The European paper industry has welcomed the EU Green Deal Communication and the set of proposed actions planned for March 2020, in particular the European Climate Law, the New Industrial Strategy, the Circular Economy Action Plan 2.0 coupled with the Sustainable Products initiative and a new Forest strategy.
”The carbon neutrality objective requires the European pulp and paper industry to become even more sustainable, efficient and innovative. It demands that we continue on our transformational journey while maintaining our competitiveness. Our industry is up to the challenge,” said Jori Ringman, Director General at Cepi, the Confederation of European Paper Industries.
The European paper industry has already delivered a successful decoupling of carbon emissions from economic growth while reducing carbon emissions by 27% from 2005 to date, having product volumes increased and proved the climate friendliness of its products thanks to certified raw materials and a world class performance in recycling. The sector has delivered climate benefits for society.
“In this spirit of transformation and circularity, we have expressed our ambition to go even further for climate in our recent CEO initiative. It sets the path for the pulp and paper industry to become the most competitive and sustainable provider of solutions for a climate-neutral Europe in 2050, having a positive impact beyond our own emission reduction,” said Ignazio Capuano, incoming Cepi Chairman and CEO of Burgo group SPA. “The same consideration has led to an increased collaboration with other Forest-based industries: we have in common our starting raw material which is naturally renewable, and the objective of substituting fossil-fuel based materials while eradicating waste thanks to circularity and recycling.”
The EU Green Deal will have to make space for climate-neutral, circular economy products such as wood-based products in our daily lives, if it wants to deliver on the carbon neutrality goal by 2050.
This broader joint strategic vision with other Forest-based industries complements the sector’s climate strategy and is reinforced by the master plan designed with other critical European industries with a shared need for clean energy at a cost competitive price. EU Energy Intensive Industries are deeply rooted in society and provide skilled jobs, technologies, solutions and materials to every possible economic sector.
The EU Green Deal will have to support rapid demonstrations of breakthrough technologies on an industrial scale through major R&D&I programmes and facilitate access to private finance.
Reaching climate neutrality will require acting systematically across value chains and sectors hence the founding of a cross-industry alliance,4evergreen, to boost the contribution of fibre-based packaging in a circular and sustainable economy that minimises climate and environmental impact.
The alliance will increase awareness about the benefits of fibre-based packaging materials, advocate for EU legislation supporting product design for recyclability and call for the development of optimised collection systems and appropriate recycling infrastructures.
4evergreen was created as a forum to engage and connect industry members from across the fibre-based packaging value chain, from paper and board producers to packaging converters, brand-owners and retailers, technology and material suppliers, waste sorters and collectors.
Cepi has produced guidance to achieve even higher recycling targets while expanding the functionality of paper-based packaging. The Recyclability Guidelines give concrete guidance for designers to ensure functionality goes hand in hand with recyclability.
This collaboration is one more part of our comprehensive consumer-centred approach guided by the principle of climate mitigation, so that we can do our part in Europe’s transition to climate neutrality by 2050.
However, the sector can not do this alone: governments have a vital role to play and the sector now asks the European governance to demonstrate leadership once again by helping. The right policy environment is needed in order to be the fertile ground for these seeds to blossom.
European policymakers can support the sectors efforts by:
- Improving market access for recyclable and bio-based products, through a coherent product policy framework, to allow for informed consumer choices;
- Increasing availability and access to bio-based raw materials, through more support to sustainable forest management and high quality recycling;
- Promoting and rewarding decarbonisation investments by guaranteeing a coherent, stable and predictable regulatory framework, including a European Clean Energy Master Plan, with clear milestones for a cost-efficient energy transition.