“There are two key answers to the question of why we have survived for so long. The first one, is the place. The other reason is that we have never, ever, stood still.”Mark Cropper, Chairman - Sixth generation, Cropper family
The proud history of the business is palpable on arrival at our mill in the Cumbrian countryside. It’s there in the architecture, the geography, the sense of community amongst the team and the expertise which comes from a well-established history of crafting beautiful papers. But merely having history doesn’t guarantee longevity. Surviving the impact of world events outside of our control for nearly two centuries is not about looking to the past, but rather to the future.
At James Cropper, innovation is what drives us. We were the first to make paper from the first synthetic dyes in the UK; the first in the world to upcycle used coffee cups; our technical fibre division provides materials essential for a hydrogen fuel cell, and our moulded packaging is a sustainable alternative to single use plastic. We hold fast to our belief that we cannot afford not to invest in new technologies for the long-term.
And this is why, in the midst of a global pandemic, we have continued to push our capabilities. With hygiene being front-of-mind for government, business leaders and the public alike, we put our papers with PaperGard antimicrobial technology to the test, with favourable results. This product allows paper products exposed to high touch volumes to in effect ‘self-sanitise’, without affecting the appearance or performance of the paper itself.
We’re also proud to have launched the Rydal Packaging Collection of papers for premium packaging. Crucially, it includes an option with the ultimate 100% post-consumer waste recycled fibre for the increasing number of brands looking to demonstrate the positive social and environmental impact of their products.
“The future of James Cropper is inextricably linked with sustainability. Each one of our businesses has a huge part to play in improving our world.”Mark Cropper, Chairman
While we are all ready to hear more good news, we are realistic about the fact that our 175th year has been and will continue to be challenging. While we can of course learn from other key moments in our history such as the devastating fires in 1886 and 1903, world wars and stock-market crashes, we also recognise that each is different and requires a unique response.
Looking forwards, our focus will be on how we grow our way out of the current economic situation in a way that respects our environment, people and communities like never before.
It's thanks to the James Cropper team and the quite extraordinary effort made at every level, which has meant that we've stayed open throughout 2020.
But for now, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating and we offer you and the team here, our wholehearted thanks for your part in getting us here.
“Effort at every level, has meant that we've stayed open throughout (the pandemic). I am truly proud to be associated with everyone who works here.”Mark Cropper, Chairman