Letter to the European Commission President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans: Concerns on the potential discontinuation of EU Ecolabel product groups
We, European paper manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers, consumer organisations and environmental NGOs, are writing to share our concerns about the possible removal of a number of EU Ecolabel product groups which we understand the Commission is considering. In our view, such a unilateral and unexpected consideration would be premature, given the ongoing Fitness Check of the EU Ecolabel Regulation, and we urge the Commission to reconsider the possible discontinuation of these product groups.
The Commission has recognised the EU Ecolabel as an “incentive scheme in favour of the market” which can benefit consumers and boost job creation. This voluntary, market-based instrument is also consistent with, and complementary to, other EU policies concerning the circular economy and sustainable development.
The Commission has suggested discontinuing some product groups that include two relatively successful EU Ecolabel paper-related products (tissue and newsprint). Such a discontinuation would have the following consequences:
1. Environmental benefits would be reduced: Narrowing the scope and the uptake of the scheme will reduce its positive effects as a sign-post for product sustainability in areas ranging from biodiversity to water and energy efficiency or chemicals and raw materials management.
2. A proliferation of labels could lead to additional confusion among consumers: The Ecolabel is designed to help EU citizens make sustainable purchases, with a range of almost 40,000 environmentally more friendly products and services, of which one quarter are paper-related. Consumers already face a wide variety of labels, and a credible EU Ecolabel allows them to buy with more confidence. Having no EU Ecolabel for paper may result in a further proliferation of private or national schemes. Such schemes are likely to use slightly differing criteria and contain protectionist national features, hampering the functioning of the EU single market.
3. Business would face significant costs: Both the tissue and newsprint EU Ecolabels have generated several billions of euros in sales every year. Companies have invested significantly to be able to use the EU Ecolabel on their products which has helped companies market these products across the EU and access green public procurement with fewer administrative burdens. Such market uptake takes time and perseverance. Dropping these labels would lead to extra costs for such companies, as for example existing packaging materials of EU Ecolabelled products would need to be modified, and would create market uncertainty.
The Commission’s suggestion to prematurely remove specific product groups in isolation raises questions not only over the evidence used, but also on the process, governance and stakeholder consultation as set under the EU Ecolabel Regulation. This also seems to us incompatible with the Commission’s Better Regulation guidelines issued last year.
We therefore urge the Commission to:
- Reconsider any suggested discontinuation of specific product groups at this point in time;
- Underpin with clear evidence, such as produced by the Fitness check, any decision on the fate of the ecolabels for specific product groups and the future of the scheme;
- Make the consultation process transparent, involving the EU Ecolabelling Board and stakeholders from manufacturing, retail and consumer organisations.
We remain at your disposal for any questions you might have and to further discuss any issues related to the future of the EU Ecolabel.
Sylvain Lhôte, Director General Confederation of European Paper Industries
Roberto Berardi, Chairman, European Tissue Symposium
Monique Goyens, Director General, The European Consumer Organisation
Jeremy Wates, Secretary General, European Environmental Bureau
Christian Verschueren, Director General, Eurocommerce
Note to editor:
For more information please contact:
CEPI: Jori Ringman, Sustainability Director by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at
ETS: Phil Mogel, Relation Manager, at email@example.com
BEUC & EEB: Blanca Morales, EU Ecolabel Coordinator at Blanca.Morales@beuc.eu
Eurocommerce: Lettemieke Mulder, Director Sustainability & Product Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) has launched its 2015 Sustainability Progress Report, showing improvements on a range of sustainability indicators and focusing on the industry’s contributions toward a green economy.
The full report is also available on the ICFPA website at http://www.icfpa.org/uploads/Modules/Publications/2015-icfpa-sustainability-progress-report.pdf.
Read the press release on the topic here.
The global sustainability performance of the forest product industry is improving, with all aggregate indicators for reporting associations showing progress:
• Greenhouse gas emissions intensity was reduced by 17% between 2005 and 2013.
• The share of bio-energy in the industry’s fuel mix increased by 8 percentage points, to 61%, since 2005.
• The number of hectares certified to a third-party sustainable forest management certification system increased by 41 percentage points, to 52% of wood supply, since 2000.
• The global paper recycling rate increased by 11 percentage points, to 58%, between 2001 and 2013.
• Onsite energy intensity was reduced by 4.3% between 2005 and 2013.
• Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions decreased by 40% between 2005 and 2013.
• Employees’ recordable incident rate decreased by 9% between 2007 and 2013.
In addition to reporting on performance, the Sustainability Progress Report illustrates how the forest and paper industry is supporting a green economy through resource efficiency, carbon sequestration, innovative technologies, bio-based products, and benefiting communities. Contributing to the 2015 report are forest and paper industry associations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.
For more information about the sustainability of the global forest and paper industry, visit icfpa.org.
Sustainability and competitiveness have to go hand in hand for industry to excel. The European paper industry is a leading example of this. It is at the core of the bioeconomy. Below is an infographic with the main figures from our latest Sustainability Report verifying the exceptional concurrence of sustainability and competitiveness in our industry. The full report is available at www.cepi-sustainability.eu
CEPI releases 6th biennial sustainability report
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) launched their latest sustainability report at the European Paper Week in Brussels. The report results verify the exceptional concurrence of sustainability and competitiveness in the European pulp and paper industry. The industry is exemplary in creating value “made in Europe”, focusing on innovation and resource efficiency, while advancing the bioeconomy.
Being resource efficient and reducing raw material consumption makes both sustainable and economic sense. A good example in the European pulp and paper industry is the use of residues from papermaking to produce renewable energy. The industry reduced their CO2 emissions per tonne of product by 43%. Additionally, turning residues from recycling operations into useful products is an interesting illustration of the circular economy. On top of that the European paper recycling rate is at a world record level of 71.7%.
Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General, emphasised the importance of the paper industry in Europe: “Our industry is creating value “made in Europe”. As the sustainability report shows more than 82% of our raw materials come from Europe and most of our suppliers are European companies. 23% of our products “made in Europe” are exported to the global market. This unique case should not be taken for granted and we aim at continuous improvement in adverse conditions. “
The European pulp and paper industry is at the core of the bioeconomy, producing not only the original bio-based product that paper is, but also products that replace fossil fuel-based products. In this way, the industry has become a strategic sector in the EU economy, actively. As the crisis has accelerated structural changes in the industry since the last report in 2011, pulp and paper companies have started looking in a systematic way at new business models and new products.
Sustainability is a vision towards a business development based on sustainable practices that address society’s key challenges on a long lasting basis and the paper industry is facing a few challenges ahead. Resource scarcity and climate change are amongst the most critical challenges, in addition to a missing investment friendly environment in Europe that supports jobs and social benefits.
For more information, please contact Daniela Haiduc at email@example.com, mobile: +32(0)473 562 936
Note to the Editor
Download CEPI’s 6th Sustainability report: http://www.cepi-sustainability.eu/
Video interviews of CEPI Directors on sustainability: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL53E43E5E81A581E8&feature=edit_ok
Sustainability messages summarised (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDSifOUXhX0&feature=c4-overview&list=UU52Y4zM-iRSb22hrUBgvGgQ
CEPI launched their latest sustainability report at the European Paper Week in Brussels. The report results verify the exceptional concurrence of sustainability and competitiveness in the European pulp and paper industry. The industry is exemplary in creating value “made in Europe”, focusing on innovation and resource efficiency, while advancing the bioeconomy.
Read the press release for more details.
Find all the graphs and charts of the report here.
Download a powerpoint presentation of the report here.
CEPI Directors and Managers talk about Sustainability in the Paper Industry.