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16 Nov.2017

European paper industry calls for a reviewed Bioeconomy Strategy that bolsters investment

The European paper industry takes a positive stance on the European Commission’s Staff Working Document on the review of the 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy.

“To achieve Europe’s bioeconomy and climate change agenda, it is essential that the EU lays down the conditions to spur the investments which shift Europe away from a ‘fossil-addicted’ economy. The European forest fibre and paper industry stands ready to captain this transformation but the EU’s future Bioeconomy Strategy must take a holistic approach and cease treating bioeconomy dossiers as separate and distinct” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI).

The European paper industry is, at its core, an entirely bio-based industry producing the only mainstream material that is both renewable and recyclable. As part of its 2050 ‘Investment Roadmap’ to lead Europe’s bioeconomy transition, the industry foresees bringing 25 bn EUR of added value to the EU economy with pulp and paper-based novel bio products, while massively cutting carbon emissions. This transformation would require an estimated 44 bn EUR of additional investment in Europe to deploy game-changing technologies for new paper-based products and for establishing biorefineries that convert side-streams into advanced biochemicals.

The European Commission has recognised the importance of putting in place ‘a stable regulatory environment’ to support bioeconomy investments and the need to address the incoherence between the Action Plan and the Strategy. The Staff Working Document also mentions the need to better link the bioeconomy strategy with other policies, in particular the Circular Economy, which is both symbiotic and multiplies the benefits of the bioeconomy and mitigates climate change. At the same time, the Action Plan itself needs to be more specific, time bound, measurable and aligned with a reviewed Strategy.

The European paper industry believes that the time is ripe to accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon and circular bioeconomy. Cutting-edge initiatives like the flagship Biobased Industry Joint Undertaking should be prolonged and aligned with the new Strategy. Incentivising investments will also be crucial to ensuring Europe’s bioeconomy transition is put into full gear and builds on its ‘bioeconomy competitive advantage’.

Note to editor:
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is the pan-European association representing the forest fibre and paper industry. From forest fibre technology to advance paper design the industry currently invests 3.5 billion annually and is a leader of the low carbon circular bioeconomy transition. CEPI’s 2050 ‘Investment Roadmap’ outlines the industry’s vision to advance this transformation in Europe through value creation and decarbonisation. The full innovative bio-based potential of the industry will be on full display at European Paper Week, November 28-30 to which journalists and EU officials can attend free of charge.

For more information, please contact Bernard de Galembert, Bioeconomy and Innovation Director at b.degalembert@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 2627 49 27

For press related enquiries, please contact Ben Kennard, Press Manager at b.kennard@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82

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16 Nov.2017

Letter to European Commission Vice President Timmermans on Plastics Strategy


The undersigned organisations are writing to express deep concern over the European plastics strategy currently under development. Based on drafts released by the media, we believe the strategy seriously risks: 1) being developed in silos of plastics without a systemic view, 2) failing to respect the principle of technological/material neutrality and having serious unintentional and unassessed consequences for competing materials and technologies that may in some cases perform better in terms of environmental impacts and circularity and 3) missing the opportunity to drive a low-carbon circular economy. Representing sectors that both compete and work with plastics, we would call upon you to take corrective measures, including the concrete requests for actions listed below before the Commission moves to adopt the strategy.

1) The strategy is being developed in silos of plastics without a systemic view
Plastic materials compete on the market with many other materials with similar or better functionalities and similar or lower negative impact. We strongly believe that the silo approach adopted by the Commission – ignoring interactions, market mechanisms, competition, implications on the whole packaging value chain – will have serious unassessed and unintended consequences and does not ensure fair and equal treatment of all materials. In our view, the draft plastics strategy fails to consider and assess the value chain systems both within the petrochemical industry and even more so in the wider economy. Our observations include:
• the evident market failures of plastic prices; instead the strategy seems to suggest introducing more financial support mechanisms despite the fact that oil and gas subsidies in the EU are significant and have been growing in the OECD at a much higher rate than the growth of GDP ;
• the potential to substitute plastics by better alternatives for some applications;
• the potential to replace fossil feedstock by alternative feedstocks (to name but one, sustainable lignin );
• the sourcing element as circularity is not only about recycling but about the sustainable production of input material; sustainable sourcing is a growing concern and already a legal requirement for other technologies;
• the market impacts for other solutions, materials and products;
• other key policies such as climate change, mobility or bio-economy.

The undersigned deeply regret that - despite several attempts to be heard - they have not been allowed to contribute to the discussion on the strategy.

We would call for the Commission to incorporate the following elements in the plastics strategy:
I. Interaction of the many connected policies, including low-carbon bioeconomy.
II. Implications for competing technologies and materials to ensure fair competition and a level playing field.
III. A holistic view reflecting the reality where plastics are not addressed in isolation and a dynamic understanding of the sectors involved and impacted by the strategy.
IV. Assessment of the systems of value chains within the petrochemical industry, with a view to subsidies for fossil-based plastics and in the wider economy.
V. Assessment of the petrochemical industry as a resource.
VI. Improved assessment of alternative feedstocks, including existing by-products from other sectors and their accessibility, and symmetry in assessing traditional fossil feedstocks’ environmental impacts.
VII. Our industry should be included in the platforms which will be established to discuss and implement this strategy as it will have a direct impact on us.

2) The strategy risks failing to respect the principle of technological neutrality
The measures proposed in the draft plastics strategy and the associated financial and other support would fail to respect the principle of technological neutrality and non-discriminatory policy. And this, notwithstanding that circular economy targets would remain lower for plastics than for other materials.

We find it unfair to have a strategy that rewards the laggards whilst other materials who have done the work and paid for it themselves in the past decades risk being penalised. It would be a strange outcome if the final strategy were to favour a material that remains problematic over less problematic ones.

We would call for the Commission to incorporate the following elements in the plastics strategy:
VIII. Full respect of the principle of technological neutrality in a fair and equal approach.
IX. Reserving an equal amount of public funding for other solutions, materials and technologies as will be the case for plastics.
X. Acknowledgment and promotion of sustainable substitution by competing solutions, materials and technologies; more sustainable packaging materials should be preferred when there is a choice.
XI. Assessment of, and setting policy requirements for, plastics with metrics and boundaries comparable to competing technologies; targets set for plastic materials have to be set on a par with targets for other materials.
XII. Consideration of the full life cycle of plastics, including upstream sourcing of feedstocks (both alternative and traditional).

3) The strategy misses an opportunity in a low-carbon and circular economy
The strategy misses an opportunity to combine a drive for resource efficiency and a move away from non-renewable resource use. As highlighted by President Juncker and the Industrial Policy Strategy released by his Commission, the aim is to build a low-carbon circular economy.

The potential offered by the bio-based economy should be considered alongside the potential to streamline the plastics value chain and make it more efficient. The US public procurement strategy for bio-based materials and products has had a significant positive impact in terms of growth and jobs : similarly the public procurement in Europe should first consider sustainable substitutes to plastics.

We would call for the Commission to incorporate the following elements in the plastics strategy:
XIII. To ensure that public procurement rules or economic incentives are fair, proportionate and not unduly supporting a material, such as recycled plastics, instead of choosing other solutions, materials and technologies, in particular renewable or already highly recycled, over fossil-based plastics.
XIV. Indeed, we would call for the Commission to incentivise industry to encourage companies to choose more sustainable, renewable materials in the first place when selecting their packaging materials. This might be through taxation on the use of plastic or providing positive incentives to use more sustainable materials.

We share a common aim: producing a sustainable circular European economy. The buy-in of the wider economy and society in general for the plastics strategy prepared by the European Commission would require a much more holistic and systemic approach and respect of the principle of technological neutrality by giving a fair and equal treatment to all sectors. At the same time, the plastics strategy should be seized as an opportunity to bring the plastics industry on a par with other industry sectors regarding responsible performance, not least to protect the marine environment and other water bodies.

We remain at your disposal to discuss the matter further and will be in contact with your respective teams of Commissioners in order to support the development of the strategy.

Kind regards,

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

 

CC: Commission Vice-President Katainen, Commissioners Moedas, Vella, Bienkowska
Secretary General of the Commission
Director Generals of DG Grow, DG RTD, DG ENV

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13 Nov.2017

Letter to European Commission environment department on the postponement of the Intermediate Paper Pilot PEFCR

Letter addressed to Kestutis Sadauskas, Director and Hugo Maria Schally, Head of Unit at DG Environment from Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) 

I am writing to inform you that CEPI will postpone the submission of the PEFCR until further activities have been finalised to achieve the operational and workable category rule the pilotshould deliver. I believe this decision deserves some explanations and I feel useful to outline our reasons for postponing the submission and the steps CEPI will take to conclude the pilot.CEPI has always shared the need to establish a customer and consumer friendly manner of communicating about the environmental performance for paper products. Indeed we recognise the initial aim of the PEF was to have a harmonised method for simplifying environmental footprints for products and organisations. It is important to include the views ofall stakeholders such as those of material and product producers as well as customers to secure a manageable workload that ensures the effectiveness of future PEFs.

For nearly seven years, CEPI has been actively assisting DG Environment in piloting product environmental footprints.

In 2011, DG Environment requested CEPI’s assistance in putting together from scratch a PEFCR project. CEPI was able to prepare at very short notice the first-ever PEFCR for paper by promptly mobilising a large number of industry experts and by implementing innovative working methods such as crowdsourcing. The project concluded that the PEFCR was too academic to be applied in daily business and would require simplification. Two years later, CEPI was invited to join the 2013 – 2016 Environmental Footprint (EF) pilot phase with the understanding that, building on the previous pilot, the new pilot would be rather limited in time and would deliver a simpler and workable tool.

Unfortunately this has not been the case. The project’s objectives turned out to be much more ambitious than initially signalled and required significantly more expert time, money and resources than was communicated to pilots. Managed by the JRC, the Intermediate Paper Pilot was due to be completed by 2016 but has been repeatedly extended. It is now expected to carry on until the first quarter of 2018 and may be further delayed. This has caused a massive burden for the organisations involved as companies could not plan over time the allocation of experts’ resources to the project. Throughout the process, our industry experts have continuously demonstrated their agility to adapt and commitment in contributing to the project.

Additional burden has been caused by what seems to be a lack of understanding by the JRC of materiality and business needs, including confidentiality. Likewise, the JRC seems to lack the ability to take into account results from the studies (especially testing the Communication Vehicles) which goes against the stated objectives of the project.

EF pilot phase had indeed three stated main objectives: 1. test the process for developing product- and sector-specific rules; 2. test different approaches to verification; 3. test communication vehicles for communicating life cycle environmental performance to business partners, consumers and other stakeholders. Instead of advancing an operational and pragmatic modelling rule in simulacra that would help produce a simplified and robust reflection of reality, the project has been pushed in an overly complex and detailed direction. When testing the communication vehicles, it was independently and unanimously found across different downstream sectors, various sizes of business and geographic locations, that all customers rejected the footprint results due to the complexity and redundancy (beyond what can be considered material) of data.

As it now stands, performing a footprint calculation with the PEFCR remains a challenge and requires either the deep expertise of in-house LCA teams or the use of external consultants at a significant cost. This will make the tool far too costly and unusable for our industry value chain mostly composed of SMEs. The maxim, set by Commissioner Vella at the EF mid-term conference, “what is not good for SMEs is not good for anyone” has obviously been lost by the JRC when it comes to the process, the complexity and the cost of the task. Worryingly, the functioning of the Intermediate Paper PEFCR is also still today unknown. In addition to their human resources, companies involved in the pilot have invested €15,000.00 (x production site x product) to produce supporting studies in 2016. A “final” PEFCR then went through a formal consultation. But somewhat inconsistently, the final PEFCR wasn’t at that time final and was then significantly amended by JRC referring to the guidance that was only made available after the “final” PEFCR was presented. The JRC is still in process of amending the PEFCR.

Industry experts and companies involved in the project have lost confidence that a meaningful and workable tool can be delivered under the current approach and process. We do regret this situation but still believe it can be resolved.

Firstly, a majority of the companies involved in the Intermediate Paper Pilot have made a commitment to review and revise the current PEFCR into an operational and pragmatic category rule.

Secondly, CEPI is willing to set aside a budget to develop this into free intermediate paper software and stands ready to extend it for final paper products. We indeed appreciate the offer by DG Environment (email 11/07/2017) to share the software code being developed for t-shirts, beer, leather and olive oil pilots. We strongly believe this could radically reduce the cost of PEF calculations in the paper value chain and make it readily available to SMEs. Both activities would fit neatly within the transition phase the Commission has announced for April 2018.

Both activities would fit neatly within the transition phase the Commission has announced for April 2018.

CEPI will therefore postpone the submission of the PEFCR until the following activities have been finalised, by the end of 2018:

1. CEPI would take over the coordination and management of the project.
2. Review and revise internally the current PEFCR to an operational and pragmatic
category rule.
3. The Technical Secretariat would be restarted to formally revise the PEFCR.

ln addition, CEPI would expect DG Environment to share the software code being developed for t-shirts, beer, leather and olive oil pilots in order that CEPI can develop it into free intermediate paper software, ready to extend to a tool for final paper products.

The PEFCR and calculation tool would be actively disseminated and made available for free by CEPI to radically reduce the cost of PEF calculations in the paper value chain. We trust this approach will meet the interest of the paper value chain, its consumers and stakeholders as well as DG Environment.

I believe we can all agree that we share a common aim in producing a successful European tool that will be actually used by all businesses. I remain available to further discuss the matter at your convenience.

Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI

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13 Nov.2017

European paper industry takes over environmental footprint method from EU

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) informed the European Commission on 13 November of its intention to take over the PEFCR (Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules) prepared under a larger EU pilot on environmental footprints.

The PEFCR project promised to deliver a clear, simplified and workable method for environmental footprinting that our value chain could effectively use and rely upon. After more than four year’s work, the European Commission body in charge of the project is far from this objective. CEPI will now take the necessary measures to conclude the project and design a tool that is meaningful for business and workable for SMEs,” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI.

Initiated in 2013, the Intermediate Paper Pilot was meant to deliver a methodology for environmental footprinting of intermediate paper in a clear and workable format for all users. It was considered, at that time, that the workability of future PEF rules was imperative for the paper value chain, particularly SMEs. Led by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, however, the project has since been turned into an overly academic tool and the process continuously delayed.

The industry recognises the value of establishing a reference tool for communicating the environmental performance of paper products to customers and consumers. The industry has therefore decided to take back the lead from the European Commission and revise the PEFCR. In order to do so, CEPI has outlined a number of key steps in a letter sent to the Commission’s environment department here. The process would lead to developing free software for calculating the environmental footprint of intermediate paper, which could be extended by the printing and paper converting associations to a tool for final paper products. CEPI believes these steps are achievable over the 2018 – 2019 period.

Note to editor:

CEPI is the pan-European association representing the forest fibre and paper industry. Through its 18 national associations CEPI gathers 495 companies operating more than 900 pulp and paper mills across Europe producing paper, pulp, cardboard, tissue and other bio-based products. CEPI represents 22% of world production, €81 billion of annual turnover to the European economy and directly employs over 175,000 people.

For more information, please contact Jori Ringman, Deputy Director General at j.ringman@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 478 25 50 70

For press related enquiries, please contact Ben Kennard, Press Manager at b.kennard@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82
 

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08 Nov.2017

ETS reform restores regulatory certainty but gaps remain

Following today’s inter-institutional political agreement on the Emissions Trading System (ETS) the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is broadly encouraged by improvements in the regulation for the 2021-2030 period.

The conclusion of the ETS negotiations now restores the regulatory predictability needed for advancing industrial transformation. Investments in low-carbon technologies are core to what we stand for as an industry. A more stable regime and tools such as the ETS Innovation Fund will be crucial in accelerating the industry's transition towards a low-carbon circular bioeconomy” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of CEPI.

The final compromise text improves significantly the scheme with a more robust stability in carbon leakage provisions and firmer predictability in reviewing the benchmark values. The Innovation Fund will also act as a crucial mechanism in advancing the breakthrough technologies that will spur the industry’s low-carbon transition.

Nonetheless, several aspects of the text are lacking and these would need to be resolved. For instance, the Market Stability Reserve (MSR) was significantly amended without any prior assessment of its impact on “industrial competitiveness and the risk of carbon leakage”, even though this was an explicit requirement when amending the MSR decision. Likewise, no solution was found to effectively ensure compensation for indirect costs for exposed energy intensive installations. Finally, while the risk of a shortfall in free credits has been mitigated it has not been structurally eradicated thereby causing unnecessary regulatory risks. The impact of all of the above-mentioned aspects will become more evident by 2021, when all implementing legislation will be finalised. It is therefore imperative to swiftly finalise the full regulatory landscape by adopting all the implementing acts well ahead of 2021.

Note to editor:

Ensuring that the ETS also functions as a pro-investment tool is a core component of the European paper industries ‘2050 Investment Roadmap’. Check out our ‘Alignment matrix’ here to see how the ETS can provide a platform for catalysing and enabling industry transformation in Europe.

For more information, please contact Nicola Rega, Climate Change and Energy Director at n.rega@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 485 40 34 12

For press related enquiries, please contact Ben Kennard, Press Manager at b.kennard@cepi.org or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82

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23 Oct.2017

ENVI vote embraces sustainable sourcing of biomass but misses the mark by encouraging mass conversion of coal power plants

The Environment (ENVI) committee has understood the importance of better aligning the text with Circular Economy principles, energy efficiency standards and sustainable forest management practices. It nonetheless seriously jeopardises Europe’s bioeconomy by encouraging the mass conversion to biomass by low-efficiency coal power plants.

Despite significant technical improvements the ENVI committee vote misses the big picture and may cause an unsustainable dash for biomass” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). “The European bioeconomy deserves much better than turning wood into megawatts. We remain however confident that the text can be rebalanced at plenary”.

CEPI strongly holds the view that forest biomass should be both sustainably sourced and efficiently used in order to effectively contribute to Europe´s renewable energy and climate change targets.

For general enquiries please contact Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director at (+32) 2 627 4923

For press related enquiries please contact Ben Kennard, Press and Digital Communications Manager at (+32) 487 39 21 82
 

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18 Oct.2017

Winners of the European Paper Recycling Awards demonstrate why paper remains a recycling leader

Every two years the European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) rewards the best, brightest and most innovative paper recycling projects from across the continent with the prestigious European Paper Recycling Award. This year’s award ceremony, which took place on October 18, is jointly hosted by MEP Ms. Simona Bonafè (Italy), rapporteur of the Circular Economy dossier and Ms. Inés Ayala Sender (Spain).

Favini, a leading global producer of packaging for the luxury and fashion industries, topped the Innovative Technologies and R&D category for its Remake project, a ground-breaking process of using recycled leather to produce paper. Aspapel, the Spanish pulp & paper association headed up the Information and Education category with its creative ‘Blue Birdies’ project targeted towards raising awareness on the separate collection of paper across municipalities in Spain.

“Today’s winners are the pioneers that are paving the way the European paper recycling value chain is advancing paper recycling to the next level” says Lisa Kretschmann, Chairperson of the EPRC

“Whether it be inventive companies or municipalities willing to ‘step outside the box’, their role is crucial in helping the value chain reach its 74% recycling rate by 2020.” says Ulrich Leberle, Secretary of the EPRC/Raw Materials Director at CEPI

These two projects stood out from the crowd in terms of their originality, innovativeness, measured achievement and ability to be reproduced across Europe. Other commended entries which also scored highly include:

Information and Education category:
IMPACTPapeRec, a Horizon 2020 funded project on boosting separate collection of paper
Comieco’s (Italy) online contest “#iorompolescatole” (in English: “I break boxes”) on raising awareness of recycling paper & board packaging from e-commerce
• SCA’s Circular Economy project entitled “Closing the loop for paper hand towels

Innovative Technologies and R&D category:
Lucart (Italy): separating cellulose from beverage cartons to be reused for tissue production
Paptic (Finland): a light & durable material based on renewable and recyclable wood fibres

Learn more on how the EPRC is improving best practices in paper recycling and helping Europe reach its 74% paper recycling rate on the dedicated website here. Full information on all entries can be consulted here.

For more information, please contact Ulrich Leberle, Secretary of the EPRC/Raw Materials Director at CEPI by email u.leberle@cepi.org or by phone on (+32) 262 7 49 23.

For press related enquiries, please contact Ben Kennard, Press Manager at CEPI by email b.kennard@cepi.org or by phone on (+32) 487 39 21 82.

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15 Sep.2017

‘Sense the Future’ at European Paper Week 2017. Registrations now open

Registration is now open here for the 19th edition of European Paper Week 2017, November 28 -30 at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Brussels, Belgium.

This year CEPI celebrates its 25th anniversary and to mark this occasion we will be holding a very special anniversary dinner at Brussels’ famous Royal Museum of Art and History. For the first time ever the Pulp and Paper International (PPI) Awards will also be held in conjunction with the anniversary dinner.

The theme this year ‘Sense the Future’ revolves around the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Through various interactive exhibits you will be invited to discover new dimensions of what paper & the products beyond have to offer.

European Paper Week registrants will be treated to a unique ‘Sense the Future’ exhibition space where guests will be invited on a journey of discovery of several of the industry’s most innovative products.

For this year’s High-Level session CEPI will be joined by Gunther Pauli, a prolific TED speaker, serial entrepreneur and author of the renowned book ‘The Blue Economy’.
The full event programme can be consulted online here. This year’s agenda brings back a lot of the best that European Paper Week has to offer and plenty of new experiences including the first ever European edition of Blue Sky Young Researcher Awards and an ICFPA session focused on global industry challenges.

Register here now before September 30 to avail of the early bird fee of € 510, after this the regular entrance fee of €590 applies. A fee of €100 is in place for attendees to the special 25th anniversary dinner and PPI awards. Press, EU officials and a limited number of students may register free of charge.

For more information please visit our website here, follow the dedicated event hashtag #CEPI25 or get in touch at epw@cepi.org

StepChange continues to be the platinum sponsor of European Paper Week re-enforcing its commitment to the industry. As a management consultancy solely specialised on pulp, paper and packaging StepChange takes a pragmatic approach, turning strategy into measurable business results and increased shareholder value.
 

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13 Sep.2017

European Parliament votes in favour of a LULUCF regulation better fit for purpose

The European organisations representing forestry and agriculture sectors as well as woodworking and paper industries see the reaction of the European Parliament within the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) regulation as a positive step. The Parliament voted today in favour of a more dynamic forest reference levels to account for emissions and removals from sustainably managed forests.

EUSTAFOR, CEPF, Copa and Cogeca, CEPI and CEI-Bois recognise that the Parliament calls for flexible and forward-looking rules when establishing forest reference levels. However, further work is needed to ensure that the full potential of sustainably managed forests and wood-based products in mitigating climate change is fully accounted for as the final formulation of the regulation will be agreed in trilogues.
It is crucial for the European Union to keep promoting the use of domestic forest resources and the development of the entire forest-based value chain.
“This vote has put investment in Europe’s forests back at the forefront of the LULUCF regulation. This is a win-win for Europe’s climate strategy and the 1.8 million people working in the forest-based bioeconomy chain,” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI.
“The voting result encourages Member States to continue using their growing forest resources sustainably in order to decarbonize the European economy. However, there still remains quite some room to further improve the LULUCF regulation,” says Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR. “Actively and sustainably managed European forests are essential to allow the European Union to play a leading role in combining environmental integrity with societal needs and economic development.”

“This is a step in the right direction for a policy that puts the EU on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals. It enables continued investments into the forest sector and sustainable forest management – the best long term strategy to maintain the carbon sink and ensure multiple benefits from our forests”, says Emma Berglund, Secretary General of CEPF.
Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said: “Today’s vote upheld sustainable forest management practices and recognised the billions of investments made in rural areas. Sustainable harvest practices go hand in hand with the multifunctional role of forests. This brings excellent results for the climate, society and the economy. It makes no sense to outsource the provision of sustainable raw materials for our bioeconomy in non-EU countries. Diseases and forest fires are equally disastrous and Member States should be given the opportunity to manage the forests in a way that addresses also these important challenges. Future discussions with the Council must ensure that every country, no matter how big or small, has the opportunity to continue managing their forests in a transparent and science-based manner with a long-term strategy, without fear of being penalised or infringing private owners rights”.

For further information, please contact:

European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR):
Executive Director Piotr Borkowski - piotr.borkowski@eustafor.eu
Policy Advisor Salvatore Martire - salvatore.martire@eustafor.eu

Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF):
Secretary General Emma Berglund - emma.berglund@cepf-eu.org
Policy Advisor Meri Siljama - meri.siljama@cepf-eu.org

European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca):
Senior Policy Advisor Evangelos Koumentakos - Evangelos.Koumentakos@copa-cogeca.eu
Press Officer Amanda Cheesley - Amanda.cheesley@copa-cogeca.eu

Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI):
Raw Materials Director, Ulrich Leberle – u.leberle@cepi.org
Press & Digital Communications Manager Ben Alexander Kennard - b.kennard@cepi.org

European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois):
Secretary General Patrizio Antonicoli - patrizio.antonicoli@cei-bois.org
Sustainability and Economic Affairs Manager Isabelle Brose - isabelle.brose@cei-bois.org

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08 Sep.2017

Renewable Energy Directive: CEPI analysis of sustainability criteria for solid biomass fuels in the European Commission proposal for a Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewables (recast)

The sustainable forest management framework has evolved and strengthened over time balancing a market based demand for wood products and bioenergy with the other environmental and climate functions of the forest. More recently, the EU policy framework to support the use of energy from renewable sources has led to a strong increase of bio-energy use within short timeframes. The increased demand has led to rising imports of wood. To ensure the sustainability of the policy induced increase of bioenergy use and wood imports, the following issues have to be considered:

• Do the needs for wood biomass lead to any of the following critical consequences: resource depletion, land conversion, negative impacts on biodiversity?

• Is the direct burning of wood biomass an efficient use of a raw material that could first be used for higher value purposes?

• How could monitoring, reporting and verification ensure carbon sustainability?

CEPI believes that the Commission proposal provides in principle an appropriate response to the challenges caused by a policy induced increase in the use of biomass for energy.

CEPI welcomes the following principles:

1. Solid biomass fuels would only count towards the renewable energy targets if they comply with a number of forest management, LULUCF and greenhouse gas savings, and end use conversion efficiency criteria.

2. CEPI welcomes that the criteria are applied equivalently based on the type of biomass used and independently on which physical form (solid, gaseous or liquid) of the biofuels, bioliquids or biomass fuels produced.

3. There is a risk based approach for forest management and GHG criteria starting from the country level. Only if no evidence can be provided at country level, the forest holding level is considered. We believe however that an operator should have the possibility to assess the risk and proof sustainability at higher than forest holding level, if necessary information is available. The risk management system and the criteria refer to existing legislation, such as LULUCF accounting and environmental legislation.

4. The principle that the emissions from biogenic carbon are accounted as neutral in the energy sector is maintained as they are assumed to be already accounted in the LULUCF sector. We believe however, that for countries where emissions from LULUCF are not accounted, the criterion should be covered by the forest management criteria, especially the criterion that the long term production capacity of the forest is maintained.

5. Support to new conversions of coal based power stations to biomass with low efficiency would be ended from 2020. CEPI believes however, that Member States should be allowed to exempt above 20 MW installations from the CHP obligation based on climatic conditions.

6. The Commission proposes a system in which the burden of proof would be upon the energy producer rather than upon the individual forest owner. The criteria have to be fulfilled by installations of more than 20 MW fuel capacity, limiting the burden on small scale installations.

CEPI also believes that some provisions have to be improved:

1. Secure a functioning internal market: Member States should not have the possibility to go beyond the EU agreed sustainability criteria. This would hamper the functioning of the internal market and complicate the verification system.

2. Introduce meaningful LULUCF criteria at subnational level: For forest biomass from countries that do not account for LULUCF emissions it should be made clear that the core forest management criteria and especially the one on maintaining the long term production capacity of the forest should minimize the risk of LULUCF emission at the subnational level.

3. Review at the appropriate time: The review should take place in time before the post 2030 period, but a review in 2023 i.e. only after 3 years of application of the criteria is too early to be meaningful.

4. Ensure the forest management criteria are relevant, credible and implementable: CEPI proposes technical improvements to the forest management criteria at national and especially at the sublevel. CEPI is looking forward to a constructive dialogue with the European Commission services and other institutional and non-institutional stakeholders to ensure the forest management criteria are relevant, credible and implementable and will propose amendments in this respect.

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