The European paper industry takes a positive stance on the European Commission’s Staff Working Document on the review of the 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy.
“To achieve Europe’s bioeconomy and climate change agenda, it is essential that the EU lays down the conditions to spur the investments which shift Europe away from a ‘fossil-addicted’ economy. The European forest fibre and paper industry stands ready to captain this transformation but the EU’s future Bioeconomy Strategy must take a holistic approach and cease treating bioeconomy dossiers as separate and distinct” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI).
The European paper industry is, at its core, an entirely bio-based industry producing the only mainstream material that is both renewable and recyclable. As part of its 2050 ‘Investment Roadmap’ to lead Europe’s bioeconomy transition, the industry foresees bringing 25 bn EUR of added value to the EU economy with pulp and paper-based novel bio products, while massively cutting carbon emissions. This transformation would require an estimated 44 bn EUR of additional investment in Europe to deploy game-changing technologies for new paper-based products and for establishing biorefineries that convert side-streams into advanced biochemicals.
The European Commission has recognised the importance of putting in place ‘a stable regulatory environment’ to support bioeconomy investments and the need to address the incoherence between the Action Plan and the Strategy. The Staff Working Document also mentions the need to better link the bioeconomy strategy with other policies, in particular the Circular Economy, which is both symbiotic and multiplies the benefits of the bioeconomy and mitigates climate change. At the same time, the Action Plan itself needs to be more specific, time bound, measurable and aligned with a reviewed Strategy.
The European paper industry believes that the time is ripe to accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon and circular bioeconomy. Cutting-edge initiatives like the flagship Biobased Industry Joint Undertaking should be prolonged and aligned with the new Strategy. Incentivising investments will also be crucial to ensuring Europe’s bioeconomy transition is put into full gear and builds on its ‘bioeconomy competitive advantage’.