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A broad range of topics affect the European pulp and paper industry, for example energy, forestry, recycling, food contact, and trade. These issues are subject to European policies, which can directly impact the industry’s competitiveness and sustainability. Many of these issues are interconnected, and this is reflected in the integrated approach that CEPI takes in addressing them.

This section provides you with information on all of the key topics currently impacting our industry. Click on the menu above or in the list below for the latest information for each topic.

Highlights

European Forest Growth 2005-2015

European forests have been growing by over 1,500 football pitches every day! These are other facts by Two Sides here.

 

IMPACTPapeRec

New Horizon 2020 project on separate collection. Website to be launched soon!

 

Keep Me Posted EU

The campaign about the citizen's right to choose. See more here

 

Paper and Packaging – How Life Unfolds™

A US national-wide campaign on paper: http://www.howlifeunfolds.com/

 

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31 May.2016 ,

The day Aristotle said: “The Tiered Approach doesn’t work”

This article appeared in the Parliament Magazine issue no 435, 30 May 2016

Aristotle often used the reduction ad absurdum to show the untenable consequences one would ensue from accepting the item at issue. If he was alive and would hear about the Tiered Approach in the ETS review, we would probably have engaged in the following dialogue:

Aristotle: What is the purpose of proposing a Tiered Approach?
N.Rega: To avoid the so-called cross-sectoral correction factor (CSCF) – a uniformed cut in free credits allocated to each industrial installation, should the total demand excess the total availability of free credits.

How would a Tiered Approach work? Sectors are clustered in different groups, and receive a different level of free credits. How would sectors be clustered?
On the basis of the different degree of the sectors’ exposure to the risk of carbon leakage, whereby industrial production would relocate outside the EU due to climate policies.

And how could different exposure levels to such risk be evaluated?
For every sector we should assess the impact of carbon pricing in and outside the EU, the carbon intensity of EU and non-EU production, specific trade patterns, products’ price elasticity, and so-forth.

Have any of these analyses been used in the proposed tiered approach?
Not really. Sectors have not been compared with their respective non-EU sectors. Instead, they have just been all lined up and assumed that the higher a sector strikes in terms of combined carbon and trade intensity, the higher it is exposed.

This is counter-intuitive: when a sector reduces its carbon intensity, shouldn’t it increase its exposure to the risk of carbon leakage?
Indeed, as relocation outside the EU in countries with less stringent carbon constraints would then increase global carbon emissions.

So far, the methodology behind the Tiered Approach doesn’t look very sound-based.
Indeed, one could argue that it is rather arbitrary and discriminatory.

Could it be legally challenged?
In case of rigid boundaries in defining the carbon leakage groups, companies not receiving the highest level of free credits will most likely go to court.

Would these companies have a chance to win?
Most likely, given the flawed methodology being used.

What would happen then?
Sectors would retroactively receive additional free credits at the highest level.

So, the risk of triggering the CSCF won’t be avoided.
Indeed.

And what if the boundaries were not be rigid but rather flexible?
In this case, sectors initially allocated in some clusters would still be allowed to prove their higher need for protection, via the so-called qualitative assessment.

But if sectors will be granted additional free credits, where would these come from?
Like in past cases, the Commission would have to take a relevant amount of free credits upfront and park them aside, in case all sectors would apply and receive full protection.

Does it mean that sectors will be deemed to receive 100% free credits?
Yes, as allowances potentially needed would not be allocated.

So, also in this case, the risk of triggering the CSCF won’t be reduced.
Indeed. Additionally, a generalised use of the qualitative assessment would exponentially increase both the administrative burden and the lack of transparency in the decision-making process.

Thanks to Aristotle, we have come to a straight-forward conclusion: the Tiered Approach defeats its original purpose, namely to reduce the risk of triggering the CSCF. With additional drawbacks impacting the stability, predictability and transparency of regulatory framework.

A better way to cost-effectively reduce industry’s demand for free credits is to focus instead on developing rules to stimulate and reward investments in low-carbon technologies. In this respect, tiering does neither. Something that even Aristotle would agree upon.
 

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31 May.2016

Joint CEPI - IndustriAll position “Free trade and fair competition for growth and jobs in Europe”

In spite of the difficult economic context and an increased competition in the global markets, the European pulp, paper and board industry remains a world leader and a net exporter as well as the provider of 1.5 million direct and indirect jobs in Europe.


EU markets have been fully open since January 2004, unlike some competitors in their home countries. 40% of EU paper and board exports face tariff barriers! The sector is seeking a level playing field for both its products and its raw materials through multilateral and bilateral negotiations and high level talks with EU trading partners. Free access to pulp and paper and board foreign markets, but also raw materials and energy is a must.


Fair competition is also vital to the European pulp, paper and board industry and its workers, who need to see unfair trade practices such as dumping and subsidies, protectionism and discriminatory measures fought. A strong set of trade defence tools is crucial to ensure, when necessary, the rapid implementation of efficient trade defence measures and restore a level playing field for our industry and workers. Strong support from the EU Commission is required in order to secure international trade rules and WTO obligations as well as bilateral agreements are well implemented by all EU trading partners and WTO members.


The opening of the foreign markets has to be achieved primarily through multilateral negotiations in WTO, by reflecting the recent developments that have seen emerging countries like China, Brazil or Indonesia turning into global industrial leaders.


As multilateral agreements require long negotiations and sustained efforts, a better access to foreign markets, raw materials and energy markets should be sought through the conclusion of ambitious bilateral trade agreement negotiations with a view to supporting the re-industrialisation of Europe and to promote the principles of fair trade. These negotiations should contribute to the suppression of tariff barriers as well as non-tariff barriers, and aim at regulatory convergence.


Plurilateral negotiations should also be encouraged as they can offer a pragmatic way to further liberalise trade while achieving other goals, such as the completion of ambitious climate change and environment protection targets. The European Social Partners in the pulp, paper and board sector are of the opinion that, due to their sustainable nature, all pulp, paper and board grades should be considered as environmental goods and therefore fully included in the environmental goods list currently being negotiated.


Pulp, paper and board are based on renewable raw materials originating from sustainable sources and are recyclable. They contribute directly and indirectly to environmental protection, climate action, green growth and sustainable development. They are manufactured by an industry that has substantially reduced its footprint on the environment, while reaching high social standards.


At the core of the bio economy, is the production of not only the original bio-based product - paper and board, but also new and innovative products that can substitute for fossil fuel-based products through the efficient use of renewable raw materials.


Allowing the European pulp, paper and board industry to compete on a level playing field at global level should be the aim of EU trade strategy as it is the best way to secure EU’s competitiveness as well as investors’ long-term commitment to Europe and create jobs and growth!

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30 May.2016 ,

What next for our industry? A recarbonisation revolution

This article was written by Petri Vasara from Pöyry Management Consulting. Pöyry is one of our Partners. Read more about them here

Our industry faces exciting times ahead. The world needs a ‘recarbonisation revolution’ of global material flows as we must increase biomass and decrease non-renewable materials such as metals and minerals in the movement of global trade. Additionally, recarbonisation requires moving from fossil carbon to biocarbon. The re-carbonisation revolution offers a simple way to define the bioeconomy: re-carbonise materials, de-carbonise energy.


Society’s concern with climate change has shaped our language to always refer to “decarbonisation” policies and attempts to create a “low carbon economy”. Whilst these sentiments are honourable in their intention, they neglect a key truth – that carbon is the basis of life. The only area where the removal of carbon should be focused is in fossil-based carbon fuels. Outside of fuel - in a vast range of other materials - carbon is needed in the form of biomass to create a truly renewable and sustainable loop.


What does a recarbonisation revolution mean for our industry?

Imagine a solution where we recarbonise just 1% of the market of some key global material flows. The packaging market in 2013 was worth 590 billion euros alone with plastics and fibre producing 220 and 215 billion euros in turnover respectively. Therefore, if 1% of the packaging market which is currently created from fossil plastics was moved to biopackaging, it would equate to 6 billion euros in turnover.


Likewise, plastics correspond to about 300 million tons, meaning that moving 1% from fossil plastics to bioplastics would represent about 3.5 billion euros of new biobusiness. Finally, imagine that 1% of the global volume of fossil fuels is taken and substituted with biomass, and that biomass is processed further in the forest industry – this would mean a green recarbonisation of a part of the world’s materials flows. This could result in an estimated 30 billion euros of annual new biobusiness.


When combined these three 1% substitutions would provide an estimated 40 billion euros per annum to a new sustainable bioeconomy. The calculations above can be debated of course, but they are indicative of the potential size of the opportunity.


Why now?

Whereas in the past this level of change may have been implausible, new developments in technology and materials sciences have made it both possible and desirable. Four materials - Lignin, sugar, nanocellulose and graphene - stand out as examples of where recarbonisation can be truly effective. The first three are carbon-based and graphene is pure carbon meaning they have the potential to radically change the materials world.


As well as being technically possible, there is also a demand for these solutions from some of the world’s global brands such as IKEA, Toyota, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola. All have their own reasons for pushing biomaterials, both for functional or cost-related reasons. For example, biocomponents in cars weigh and cost less than metal or companies view it as a way of building brand image.


No revolution is easy, and the ‘recarbonisation revolution’ is no exception, but there is scope for many winners. Whilst alliances across sectors are not yet the norm, a transformation of the value chain must and is taking place. Companies operating in our industry must think ahead and align to benefit from this transformational shift.


We are only at the beginning of the recarbonisation journey and in many applications plastic is still much more competitive. However, even achieving a mere one per cent of the market would be a business worth billions of euros; the foundations are solid for this to happen and companies and brands from different sectors are already seriously looking at a biobased future. This is a positive sign for us all as the recarbonisation journey gets underway.
 

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23 May.2016 ,

Strong industry concerns on the ITRE Draft Opinion on the EU-ETS Reform post-2020 and other thought experiments putting industries at risk of carbon leakage

Tiering is not the solution

The undersigned energy-intensive industries express their strong concerns regarding the proposal to introduce “tiered approaches” to carbon leakage protection, as introduced in the ITRE Draft Opinion.

According to all forecasts, “tiering” is not needed.

All forecasts, including the Commission’s Impact Assessment, predict that a shortage of free allowances is highly unlikely during phase IV of the ETS. A shortage can be as good as excluded if the proposed share of allowances to be auctioned were properly calculated. Those 700 million ‘unused’ allowances of phase III (that were earmarked for free allocation but remained unallocated due to business closures or a lack of new entrants) should remain available and within reach if needed for production, recovery and growth during 2021-2030. Thus, the ETS reform can deliver the agreed emission reductions cost-effectively, encourage best performance through safeguarding full and effective carbon leakage protection to the benchmark level. There is no need for exposing parts of EU industry to undue carbon costs.

The ITRE Draft Opinion proposes to expose a lot of industrial sectors to the risk of carbon leakage.

Burdening companies with undue carbon costs by cutting free allocation would divert resources from modernising and upgrading industrial infrastructure, thus exacerbating the risk of investment leakage to countries with less stringent climate policies. This does not send a positive signal to European
industry to accompany its decarbonisation investments and undermines our faith in, and support for, the ETS as a cost-effective means of reducing carbon emissions.

“Tiering” is based on theoretical assumptions and distorts the internal market

The proposed tiering has no environmental or economic justification and is based on flawed assumptions (“cost pass-through”) of unpredictable market dynamics. It reserves free allowances for some sectors at the expense of others. It goes against the principle set in the October European Council Conclusions that best performing companies in ETS carbon leakage sectors should not bear further carbon costs. Indeed, tiering would ensure that even best performers in most sectors would bear significant carbon costs and expose them to carbon and investment leakage.
Statistical indicators vary - sometimes greatly - with time and depend on many factors (market conditions, company structures, exposure to international trade, etc.). Hence, the setting of thresholds would be arbitrary and would risk not reflecting future needs and leakage risks of the sectors.


As a result, we call on the Members of the ITRE Committee to react strongly to the Draft Opinion, so that the ETS reform delivers full and effective carbon leakage protection without the need for arbitrary discrimination. Jobs in one sector are neither more nor less important than those in other sectors.


We call for an approach based on realistic benchmarks, allocation based on more recent production data and an adequate reserve that ensures full allocation to benchmark levels. Fairness and solidity should become key principles of policy making. We ask you to create a framework that gives all sectors an equal opportunity to compete and thrive in Europe, and not to pick certain sectors to stay in Europe.

 

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20 May.2016 ,

The paper packaging industry’s position and recommendations on the legislative proposals for amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (PPWD) and Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (WFD)

Paper Packaging Coordination Group (PPCG)

Introduction
The Paper Packaging Coordination Group comprises the major European paper and board packaging associations representing the interests of a wide range of packaging products used in transport, retail and consumer packaging. Paper and board packaging is based on a renewable resource (the forest) and is recyclable. We support the concept of a circular economy in which raw materials are sourced from renewable, responsibly-managed resources and recycled after use.


1. Recycling targets for paper and board
Key messages:
• The proposed targets are ambitious, reflect technical and economic realities and can be achieved.
• Packaging recycling targets should be at comparable levels between different consumer packaging materials. High achievement of one packaging material should not compensate for another material’s lower achievement.
• We welcome the proposal that waste exported outside Europe should count towards the target of the Member State where it has been collected on condition that recycling takes place in equivalent environmental conditions.

We welcome the proposed targets for paper and board by the Commission. The paper and board packaging industry in Europe has achieved high recycling rates. In 2014, the average paper and board packaging recycling rate was 81.1% (CEPI). The EUROSTAT figure for 2011 was 79.9%. However, there are also significant differences between Member States, with the recycling rate ranging from 59% to 98% (EUROSTAT). Calculation methods for recycling vary between countries, making it difficult to compare existing data from different countries.


2. Recycling rate calculation
Key messages:
• We support quality recycling.
• We support the harmonised method based on “input to final recycling process”.
• Calculation formulas should be adapted and clarified with regards to “preparation for re-use and recycling” of “products and components” for packaging
We believe the “input” to the final recycling process is the correct basis for calculating the recycling rate and will improve the quality of recycling.

Recommendations:

Final recycling process
• Article 1(2f) of the proposal for amending the WFD with a definition of “final recycling process” should read as follows: “final recycling process” means the recycling process which begins when no further mechanical sorting operation is needed and when waste and waste considered to have ceased to be waste in accordance with Article 6 enter a production process and are effectively reprocessed into products, materials or substances”.
• Article 1(5a) (i) should be consistent with the new definition of final recycling process. Therefore Article 6 (1c) of the WFD should therefore be amended as follows: “the substance or object fulfils the technical requirements for the final recycling process and meets the existing standards and legislation applicable to products.”

Derogation
• The derogation article 11a paragraph 3(a) and (b) of the proposed amendments to the WFD and derogation article 6a paragraph 3 (a) and 3(b) of the proposed amendments to the PPWD should read as follows: “The weight of materials or substances that are not subject to a final recycling process and that are disposed or subject to energy recovery remains below the maximum threshold of impurities acceptable to operators carrying out a final recycling process in order to ensure quality recycling. These thresholds are outlined in Annex VII”. There should be a new annex VII on impurities limits per waste stream, in which the impurities limit for paper (non-paper components and other unwanted materials) should be set at 3% in line with the EN 643.

 

Packaging is different from the other waste streams, which the European Commission already acknowledges by having a dedicated directive for packaging and packaging waste. Packaging which is re-used in a closed loop is not considered as waste and only becomes waste when it leaves the loop. Mixing waste and non-waste (“products and components”) in one calculation formula will jeopardise the potential a harmonised method could have to deliver robust, comparable and accurate reporting. This, combined with an optional reporting on “products and components” will lead to increasing differences in the Member States’ reporting. It may also trigger cases where targets are met by clever calculations without an effective contribution to the circular economy. The resources needed from the European Commission to control the accurate implementation of the formula would be disproportionate to the potential benefits.

Recommendations:
Calculation method and formula
• The formula in Annex IV of the PPWD should be clarified to avoid misinterpretations, under claims or over claims and allow for fair treatment of packaging, considering the intrinsic differences among materials.
• For packaging, the proposed Article 6a), paragraph 1c) should be deleted. Member States should not be optionally allowed to include in the calculation “products and components prepared for re-use”.
• For packaging, “R” should be removed from the formula in Annex IV.
• The denominator “P” should be clearly explained by defining “packaging waste generated”, as, for example, “total packaging placed on the market”.


3. Minimum requirements for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
Key messages:
• EPR systems should be transparent.
• The scope of EPR and roles and responsibilities of each actor involved in packaging waste management should be clearly defined.
• A minimum requirement for EPR systems to collect all (packaging) materials should be introduced.
• A reference to EPR systems needs to be made in PPWD (94/62/EC) to ensure the protection of the internal market, and in the WFD (2008/98/EC).

We welcome the Commission’s intention to make EPR systems transparent as well as the inclusion of three important elements in the Commission’s proposal for general requirements for EPR systems: Eco-modulation, optimised cost and secondary raw materials sales revenues. Recyclability is a key criterion in eco-modulation for EPR systems andensures the value from the sales of secondary raw material. As the additional cost for their collection can be covered by these revenues, the contribution of producers should be lower. Within every material category, criteria for eco-modulation should be carefully designed so they do not inhibit innovation, technical progress, the functioning of the internal market and specific requirements regarding the packed products.
The provisions on general requirements for EPR systems should describe the costs to be covered without using non-exhaustive lists.


Recommendations:
• Article 1(8) 4. (a) first paragraph of the proposal for amending the WFD should read as follows: “Cover the following cost of waste management for the products it puts on the Union market:…”
• The packaging sector should be recognised as a stakeholder in the EPR process so that it can share its expertise in managing the different materials


4. Separate collection, Landfill and Incineration of waste

Key messages:
• Recyclable packaging waste should not go to landfill. We support the ban on landfilling separately collected waste.
• Separate collection of all packaging waste should be strengthened and clarified.
• Incineration of recyclables should be restricted.

The requirement for separate collection of recyclable packaging waste is a precondition to avoid landfilling. The proposal aims in the right direction by linking the provisions on landfill restrictions to the separate collection requirement in the WFD and by introducing a methodology to measure the recycling rate at the input to a final recycling process, and by defining this final recycling process.

Despite the existing capacity for reprocessing paper in Europe, up to 10 million tonnes of all paper, including packaging, are currently being landfilled or incinerated in Europe. This situation has to be addressed, otherwise ambitious recycling targets cannot be achieved.

Paper and board should be collected separately from other recyclables such as plastics, metal, glass – or any combination thereof - and residual waste. Separate collection of all packaging and packaging waste is crucial in order to promote a circular economy and guarantee a high quality of secondary raw materials. The WFD formulated a separate collection target in 2008, but this has been interpreted in different ways by Member States. Beverage cartons (consisting predominantly of board) should be collected in the most optimal way for further recycling, which may differ from country to country.

Recommendations:
• Article 11(1) of the WFD should be amended by changing ”for the relevant recycling sectors” to “for the relevant final recycling processes”.
• Article 11(11) of the WFD should be amended to clarify that paper shall be collected separately from metal, plastic and glass.


5. Unlock the potential of Renewable, Bio-Based Materials
Key message:
• EU circular economy policies and measures should promote and encourage the use of bio-based materials as an essential solution to achieve a real circular economy.

The increased use of packaging made from bio-based materials fosters the establishment of a truly circular economy by taking into account an efficient use of renewable resources (biomass), integrated production and efficient use of bio-based feedstock in integrated bio-refineries. A true circular economy needs to be built on renewable carbon.
This logic should be extended to the legislative proposals under the circular economy package, in particular for sectors where solutions are already available, e.g. packaging. Therefore, the signatories request the recognition and encouragement of the use of materials from renewable sources in the PPWD.
Furthermore, using renewable, bio-based materials decreases Europe’s dependence on the import of raw materials and supports green development within the EU, leading to green growth and jobs.
 

Recommendations:
• Amend the PPWD with the explicit requirement for Member States to encourage the use of bio-based materials for the manufacturing of packaging, where appropriate.
• Introduce a clear definition of what is meant by ‘bio-based’ to ensure coherent interpretation and a level-playing field for producers. The signatories recommend using existing definitions of the CEN Technical Committee TC 411 on bio-based products which define ‘bio-based’ as “derived from biomass” and ‘biomass’ as “material of biological origin excluding material embedded in geological formations and/or fossilised”.


6. Food waste
Key messages:
• We support the efforts of the Commission to reduce the generation of food waste.
• Cooperation among all stakeholders in the food supply chain and the Commission is needed.
Packaging prevents food loss and food waste in a sustainable way. UN studies support the fact that a substantial reduction of food losses can be achieved by providing and using the right packaging solution.

Recommendations:
• The methodologies (paragraph 4) developed by the Commission should consider the positive role of packaging in the prevention of food waste.
• The packaging sector should be among the stakeholders consulted on the subject.

Currently, the following organisations participate in the PPCG:

CEPI, Confederation of European Paper Industries
CITPA, International Confederation of Paper & Board Converters
ACE, The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment
ECMA, European Carton Makers Association
EMBALPACK, European Association of Makers of Packaging Papers
EMFA, European Moulded Fibre Association
CEPI EUROKRAFT, European Producers of Sack Kraft Paper and Kraft Paper
CEPI CONTAINERBOARD, European Producers of corrugated case materials
EUROSAC, European Federation of Multiwall Paper Sack Manufacturers
FEFCO, European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers
PRO CARTON, European Association of Carton and Cartonboard Manufacturers

 The position paper can be downloaded here.

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