The European pulp and paper industry is at a crossroads with a slowly falling paper production since 2007 and the opportunities provided by a growing demand for new bio-based products. With an annual paper and board production of around 90 million tonnes, Europe is the second-largest producer globally. The global production has been fairly stable at around 400 million tonnes per year during the past five years. The pulp and paper industry provides 180,000 jobs in Europe directly, and 1,5 million in the value chain. It has a turnover of €75 billion and adds €15 billion to the EU GDP.
The annual emissions from the pulp and paper industry in the EU are estimated to 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. While the carbon intensity has declined considerably in the past decades, the industry is actively pursuing strategies to further decarbonize its footprint, including its whole supply chain. CEPI:s Two Team Project is a recent example. This industry could also play an important role in the decarbonisation of other sectors. With its large turnover of biomass, the pulp and paper industry has the potential to be at the heart of a future bioeconomy, serving as a platform for the production of range of bio-based products, including paper, and also chemicals and energy Developing the bioeconomy is crucial to reduce the use of fossil-based products, but it could also revitalise the European pulp and paper industry, and rural areas across the EU. Biomass is a renewable, but limited, resource, making sustainable biomass production, paper recycling, and efficient fibre use an integrated and vital part of a sustainable development strategy of the European paper industry.