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Paper industry outlines journey to European decarbonisation targets

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has laid out a decarbonisation manifesto for the paper sector to follow in the years leading up to 2030.

The plan includes three main catalysts for decarbonisation: product substitution, bio-based product markets and sustainable forest management.

Pile of newspapersProduct substitution will allow the industry to provide climate-friendly alternatives to the fossil-based, carbon-intensive items currently available.

The manifesto proposes that the EU introduces bio-based product markets that make recyclable raw materials, like high quality virgin fibre, easy for producers to access. It has been promoting the environmental benefits of fibre-based packaging since forming the 4evergreen alliance last year.

CEPI has visions of creating a multiplier effect that will help drive a circular economy, in line with the recyclability guidelines for paper packaging designs it released in 2019.

Rolling out a consistent forest management framework will bring successful reforestation, regeneration of harvested areas and safeguarding biodiversity to the EU paper industry, outlines the manifesto.

CEPI Chairman Ignazio Capuano commented: “The European paper industry has a unique role to play in the fight against climate change by offering immediate and affordable solutions. We have a vision on how we can contribute, and we could do even more with the right regulatory environment.

“Our 2030 Industry Manifesto published today maps out the ways in which we can deliver potential for carbon reduction. With substantial and targeted support from the EU as part of its Green Deal legislative package, these factors can play an essential role in reducing carbon emissions, potentially exceeding the already ambitious targets.”

The EU has committed to reducing its carbon by 40 per cent and it is likely that it will be increased to 55 per cent by the end of the year, in response to MEPs pushing for a more ambitious target.

With the Covid-19-induced economic crisis, these goals are looking even more challenging, but CEPI hopes its manifesto will make it easier for the paper industry.

Jori Ringman, CEPI Director General, said: “The Green Deal is not just a political programme by Ursula von der Leyen: it is a tsunami of policy and legislation that will profoundly change businesses and industry – ours included. It is now that our future is being decided!

“Our industry in Europe has already moved very far in its effort towards decarbonization and sustainability, in spite of the difference between companies in processes and products and even in access to resources due to different geographical locations.

“We are now ready to move to the next steps and we are sure the European Union can see the unique added-value we can bring.”

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