31 Mar.2020 ,

Enhancing the EU forest policy framework through a stronger EU forest strategy post 2020

Cepi position on the new EU Forest Strategy post-2020                                                           

European forests and the forest-based sector provide multiple solutions that contribute to Europe’s part in keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees by strengthening its role in the circular bioeconomy. The Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi) and members welcome the inclusion of new EU Forest Strategy as a part of the European Commission contribution to climate change mitigation and the COP26 in Glasgow and applauds the deserved spotlight the new strategy gets in the European Green Deal.

European forests are only indirectly regulated by the EU in the context of forest-related policies developed under conferred competences, or by means of coordination of national forestry policies at EU level via targeted action plans, such as the EU Forest Strategy 2014-2020. Keeping in mind the complex competence division on forests and forestry, and likelihood that the EU initiatives impacting forests and the forest-based sector are projected to increase in near future, Cepi and its members suggest some key principles and instruments to be included in the new strategy to strengthen the policy coherence between the new EU Forest Strategy and 2050 Climate Strategy[1] as well as the updated Bioeconomy Strategy[2]. Furthermore, these tools would play a role in making the future strategy more meaningful and ambitious than its predecessor.

During the last decades the European forest resources have increased in terms of forest coverage and growing stock. Viable industries with continuing long-term investments in sustainable forest management ensure healthy and resilience of forest ecosystems. Sustainability is at the core of the forest-based industries. European multifunctional forests and sustainable management ensure the provision of the ecosystem services e.g. raw material supply, clean air, water, biodiversity and improve the health and resilience of forests that face a growing number threats (e.g. drought, forest fires, pests, floods, erosion) caused by the climate change. Therefore, new EU Forest Strategy should take into account the entire forest-based value chain and provide the sector with appropriate tools to enhance its ability to meet the growing demands of the societies. To achieve this it would be essential to strengthen the cooperation of the actors involved and use the expertise stemming from the Standing Forestry Committee, DG GROW expert group on forest-based industries and the Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork.

The new EU Strategy should build on the holistic concept of Sustainable Forest Management[3] developed under the FOREST EUROPE process. Currently the definition, principles and criteria have been embedded into national legislation and guidelines as well as voluntary systems such as forest certification in place. However, different EU sectoral policies identified the need for a sustainability framework and tempted to define criteria for it, partially in an inconsistent way.

Therefore, the new Forest Strategy should give a mandate to the Standing Forestry Committee to establish the European risk-based approach and sustainability criteria for forest management adopted in the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive as a non-end-use specific sustainability system for forest biomass.  The EU Forest Strategy should guide relevant EU policies in applying the system as appropriate. This two-step approach to minimise the risk of using unsustainable forest biomass respects the complex competence division of Member States and the EU as it comes to forests and forestry.

Consequently, in the near future, the new EU Forest Strategy could encourage the European Commission to conduct fitness checks of the legislations already agreed to ensure that contradicting policies hindering the development of the sector would be reviewed and possibly revised.   In the long-term, fostered cooperation on forestry could be enhanced via the establishment of e.g. pilot projects or preparatory actions to further develop existing networks such as the Standing Forestry Committee and Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork. These pilots or actions would improve knowledge on the possible impacts of strategic decisions affecting forests and the forest-based sector.

Currently in the EU, approximately 65%[4] of the forest growth is harvested, meaning that there is a constant accumulation of biomass that could be sustainably used to enhance the development of the circular bioeconomy across Europe. Keeping and attracting the investments in Europe is of utmost importance as it comes to building green growth in Europe. Fostering the knowledge-base on the availability of forest resources with socio-economic indicators and science-based data on biodiversity should be further developed as a part of the new EU Forest Strategy. This work should build on the achievements of the last strategy in which the Forest Information System for Europe (FISE) was established.     

In order to implement the European Green Deal successfully, the new Forest Strategy should focus on the acknowledgement and the uptake of all climate benefits of the forests and the forest-based sector. Too narrow focus on the sink function of forests undermines the other climate benefits, namely the increased substitution of fossil-based materials and energy as well as further development of carbon storage in forests and products. The recently published EU Forest-based industries vision 2050 describes sustainable pathways to a climate friendly future. New innovative materials and products have a potential to contribute replacing traditional plastics in packaging and in other sectors. Cepi would like to highlight that besides paper and board, e.g. wood-based textiles, bio-chemicals and other everyday commodities can be done by the pulp and paper industry, in a sustainable, circular manner.    

Cepi believes that by including the above mentioned instruments in the new strategy and/or its action plan, the strategy would not only guide forest-related actions in all EU forest-related proposals but also bring added value compared to the current strategy and its multiannual implementation plan (Forest Map). 











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26 Mar.2020

EPRC PRESS RELEASE: Collection and recycling of used paper more important than ever in times of health crisis

The Covid-19 sanitary crisis is unprecedented. The industry associations supporting the European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) are saddened to see that so many people have lost their lives due to the pandemic. The lockdown measures taken to slow down contamination are deeply impacting our lives as well as business operations. 

The paper value chain committed to keep its operations to deliver all essential paper products, such as hygiene products, packaging for food or pharmaceuticals while taking all necessary measures to protect workers, suppliers and customers.

The EPRC asks all authorities to enable crucial industries such as paper to continue production and to facilitate transport and cross border shipments for the supply of these goods. "In these critical times, it is more than ever important to keep the supply for our industry running, in order to secure packaging for essential products” said Angelika Christ, chairwoman of the EPRC.

The new circular economy action plan recently published by the European Commission recognizes separate collection as a prerequisite for the circular economy. With a recycling rate of 71,9% and even 84,6% in packaging, the paper and board value chain depends on paper for recycling.

Separate collection of paper for recycling from households and supermarkets, but also its sorting and transport to paper mills are an essential part of this supply chain.

Recently, individual cities in some Member States  have announced they might have to reduce separate collections or close sorting centers due to the current crisis.

People’s health must be the first priority along with supplying our society with essential goods for everyday life.

Cepi, the Confederation of European Paper Industries is hosting the EPRC secretariat.

For further information please contact Ulrich Leberle at or +32 479 905 921.

Note to editor:

The European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) was set up as an industry self-initiative in November 2000 to monitor progress towards meeting the paper recycling targets set out in the 2000 European Declaration on Paper Recycling. Since then the commitments in the Declaration are renewed every five years. In 2017 the EPRC committed itself to meeting and maintaining both a voluntary recycling rate target of 74% in the EU27 plus Switzerland and Norway by 2020 as well as qualitative targets in areas such as waste prevention, ecodesign and research and development. In 2017, Members of the ERPC are ACE, CEPI, CITPA, EMFA, ETS, FEPE, INGEDE and INTERGRAF. Supporters are Afera, EuPIA, FINAT, FEICA and RadTECH Europe. DG Environment and DG Grow of the European Commission are permanent observers to the EPRC.


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25 Mar.2020

Cepi Press Statement - European pulp and paper sector maintains essential operations to help EU citizens tackle the COVID-19 pandemic

Cepi, the European paper industry association, and its members across Europe are shocked and saddened by the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacting people globally and in Europe, with a growing number of lives lost. 

We have taken the situation very seriously and implemented all necessary measures to guarantee the safety of our people: employees, transport operators and customers.

Our main priority now is to ensure that EU citizens can access the products that they desperately need for hygiene, health and food purposes in the current lockdown context.

For that reason, we are relentlessly working with other industries in our value-chain to operate as much in a “business as usual” mode as possible and guarantee security of supply to our fellow Europeans.

Our tissue and hygiene products are of vital importance to citizens, particularly to implement the recommendations issued by national governments and the World Health Organization (WHO): frequent hand washing and proper hand drying is vital. Tissue offers the safest option.

Our fibre-based packaging is also essential to transport and deliver all types of food and pharmaceutical supplies such as medicines in protective packaging.  

We depend on the quick availability of fibres from recycled paper to manufacture our packaging. Therefore we call on local communities to help us serving them, by ensuring that the collection of paper and board continues smoothly during the crisis. Otherwise, it would create a shortage of raw material within weeks and force us to stop our production.

We also have the obligation to ensure the timely and safe delivery of essential goods to our communities.  Many of our companies are currently struggling due to extra border control checks and related delays within Europe due to lack of container capacity after the closure of China’s harbours. We need support to avoid delays in deliveries of these key supplies.

For all these reasons, we have been calling for our sector (NACE code 17) to be recognised as an essential supplier in several critical European value chains and to be eligible for state aids to ensure continuity of vital supplies to the society during the health crisis and facilitate a sustainable recovery of the European economy after we overcome the health crisis.

We expect the Corona virus to prompt many changes in the way businesses are operated and society is organised.  We call the European Commission to review the recently adopted Industrial Strategy in the light of the changes to ensure it remains valid and a strong policy for the new industrial realities. 

Solidarity has to come first; we will strongly support the work of the EU institutions and national governments with our reiterated commitment to invest in Europe and for maintaining European jobs in the next 5 years.

Jori Ringman

Director General

Cepi, Confederation of European Paper Industries


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11 Mar.2020

PRESS RELEASE: Circularity is a “no regret option” for the European industrial transition: it is now time to recognise circular low carbon forest-based industries as a strategic value chain!

The Green Deal has to be translated into a business case, strengthening sustainable and circular industrial value chains in Europe, and ensuring that they are considered of strategic importance.

For that reason, Cepi, on behalf of the European Paper Industry, applauds the increased support to low carbon value chains in the “New approach to industrial policy” released by the European Commission on 10 March.

“With the proper regulatory framework, the European paper industry together with the forest-based industrial value-chain can become one of the main forces driving the transition to a competitive, low-carbon and circular economy” said Jori Ringman, Cepi Director General.

The European paper industry is already working together with the Forest-based value-chain, to deliver products made from sustainable, circular and regenerative raw materials to European consumers and export markets.

We also recognize the importance of the new governance method of building inclusive partnerships, making sure that national authorities and industry work closely together. Member States and the EU have to accompany the industrial transition to climate neutrality by securing clean and affordable energy for all industrial sectors with the adequate infrastructure – it is a prerequisite for deep emission reductions.

As an industry deeply committed to recycling, Cepi also recognizes that the Circular Economy Action Plan published today 11 March goes in the right direction by identifying key areas to enhance recognition of sustainable products and by incentivising waste policies that will close existing gaps in the recycling loops.

We support a reinforced waste policy in support of circularity and agree with the identification of packaging as a priority sector for the Circular Economy Action Plan.

Design for recycling is a pre-requisite for the circularity of fibre-based products. We are fully engaged in improving the future recyclability of paper products with recommendations such as the European “Paper-based Packaging Recyclability Guidelines”. Applying these guidelines will allow the entire value chain to innovate on packaging functionality while keeping the recyclability of paper packaging in mind, as a core preoccupation. 

It the same spirit, we launched the new fibre-based value chain alliance 4evergreen, a forum to engage and connect industry members from across the fibre-based packaging and food service value chain, from paper and board producers to packaging converters, brand-owners and retailers, technology and material suppliers, waste sorters and collectors, and more. The common objective of 4evergreen members is to deliver a holistic approach to optimise the sustainability and circularity of the fibre-based packaging’s life cycle.

In the context of recent waste import restrictions by China, the European paper industry is set to recycle even more in Europe, as it makes additional investments in paper recycling capacities. The paper industry is already recycling 49 million tonnes of paper in Europe (2018 data) and the amount has been growing since 2000. For the investments to happen, the European paper industry material must be separately collected[1] and reach the mills with the right level of quality.

Therefore, the Circular Economy Action Plan correctly identifies the facilitation of EU internal shipments of waste and secondary raw materials as well as the convergence of waste collection systems as priorities.

We look forward to taking full advantage of the new industrial strategy and circular economy action plan. Concretely, this means manufacturing sustainable forest-based solutions made from renewable raw materials, making our production processes even more efficient and our value chains perfectly fit for a climate-neutral Europe.

[1] Cepi has already provided guidance on separate collection for paper and board.


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04 Mar.2020

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

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.


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