PRESS RELEASE: Combined positive impact of European forests and the EU forestbased sectors for climate neutrality: the CO2 mitigation effect corresponds to about 20% of the EU’s annual emissions

Mar 4, 2020

Cepi, the Confederation of European Paper Industries, welcomes the new European Climate Law launched today by the European Commission as a key step forward in our common efforts to respond to global warming.

Our industry is committed to doing its part: we have already achieved a 27% reduction of carbon emission from 2005 to date, a leading performance amongst the ETS sectors. With a supportive and stable regulatory framework, we plan to continue and improve progress, as stated in Cepi CEO initiative. We aim to be the most competitive and sustainable provider of solutions for a climate-neutral Europe in 2050” said Jori Ringman, Director General at Cepi, the Confederation of European Paper Industries.

The transition towards a carbon-neutral economy will have to build on strong European industrial value-chains. The European paper industry has already identified a joint vision for the Forest-based industrial value-chain, published in November, and is working to make the vision a reality.

According to our soon to be published study, the combined positive climate impact of European forest (forest sink) and forest-based sector’s net substitution effect (forest industry and forest products) reaches a total of more than -806  million tonnes of CO2e every year, which corresponds to about 20% of the EU’s annual emissions.

One of the main contributions of forest-based industries is to valorise and ensure healthy forests by fostering their ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and enhance carbon storage. Likewise, almost as big as the forest sink in Europe, the contribution of the sectors’ low-carbon products is significant.

“Our study shows that informed consumer choices, moving from high-carbon products to low-carbon products, have an immediate and important impact on Europe’s goal to become carbon neutral”, Ringman says.

Cepi calls for an improved market access for recyclable and bio-based products, through a coherent product policy framework that allows for sustainable consumer choices.

This should go hand-in-hand with a policy framework that enables availability and access to responsibly sourced bio-based raw materials, through more support to sustainable forest management and high quality recycling in the paper industry.

Furthermore, reaching completely fossil-free value chains would require a plan for innovative solutions, with clear milestones for a timely and cost-efficient decarbonisation of the European energy system. “Advancing promptly in affordable supply of clean energy, in particular for gas, is an obvious prerequisite for achieving the new ambitious target set for 2030. We need the EU to plan energy transition with milestones matching today’s targets”, says Ringman.

These elements should be an integral part of European and national measures aimed at making the European Climate Law a reality.