European Pulp and Paper Industry Making Strides in Sustainability

By using residues from papermaking, such as biomass to produce renewable energy, the European paper industry has reduced its CO2 emissions per tonne of product by 43%.

Jan. 14, 2014 - The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) launched their latest sustainability report at the European Paper Week in Brussels. The report results verify the exceptional concurrence of sustainability and competitiveness in the European pulp and paper industry. The industry is exemplary in creating value “made in Europe”, focusing on innovation and resource efficiency, while advancing the bioeconomy.

Being resource efficient and reducing raw material consumption makes both sustainable and economic sense. A good example in the European pulp and paper industry is the use of residues from papermaking to produce renewable energy. The industry reduced their CO2 emissions per tonne of product by 43%. Additionally, turning residues from recycling operations into useful products is an interesting illustration of the circular economy. On top of that the European paper recycling rate is at a world record level of 71.7%.

Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General, emphasised the importance of the paper industry in Europe: "Our industry is creating value 'made in Europe.' As the sustainability report shows more than 82% of our raw materials come from Europe and most of our suppliers are European companies. 23% of our products 'made in Europe' are exported to the global market. This unique case should not be taken for granted and we aim at continuous improvement in adverse conditions."

The European pulp and paper industry is at the core of the bioeconomy, producing not only the original bio-based product that paper is, but also products that replace fossil fuel-based products. In this way, the industry has become a strategic sector in the EU economy, actively. As the crisis has accelerated structural changes in the industry since the last report in 2011, pulp and paper companies have started looking in a systematic way at new business models and new products.

Sustainability is a vision towards a business development based on sustainable practices that address society's key challenges on a long lasting basis and the paper industry is facing a few challenges ahead. Resource scarcity and climate change are amongst the most critical challenges, in addition to a missing investment friendly environment in Europe that supports jobs and social benefits.

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry?s achievements and the benefits of its products. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 520 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 950 paper mills. Together they represent 23% of world production. To learn more, please visit: www.cepi.org.

SOURCE: CEPI