Sustainability in the paper industry
Paper – Sustainable by design. Coming from renewable resources, produced sustainably and recycled after its use, paper can be seen as one of the first products to optimize the circular economy.
When produced from wood sourced from sustainably managed forests, paper is a renewable material. Healthy forests act as carbon sinks, binding CO2 from the atmosphere and mitigating climate change. With responsible sourcing and sustainable manufacturing processes, paper is an invaluable material that answers to the needs of a future circular economy.
Compared to other industries, paper manufacturing has great potential to be truly sustainable and ecological. The paper industry is a highly certified industry, with a fully renewable raw material and a circular product, using renewable raw material to produce a recyclable product. The industry itself is also decoupling: the direct link between production and impact has been broken, meaning that more production no longer means more impact.
The industry is decoupling
When analyzing the environmental impacts of the European pulp & paper industries over time, we see that production is no longer correlating with impact. This means that higher production levels doesn't directly lead to a bigger environmental impact. This statistics is compiled by CEPI and you can find the full report here.
Renewable raw materials
Wood is a renewable resource, and it is in the interest of the paper industry to increase forest growth. In Europe, the forest area is expanding yearly.
Wood fibres can be used up to 6-7 times in paper. After that, they can be used to produce bioenergy.
More than 71% of all paper in Europe is recycled. (Source: CEPI Key Statistics 2021 report)
60% of the fuels used by the industry are non-fossil renewable biomass.
I think it’s now increasingly apparent to pretty much everybody who is involved in the world of paper that it is a raw material of enormous value both economically and from an ecological point of view.
This is how we approach sustainability
We believe that sustainability will drive the businesses of the future. By pursuing sustainability, we create long term value for our stakeholders. This is why we place so much importance on clean production at our paper mills, promoting the well-being of our employees, and engaging with stakeholders. We support our partners on their journey towards sustainability, by constantly seeking to improve and develop our own practices. We challenge them to do the same.
Projects and institutions
There is a wide range of organisations and projects dealing with sustainability in the paper industry. Here are some examples:
UPM Kaukas – the path to a circular economy
Intensifying supply chain due diligence
Why print innovation is important for the newspaper publishing market
How UPM is supporting publishers in a changing luxury market
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