Paper and board originate from forests, a natural, renewable and recycled resource



By Massimo Medugno

DG Assocarta

Some environmental associations do not want to take these fact into account.

The paper products come from European forests that have absorbed CO2 and have grown by 1500 football pitches a day (European forests are larger today than at any point in time!) even if we have an increased use of wood. The paper industry supports and embraces the opportunity of reforestation of Europe, as recently announced by VP Timmermans as part of the EU Green deal package under preparation.

The wood comes from sustainably managed forest: certifications are the best available tool to demonstrate sustainable origin: over 80% of our wood is certified. Paper has another advantage compared to other materials: it is the champion materials in recycling! Eurostat: 84.6% of European packaging paper and board put on the market is recycled, and the volume of recycled fibre-based packaging alone is as large as recycling done by all other packaging materials together.

All food contact materials and articles have had to comply with an EU framework Regulation since 2004 – everything from paper and board to metals. The Confederation of european paper industries (CEPI) has published in 2010 – and updated recently – a voluntary measure to offer guidance on compliance with the framework regulation. CEPI and its sister organisations along the value chain are the first in the European Union to produce such guidance: they form a solid base for the manufacturing of safe products for food packaging and food contact articles made from paper and board.

The customers in the food industry have received this very positively. Smithers Pira, an independent peer review organisation, deemed it a world-class standard for paper and board in contact with food.

The European paper industry recognises the importance of legal and sustainable sourcing of wood fibres. The best illustration of our commitment is that forests in Europe have grown alongside the increased use of wood and European papermakers use certifications as the best available tool to demonstrate the sustainable origin of their fibre sourcing. In 2017, 70.7% of wood purchased by the European aper industry originates from certified forests and 83% of pulp purchased by the European paper industry was certified by forest management certication schemes.

CEPI urges politicians across the world and EU policymakers for proportionate and targeted action against deforestation and forest degradation. We namely propose expanding the scope of products under the EU Timber Regulation to printed products. We support the initiative to tackle issues outside Europe, with a focus on the tropics. We recognise that, in some circumstances, halting deforestation would require accompanying measures to support the livelihood of local people.

Those who accuse the paper is responsible for loss of forest and threat to biodiversity (as some environmental associations) do not want to take these facts into account.