassadors who give their time for the community. I cannot thank these change makers enough for their precious time and wisdom (you know who you are). We launched our Products of Change Advisors at the request of our community this year, providing an expert hand to guide you on your journey, while we also started our live Products of Change Workshops, firstly with Informa’s own Retail Mentoring Programme, and then with our first licensor workshop with ViacomCBS just this month. It's been another tumultuous year for events this year, shrouded with uncertainty over whether so many would go ahead in their physical format. So, I cannot thank the Max Publishing team enough for all of their dedication to pushing the sustainability agenda forward within the industry and the amazing team at Informa Markets for their support, vision, and forward thinking in partnering with Products of Change to bring sustainability to Brand Licensing Europe this year… and wow, that was amazing!
POC enjoyed a very busy Brand Licensing Europe this year, thanks to all the efforts of the licensing industry
One of my proudest moments was to welcome the wonderful Rob Hutchins to the Products of Platform, joining me in the mission to tell your stories and showcase your innovation to the wider community. It is this community after all, that is pushing the agenda forward and making change happen – so thank you to you all, too for making this an exciting and evolving space to work within. Whether you are an independent greeting cards publisher and retailer, pushing sustainability among your local customer base, or a global brand presenting the agenda upon the world stage – you are the ones shaping the sustainable future of the consumer industries. Long may that continue. So, the beginning of 2022 may remain undefined. We can’t avoid the continued uncertainty around many of our annual January traditions – what will Spielwarenmesse look like for UK visitors this year is one of the biggest questions being asked, of course. The one thing I can be 100 per cent sure of is that our industry is in an amazing position to continue its sustainable transformation, and that is all down to you. Thank you all very much for bringing us on your journey. So with that, we wish you all a wonderful and restful Christmas. Here’s looking forward to a 2022 filled with energy and transformation for all. Now, enjoy that first sip – you’ve all earned it. Merry Christmas!
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