As of January 2024, Marco Eikelenboom, CEO of Sappi Europe takes over as Chairperson of Cepi from his predecessor Ilkka Hämälä, CEO of Metsä Group. Cepi is a leading and influential trade association in the forest and bio-based industry sector. It is headquartered in Brussels, the capital of the European Union from where Mr. Eikelenboom will carry out his two-year tenure as Cepi’s chairperson.
Mr. Eikelenboom has since 2021 been the CEO of Sappi Europe, based in Brussels, Belgium. Sappi is a leading global provider of sustainable woodfibre products and solutions, in the fields of Dissolving Pulp, Printing Papers, Packaging and Speciality Papers, Casting and Release Papers, Biomaterials and Bioenergy. Sappi Europe is part of Sappi Limited, a global company headquartered in Johannesburg with customers in over 150 countries worldwide. During his career, Mr. Eikelenboom has held various high-level positions within Sappi, starting his career in the company in 1997.
The outgoing Chairman, Mr. Hämälä, a strong supporter of a more open dialogue between the industry and the EU Institutions, helped launch Circular Choices, a coalition for a more competitive and ambitious EU bioeconomy. This is the broadest coalition yet of European trade associations representing providers of high-quality wood-based products, fibre-based paper and board products as well as packaging and renewable energy solutions, which is also supported by EU forest owners and managers.
Mr. Eikelenboom will be taking over as EU Institutions prepare for an election period and the start of a new mandate for Members of the European Parliament and a new College of EU Commissioners. The next five-year term is already widely being seen as a critical time for action, where the European Union needs to transform the elements of the Green Deal legislative package into concrete actions and deliver on its emission reduction and removal targets.
The pulp and paper industry represented by Cepi, and the broader wood, fibre-based and renewables sectors, are in a unique position to offer solutions for green growth, ensuring that climate neutrality, bioeconomy and competitiveness can go hand in hand in a fossil-free EU.