Climate change is a global crisis that demands urgent action and requires every actor in society to play his/her part in responding to the crisis. Industries have both a duty and an opportunity to become more sustainable, more efficient and more innovative.
“With the help of the new European Green Deal, we can reduce our impact on climate change while increasing production in Europe. Our industry has a strategic interest in being at the forefront of the decarbonisation efforts for 2050” said Ignazio Capuano, incoming Cepi Chairman and CEO of Burgo group taking over from Karl-Henrik Sundström, CEO of Stora Enso, during Cepi’s annual conference, Paper and Beyond, today in Brussels.
In this spirit, the CEOs representing the European paper industry outlined their plans to reach a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 in a declaration which was officially handed over to Clara De La Torre, Deputy Director-General of DG CLIMA and Timo Pesonen, Director-General of DG GROW, present along with other European Commission representatives.
The way forward finds its foundations in the very solid basis of our existing achievements. We have guaranteed the sustainability of our raw materials, improved the performance of our processes and proven the climate friendliness of our products.
Sustainable raw materials: our raw material is wood pulp, which is intrinsically renewable if coming from properly managed forest sources; this is why we have helped create a number of programmes for the certified sustainability of forests across Europe such as PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). We have expanded sustainable forest management practices in Europe and globally.
Decarbonised processes: we have delivered a successful decarbonisation of our operations of 27% from 2005 to date. Our sector is investing at a rate of more than €5 billion per year to decarbonise, with a commitment to making our production processes more efficient and decreasing our overall carbon footprint thanks to new technologies and collaboration with our partners. A step change is ultimately needed and supported by breakthrough technologies and solutions. We are committed to searching for them.
Climate-friendly products: world champions in recycling, we have worked with local authorities to improve separate collection of paper and board to boost the use of recycled fibres in new products. We now plan to push our model even further in a final goal of providing innovative sustainable solutions for a range of new sectors, for example textile, through new bio-based products.
To turn this ambition into reality, we call upon European policymakers to support our efforts by setting an appropriate legislative framework, namely:
- Improved market access for recyclable and bio-based products, through a coherent product policy and clear framework conditions for the new bioeconomy-related products
- More support for the sustainable management of forests and recycling schemes: forest-based raw materials should be made more easily available and accessible.
- A coherent, stable and predictable regulatory framework, with clear milestones for a cost-competitive energy transition, to promote and reward decarbonisation investments and guarantee access to clean energy.
Our final goal is to empower consumers, who will get a larger choice of climate-friendly products that are easily available and affordable.