Sustainability Reports Says European Paper Industry Heading in Right Direction

Nov. 17, 2011 - The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has launched its fifth Sustainability Report on the European paper industry, in which it highlighted its impressive performance over the last years focusing on resource efficiency and innovation.

In the reporting period of 2009 and 2010, the pulp and paper industry has been recovering from the financial crisis while coping with increased energy costs and various problems in the availability of raw materials. In spite of this, recycling has increased and certification of wood used in mills has risen to a new level. The industry has further reduced CO2 emissions and reduced its energy consumption. The percentage of companies with environmental management systems is at an all time high of 90%.

On the social side, CEPI has started a social dialogue with EMCEF, the European Employees Federation representing paper industry employees, in which much focus is given to health and safety, as a priority.

Additional achievements of the European paper industry include:

  • 80% of the wood used by CEPI members comes from CEPI countries
  • 61% wood virgin fibre used by the industry is certified, 5 % more than in 2008
  • 94% of water used is returned to its source
  • 69% - the European Paper Recycling Rate — a world record
  • 90% of newspapers and corrugated boxes are made from recycled fibre
  • 90% of production capacity has environmental management certification
  • 14% reduction in energy consumption since 1990
  • 86% less SO2 since 1990
  • 95% reduction in AOx per tonne of product since 1990
  • The accident rate fell by 58% since 1990

The sustainability report has again attained a B+ rating from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). It shows that the industry is transparent, open and committed to delivering to the highest standards across all areas of its activity. The content of this new report is largely based on feedback received from our stakeholders at specially organized stakeholder meetings.

Continuous improvements in the paper industry’s environmental performance are part of the commitment to environmental management systems that are present in almost all paper mills in Europe. The paper industry’s efforts have resulted in a relative decoupling of production and environmental impact of the industry.

"CEPI will continue to work, to adapt and respond to the challenges that face the European paper industry, while our products are produced sustainably to the benefit of society,” said Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General. “This report shows how the industry is maximizing its potential to promote the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of Europe’s citizens."

The full report can be downloaded on CEPI's website:

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit making organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing this industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Its mission is to promote the member’s business sector by taking specific actions notably, by monitoring and analysing activities and initiatives in the areas of industry, environment, energy, forestry, recycling policies and competitiveness in general.

Through CEPI, the paper industry increases its visibility and acts on emerging issues, making expert and constructive contributions on behalf of the industry. Through its 19 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway and Switzerland) CEPI represents some 800 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 1000 paper mills. Together they represent 25% of world production.