Industry News

CPI sounds the alarm: 'Drop in UK paper mills' emissions is linked to declining production'

As reported by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), figures released through the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) confirm a continued fall in carbon emissions from UK paper mills.

In 2015 emissions were 8% lower than those in 2014 and 46% lower than in 2008.

Anyway, all that glitters is not gold. While some of this reduction can be attributed to investment in new power generation and a continued focus on energy efficiency, much of the reduction is caused by the closure of UK paper manufacturing - the CPI claims.

According to the papermakers, UK industry remains burdened by high energy costs and increasing imports. While the headline focus remains on their impact on UK steel manufacturing, the situation is equally serious for all UK based energy intensive industries, including the paper sector. 

Part of the reason for high energy costs is the impact of EU ETS. The 2015 figures show that 22 out of 29 UK paper mills (in the main scheme) were short of free allocations of carbon allowances. In total, 10% of sector emissions were not covered.

EU ETS recognises that energy intensive EU industrial operations cannot remain competitive if competitors outside the area don’t face the same carbon costs. Accordingly, EU ETS provides that, to avoid carbon leakage, mills should be granted free allocations at a level set by the most efficient sites. However, the agreed number of allowances available for free allocation has been slashed to ensure Member States can continue to sell a large number of allowances to raise revenue. In the UK, the effect of this reduction (or cross sector reduction factor) has resulted in mills receiving around 100,000 fewer allowances than it was agreed they need, with the shortfall increasing each year. Some progress has been made with the delivery by the UK Government of the EU ETS compensation scheme.

This scheme compensates for a proportion of the increased cost of electricity resulting from EU ETS, but this only offsets some of the additional cost due to the limited number of installations eligible for the scheme and State Aid rules limiting the amount of compensation.

CPI Director General, David Workman, commented: “The continued decline in UK papermaking means that two thirds of paper used in the UK is made elsewhere, with associated carbon not being counted in headline figures concerning UK emissions. If the 2050 targets are not to be met by de-industrialisation, then the Government needs to take every opportunity to support industry. The first thing it should do is ensure energy-intensive and tradeexposed industry receives, and continues to receive each year, a full allocation of free allowances set at the level of the best performers in each sector.”


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CPI concerned of UK-France proposal on EU Emissions Trading System

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has expressed its concern on the revision of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) post 2020.

In particular the Paper Industry representatives have raised questions about the joint discussion paper issued by the British and French Governments. The document proposed a tiered free allocation of carbon allowances based on "questionable assessments of the extent to which specific industrial sectors are at competitive risk from carbon costs." 

"If instigated, the proposals would fully support a limited number of sectors at the expense of other sectors also exposed to carbon leakage. This is wrong, because protecting auction revenue for Member States should not be a priority, and tiered allocation is unjustified from both an economic and a fairness perspective. It penalises competitive industries investing in low-carbon technologies and hampers innovation too", claims the CPI.

The UK has 29 paper mills currently regulated through the main EU ETS scheme. An additional 11 mills are regulated through the UK opt-out scheme for small emitters, with a further five mills below the production threshold for inclusion within the EU ETS. These 40 EU ETS regulated installations emitted a total of 1.6m tonnes of fossil carbon dioxide in 2015, while a total of 1.24m free allocations were provided – a shortfall of 23%. Of the 29 UK mills currently in the main scheme, 22 were short of allowances in 2015 and seven were long. So more than three-quarters of UK mills already receive less free allocation than their emissions.

The tiered approach on European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) could worsen the crisis experienced by the UK Paper Industry during the last decade.

"In 2005 (the start of EU ETS), the UK had 73 paper mills producing 6m tonnes of paper per year. By 2008 (the start of EU ETS Phase II), the UK had 59 mills producing 5m tonnes of paper. By the end of 2015, the number of mills had fallen to 45, with production down to 4m tonnes of paper", the CPI highlights.

"The UK is now the largest net importer of paper in the world, and more than half the paper collected for recycling in the UK is exported for recycling elsewhere – a massive missed opportunity for job and wealth creation in the UK."


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CEPI releases revised guidelines on Paper for Recycling quality control

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has issued new revised guidelines on Paper for Recycling quality control, including recommendations for Recycling suppliers and paper mills.

The publication - downloadable here - is designed to achieve greater harmonisation, promoting the implementation of the EN 643 Standard and facilitating commercial relationships between paper producers and recycling suppliers.

The guidelines describe in details inspection procedures for quality control at paper mills and give recommendations on the level of information for suppliers, documentation and staff education.


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European Paper Industry keeps reducing its carbon emissions, CEPI claims

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CEPI) has announced that carbon emissions across the European pulp and paper industry in 2015 fell by at least 1% compared to 2014.

The figures, based on the Verified Emissions and Compliance Data, also show a 27% reduction in absolute emissions throughout the decade 2005-2015.

According to CEPI, last year production levels remained substantially the same, while emission reductions were primarily driven by market consolidation, investments in bioenergy, and the push from international competition to improve efficiency in production processes.

"With energy being the second main component in the cost structure, reducing energy-related costs, such as CO2 emissions, is a priority to secure an internationally-competitive position", CEPI underlines.

"We have been early-movers in low-carbon investments and have further plans to grow our business in Europe, building synergies with Circular Economy as well as the Bioeconomy”, says Jori Ringman, CEPI Acting Director General.

“The EU ETS should support such efforts which are completely in line with its overarching scope of transforming the industries. Therefore the EU ETS should continue to improve the predictability of the regulatory framework, by promoting and rewarding investments in low-carbon technologies”, Mr Ringman adds.

The European Paper Industry currently receives 1.4% of the total allocations for manufacturing sectors, while employing over 6% of the manufacturing industries’ workforce and being responsible for over 5% share of investments in Europe.

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 505 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 920 paper mills. Together they represent 23% of world production.


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'UK Corrugated Industry helps Retailers to cut their carbon footprint', CPI underlines

According to the latest figures reported by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), UK Corrugated Industry's is increasingly contributing to help retailers cut their carboon footprint.

CPI's data show that average corrugated board weight has declined from 527gsm in 2005 to 464gsm in 2015, maximising storage and reducing transport costs.

Efficient production and packaging optimisation go hand in hand with sustainability. In this context, re-use and recycling are gaining in importance: over 80% of corrugated is recycled, and new UK boxes are made from more than 75% recycled material. Where new fibre is used, it typically comes from sustainably managed forests. This commitment to responsible forest management has made a huge contribution to the increase in the size of Europe’s forests (up by 30% since 1950).

Corrugated Industry is also steadily regaining lost ground as the UK economy emerged from the downturn. CPI reported that the total area of corrugated board produced by its Members rose by 4% in 2015 compared to 2010.

CPI’s Director of Packaging Affairs, Andy Barnetson, commented: “Corrugated box makers are helping to meet demand from consumers and retailers for attractive and sustainable packaging. The industry is doing more with less by taking effective steps to hold its own in a fiercely competitive global market."

“New technological advances have enabled papers to be made stronger, meaning that lighter weights can be used for the same roles. Combined with novel fluting grades, this makes for significant space savings in transit and storage. Corrugated will continue to evolve and adapt to the challenges ahead.”


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