Paper & Beyond is the annual event of the European Paper industry and its value chain. The theme of this year’s event is ‘shaping the next generation’. It brings together producers, manufacturers, policymakers and leading innovators in the sector. Today, during one of many sessions, was presented the concept of the Pulp, Paper and Recycling Mills of the Future, an ambitious vision for what might constitute the industrial basis of the future circular low-carbon bio-economy.
This year, the two-day conference comes at a time when the sector is going through a profound industrial transformation, and in the context of a shifting business environment. While recycling rates for paper and pulp products are at all-time high, consumer habits are changing, driven by online shopping but also by an appetite for new, more climate-friendly products.
The sector itself has the occasion to showcase whether it can live-up to its fame as the greenest within the European industry. As an essential part of the bio-economy, which consists in using renewable biological resources, the paper and pulp sector can contribute to the EU’s ambition to support the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement, as reaffirmed recently by European delegates during the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
The cornerstone of this ambition is the Pulp, Paper and Recycling Mills of the Future, a concept based on the technologies which are available to the sector at large scale before 2030. These new solutions will enable pulp, paper and recycling plants to make the most out of wood, biomass and recycled fibres to deliver climate-friendly products, while ensuring that the industry’s activities are advancing towards complete carbon neutrality, meaning that they reject no CO2 in the atmosphere.
Other sessions taking place today and tomorrow will cover various aspects of how the Industry is shaping its ‘next generation’ and its sustainable future: circularity, technologies for carbon neutrality and the policies and financial streams that might enable their deployment at scale over the next decade. Discussions will explore the future carbon border adjustment mechanism of the EU, the digitalisation of the industry and how to attract new talent into the sector. Future products and notably wood fibre-based textiles will also be debated. A final session will cover the upcoming European forestry strategy, one of the policy pillars of the future bio-economy.