2030 is a pivotal year for the decarbonisation of Europe. It is the year by which the European Union must have significantly reduced its emissions, by 40% as a minimum, and even up to 55% if the more ambitious target proposed is to be adopted.
For any industrial sector, reaching these figures, particularly after the economic crisis deriving from the pandemic, requires significant investments towards clean and efficient energy sources, as well as a renewed policy framework opening the market to sustainable products made from renewable materials.
“The European paper industry has a unique role to play in the fight against climate change by offering immediate and affordable solutions. We have a vision on how we can contribute, and we could do even more with the right regulatory environment. Our 2030 Industry Manifesto maps out the ways in which we can deliver potential for carbon reduction. With substantial and targeted support from the EU as part of its Green Deal legislative package, these factors can play an essential role in reducing carbon emissions, potentially exceeding the already ambitious targets.” commented Ignazio Capuano, Cepi chairman, in occasion of the Manifesto’s launch during the 2020 edition of Cepi’s annual conference, Paper and Beyond. The 2030 Industry Manifesto identifies the three main catalysts for the decarbonisation effort:
> Product substitution: Our industry can provide climate-friendly substitutes to fossil-based, carbon-intensive products currently on the market, potentially creating a multiplier effect through our expertise in the circular economy. The European Union should help create new markets for renewable bio-based products and ensure there is a steady supply of recyclable raw materials, like high quality virgin fibre. Furthermore, recycling could be further enhanced through improvement and harmonisation of the European waste collection systems.
> Sustainable forest management: Forests are essential in our fight against climate change. They support biodiversity and act as a carbon sink. Our industry, together with our forest-based industrial partners, contributes to their active and timely management, leading to effective reforestation, regeneration of harvested areas and safeguarding biodiversity. A strategic EU-wide framework for forest management would significantly boost and support our work. The framework would need to look at data-based socio-economic indicators for biodiversity to determine the availability of forests, help support their regeneration and ensure the application of our industry standards in other sectors and regions of the world.
> Emission reduction in production processes: We have already achieved significant results in our decarbonisation efforts. The emissions still present are almost entirely due to energy consumption. While increasing energy costs would simply make the European industry less competitive, we do believe more can be achieved through a renewed European industrial strategy aimed at promoting carbon-neutral production in Europe.
This strategy should support and reward investments in reducing emissions through energy efficiency, CO2 avoidance and renewables. It should pave the way for broader availability for carbon-neutral energy sources, and secure effective protection for our sector against the risk of carbon leakage.
“The Green Deal is not just a political programme by Ursula von der Leyen: it is a tsunami of policy and legislation that will profoundly change businesses and industry – ours included. It is now that our future is being decided! Our industry in Europe has already moved very far in its effort towards decarbonization and sustainability, in spite of the difference between companies in processes and products and even in access to resources due to different geographical locations. We are now ready to move to the next steps and we are sure the European Union can see the unique added-value we can bring” said Jori Ringman, Cepi’s Director General.