Mentions of digitalization within the filings of companies in the packaging industry fell 13% between the first and second quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to digitalization between July 2020 and June 2021 was 434% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When companies in the packaging industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Digitalization is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether digitalization is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the packaging industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned digitalization at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 81% compared to 36% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalization.

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By GlobalData

Of the 30 biggest employers in the packaging industry, Huhtamaki Oyj was the company which referred to digitalization the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 115 digitalization-related sentences in the Finland-based company's filings - 1.6% of all sentences. CCL Industries Inc mentioned digitalization the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.7% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalization mentions included Mondi plc, Sappi Ltd and Sealed Air Corp.

Across all companies in the packaging industry the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on digitalization came from Mayr-Melnhof Karton AG. Of the document's 2,061 sentences, 26 (1.3%) referred to digitalization.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalization and how important the issue is considered within the packaging industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning digitalization more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into digitalization have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, companies in the packaging industry based in Western Europe were most likely to mention digitalization with 0.37% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Asia mentioned digitalization in just 0.06% of sentences.