Wood is the most important resource for the paper industry. At the same time, it is also the most important natural raw material in the transition to a sustainable and climate-friendly economy. In order to secure the future supply of raw materials from domestic forests, targeted measures for a climate-friendly forest are necessary.
The paper industry processes almost a million solid cubic metres of wood every year.
73 % of the wood comes from domestic forests, 27 % is imported.
Especially from the regional surroundings of the factories close to the border.
Half is thinned timber, the other half is by-products from the sawmill industry.
The paper industry uses 100% legal and (PEFC/FSC) certified wood from sustainable forestry.
A climate-friendly forest for the raw material of tomorrow
Climate change can be felt in the native forests. Drought, periods of drought and extreme weather events such as storms severely affect the trees. Especially coniferous trees below 400 metres above sea level suffer from drought stress and pests such as the bark beetle. This is currently leading to an increase in the amount of damaged wood, which must be removed from the forest as quickly as possible. The paper industry supports the local forestry industry by purchasing as much wood as possible by creating additional storage capacity. Targeted funding and measures in the fields of research and genetics can be used to plant resistant and more resilient softwoods for a climate-friendly forest. In this way, the forest can continue to perform all its services for society in the future.
Priority for domestic wood
Wood is the basis of all high-quality paper products. In 2020, the paper industry used 8.6 million cubic metres of wood. The wood originates 100 % from sustainable forestry. Wood is now a renewable resource that is in great demand for energy use, but also in ecological housing, furniture, etc. Even if the currently high amount of damaged wood in Austria gives a different impression, not the entire potential of wood is harvested in the Austrian forests. In order to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials and to prevent bark beetle infestation, thinning in Austria must be stimulated. Incentives to increase timber harvesting can be created by promoting the development of infrastructure and forest developments. In this way, we create regional added value for all stakeholders along the value chain.
Making wood logistics more environmentally friendly
The transport volume of the Austrian paper industry amounts to almost 20 million tons. Two thirds of this is accounted for by the purchase of raw and auxiliary materials and one third by the delivery of finished products. The rail share is about 44%, but has declined somewhat in recent years. For distances under 100 km, truck transport is still irreplaceable. Here, journeys and CO2 could be saved by adjusting the permissible tonnages. In terms of a climate-friendly transport economy, timber transport by rail must become more attractive. This urgently requires investments in railway infrastructure and wagon material. In the case of truck transport, adjusting the maximum permissible total weight to 50 tonnes would lead to a 20% reduction in transport and substantial CO2 reductions.
PAPERWOOD AUSTRIA ERECTED EXTERNAL WAREHOUSE
Trees infested by bark beetles must be removed from the forest as quickly as possible to prevent further damage to other trees. The amount of damaged wood is often not easy to manage logistically. The pulp industry has therefore set up additional external wood storage facilities. This enables high timber inflows to be cushioned at short notice. The forest owner has the guarantee of timely timber removal from the forest.
The paper industry is producing less in the crisis year 2020 and has to accept a significant drop in sales. Nevertheless, it is focusing on the climate targets.