Effective climate protection for a sustainable and competitive industry

The paper industry is committed to the climate goals and the exemplary role of Europe. Above all, post-crisis reconstruction must be climate-friendly and at the same time secure for the location. Measures to protect the climate and domestic industry need not be contradictory.


climate protection
  • The paper industry is committed to climate goals and decarbonisation.
  • It is subject to emissions trading and emitted 1.6 million tons of fossil CO2 in 2020.
  • Compared to 2000, it achieves an absolute CO2 reduction of 20%, even though 600,000 tons or 14% more paper is produced today than in 2000 (2019).
  • Overall, fossil CO2 emissions per ton of paper were improved by 30% compared to 2000.

The current climate targets for 2030 and the legally enshrined climate neutrality by 2050 are extremely ambitious by international standards. The Austrian government has committed itself to achieving the target ten years earlier, i.e. by 2040, which means that essential legislative matters and climate instruments must be revised and tightened up: for example, the European emissions trading system, measures in the field of non-ETS and directives on renewable energies and energy efficiency.

Paper industry invests in climate protection

The paper industry is committed to the climate goals and also actively contributes to CO2 reduction. It has already successfully decoupled its CO2 emissions from economic growth and reduced its fossil CO2 by 20% from 2000 to the present. Several mills have also announced investments in CO2 reduction measures for the coming years. These concern, for example, the development of innovative and sustainable products or the sustainable design of energy supply. For the paper industry, it is important to take advantage of the opportunities offered by decarbonization. Financial support for low-CO2 technologies where they achieve the greatest benefit at the lowest cost is essential for further and continuous improvement.

Reduction of absolute fossil CO2 emissions since 2000
Reduction of fossil CO2 emissions per tonne of paper
Increase in paper production since 1990

Status 2019

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Equal conditions for all

Europe can and should take a leading role in climate protection. This requires fair competitive conditions within Europe but also globally. Optional measures, such as those of indirect CO2 cost compensation, which allow individual countries to reimburse their emissions trading companies for CO2 costs, must be placed under a uniform framework. While many EU countries use this option for their industry, it is not granted in Austria, for example, which distorts intra-European competition and weakens Austria as a business location. For industry, it is essential that there is a broad level playing field. Companies that are subject to CO2 trading must not be burdened twice. As long as there are still different speeds in the global climate effort, effective carbon leakage protection provisions, such as the current free allocations in emissions trading, are an important prerequisite for companies. International consistency in climate policy is an important framework for achieving climate targets economically.

Climate change tariffs

In addition, the development of a carbon border adjustment mechanism is currently under intensive discussion in order to strengthen competitiveness vis-à-vis countries outside Europe. This would replace current measures, such as the free allocation of CO2 certificates, and at the same time prevent European companies from moving to other countries with lower CO2 standards. Any measure that amounts to a CO2 tax can only be an effective instrument at the European, or ideally even global, level. The design and security of such a mechanism will be essential. In any case, a large number of factors must be sufficiently assessed in advance to make clear the individual impact of a new measure on all sectors.

cepi study

Bind CO2 in wood-based products

Forests are important CO2 stores. When the wood is processed into products, the CO2 continues to be stored in them. The study "Climate effect of the forest-based sector in the European Union" has investigated the CO2 effect of forestry products and processes. The study by the European paper industry, together with partners along the entire wood value chain, concludes that the forest-based sector saves 806 million tons of CO2 every year. This corresponds to 20 percent of the EU's total CO2 emissions.

Best Practice

location lenzing 01(1)


Lenzing will substantially reduce CO2 emissions in order to become climate neutral by 2050. Not only in existing production processes, but also in the construction of new pulp and lyocell plants, Lenzing is paying attention to low-CO2 energy sources and processes. A first milestone is 2030 - by then, emissions per ton of pulp and fiber produced will be reduced by 50% compared to 2017. The measures being taken are in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and are therefore recognized as "science based".

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