06 September 2020 Paper

Europe's paper industry lays down challenge to doubters

The paper and forest industry will play a huge role in meeting 2050's net zero sustainability initiatives with paper to play a key part.

The European paper and forests industry is going on the offensive over climate change promoting the role that paper can have in “making the 2050 climate neutrality target a reality”.

It is not just about paper, though, that is core to the #GreenSource campaign. It is backed by a study commissioned by the Confederation of European Paper Industries into the climate effect of the forest based sector in the EU.

It underlines that the sequestration effect of forest growth more than compensates for carbon dioxide generated, not just in paper but in construction and fabrics.

“We can help decarbonise the economy and revolutionise consumption habits thanks to our innovative alternatives to fossil based materials. According to a recent Material Economics study, 25% of plastics could be easily replaced with paper and board already today, without compromising end product functionality,” says Jori Ringman, Cepi director general.

“We provide fossil free alternative solutions for many sectors already today: media, packaging, health care and hygiene but also and increasingly for textiles.”

And while the UK is no longer a member of the EU, the Confederation of Paper Industries in the UK is endorsing the European wide approach. “The EU’s Green New Deal must be matched in the UK or global investors will likely shun our economy,” says director general Andrew Large in the organisation’s annual revenue.

“The pandemic has exposed the importance of domestic manufacturing to the security of the UK, and the Government’s new policies must set measurable objectives in terms of manufacturing growth, including for paper and its products.

“For they are the materials of the future. Paper is both 100% renewable and 100% recyclable. It has carbon capture, use and storage built in, and it has already reduced its UK carbon emissions by two-thirds from 1990 levels.”

This is the case across Europe. According to Cepi, the forest industries remove 806 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, equivalent to 20% of emissions across the EU. It also supports 3.5 million jobs, many in rural areas.

The work has already started: the Store Enso Twitter feed has used the hashtag #RenewableFuture to tweet “Everything that is made from fossil based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow.”

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The European forestry industry is starting the #GreenSource campaign to underline its environmental credentials and how it can support the drive for Europe to be carbon neutral by 2050. The UK industry, represented by CPI, has to follow to remain attractive to investors.

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