European trade group offers sustainable perspective with timeline to 2020.
During its annual European Paper Week, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) says it “seized the opportunity to launch its perspectives for the industry in 2020 and beyond.”
The European pulp and paper industry “is in a state of change, as it responds to many challenges, not the least the transformation to a low carbon economy,” CEPI stated in a news release that emanated from its Paper Week event, which took place in Brussels in late November.
CEPI’s vision document “looks at the responsibility the industry has as the guardian of a bio-diverse, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable resource – forests - and how it will use this resource to meet the needs of society in the most appropriate and sustainable way,” according to the group.
“In the future, sustainability and social responsibility will be at the heart of successful businesses,” says Magnus Hall, CEPI chairman. “The paper industry’s unique advantage is that it has already laid a strong foundation for the future upon which it is building every day. Perfectly placed to play a key role in a sustainable society, the sector aims to make optimum use of renewable forest resources and strive for best practice in a bio-based, low-carbon, customer-driven and globally-competitive European economy.”
The trade group acknowledges that the “future holds many challenges, not least increasing input costs and tough competition from developing economies, and alternative media. And pulp and paper, like all industries, is influenced by the global economy.”
Hall comments, “But imagine a day when, in addition to making the top-quality products customers will demand, the local pulp and paper mill treats the waste of its local community and provides all the heat and power local residents need; when it will emit cleaner air and water than it takes in; when it will use its know-how in recycling and biomass to make the most of the world’s renewable resources. Pulp and paper mills in Europe are already well on the way to realizing these ambitions.”
CEPI contends that “Innovation is central to this vision and whilst paper is part of our daily lives: toilet tissue, magazines, cereal boxes, bank notes and books for example it must evolve. In all these product areas, the paper industry is working towards greater product performance from lighter or stronger products to those that use less wood fiber and avoid waste. “
Remarks Teresa Presas, managing director of CEPI, “As society’s needs evolve, so will the paper industry. In many aspects of life, paper remains hard to beat. Industry developments, achieved through innovations in technologies, business models, competences and adaptation to changing demands, will make the paper industry and its products even more valuable in years to come.”
CEPI is a Brussels-based non-profit making organization whose mission is to promote the pulp and paper business sector by taking specific actions such as monitoring and analyzing activities and initiatives in the areas of industry, environment, energy, forestry, recycling, fiscal policies and competitiveness. Through its 18 member countries (16 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 comprising some 1,200 paper mills.