2016 Update Paper Sustainability Report
The Paper Sector publishes its full Sustainability Report every three years and an update with the most relevant data each year. The first edition in 2005 marked a milestone in CSR in our country as the first sector-wide sustainability report to be published in Spain. Never before had an entire sector conducted such an exercise of transparency and jointly assumed ambitious collective goals.
As a supplement to the main statistics (2006-2014) contained in the latest report published in 2015, this update summarises and remarks on the most relevant data for 2015 in regard to sustainable forest management, efficient and responsible production processing, generation of wealth and contribution to quality of life, and leadership in collection and recycling, the paper industry’s 4 lines of action in Sustainability.
THE FOREST, THE SOURCE
Wood for paper is planted and cultivated in plantations that are continually being regenerated and replanted and provide a driving force in rural economy.
Timber from local plantations (97%)
Of the 5.1 million cubic metres of wood that the Spanish pulp and paper industry used as raw material in 2015, 97% came from local pine and eucalyptus plantations, which represents an increase of 10% in local wood procurement and thus a dramatic decrease in imports.
Generated rural employment grows by 11%
These local plantations covered 450,790 hectares in 2015 (2.4% of Spain’s total timberlands) and provided direct employment to 5,177 people (up 11% over the previous year), engaged in reforestation and forestry work, as well as generating 16,675 indirect jobs in machinery, transportation, workshops …
Plantations of trees for papermaking —pine and eucalyptus— are fast-growing and therefore fix carbon faster, making them highly efficient CO2 sinks. In 2015, plantations for paper stored 31 million tons of CO2 equivalent (up 11% over 2014).
Certified paper continues to increase
We are the third EU country in forest area and that represents a great opportunity. To fully grasp it, we need to promote the sustainable management and certification of these forests. At present, 54.4% of Spanish-made paper on the market is certified, an increase of 8% over the previous year.
THE URBAN FOREST, RECYCLING
In 2015, Spanish paper mills recycled 5.2 million tons of paper and board (2.5% more than in the previous year). In the EU, only Germany exceeded that volume.
Local procurement: closing the cycle
Our industry’s recycling capacity ensures that all paper and board collected in Spain will be recycled here, thus closing the cycle in this country. In fact, in 2015, 4.6 million tons were collected, while the industry recycled 5.2 million tons. 69% of the paper recycled in 2014 by the Spanish paper industry was locally sourced, while the remaining 31% was imported from neighbouring countries (France and Portugal).
The overall collection of paper and board for recycling (including selective municipal collection via the blue bin, door-to-door retail collection and waste disposal centres, plus paper collected by private operators from supermarkets, industries, printers…) grew by 2.9% in 2015 to reach 4.6 million tons.
New times, new initiatives
Now that it has been running for ten years, ASPAPEL is renewing its prestigious Tu Papel 21 certification for town councils and municipalities, through which it offers expertise, recognition and visibility in the continuous improvement of municipal handling of selective paper and board collection. While maintaining its keen technical standards, the programme has improved its formula, retaining what was best in its previous stage and incorporating new features, such as an annual assessment and more agile operations backed by an online portal.
Another initiative in order to continue working but with renewed enthusiasm was launched in 2015 within ASPAPEL, namely Spanish Forum of Paper for Recycling, an open platform directed at all companies in the paper and board collection and recovery sector, aimed creating value along the paper and board recycling chain, with an integrated strategic vision of the sector. The 12 companies currently participating handle over 55% of the paper and board for recycling collected in Spain.
THE MILL, THE WORKERS
Papermaking using less energy and less water, and with a cascading use of raw materials, by turning waste into resources, is the working philosophy of an innovative industry in terms of its processes and products.
Biomass and cogeneration
The Paper Industry in Spain leads the production and use of renewable energy from biomass. 28% of the fuel used in 2015 (compared to 23% in 2014) was biomass and biogas, the rest being covered by natural gas.
The Industry’s mills produce most of the energy it uses in efficient CHP plants (with an installed capacity of 1,086 MW). The sector generated 5.4 million MWh (6% more than 2014) and produced 7.8 million tonnes of pulp and paper (-1.3%), while its CO2 emissions went down by 2.9%.
Optimising the use and consumption of water
The sector has a long tradition in optimising its use of water. Compared to the year 2000, total water use has dropped by 32%, even though pulp and paper production was 20% higher in 2015 than 15 years ago. Last year, pulp making required the use of 36 m3 of water per tonne of end product, of which only 3 m3 were consumed (i.e. incorporated into the final product or evaporated in the process), while the rest was returned after being suitably treated and re-used internally. Water usage rate in papermaking stood at 8 m3 per tonne, of which consumption was just 2 m3.
80% of process waste is re-used
In 2015, 80% of waste from papermaking processes was given a new lease of life in direct agricultural use or as compost, was recycled as a raw material for other industries or was used as energy source.
Commitment to OHS
In collaboration with trade unions, ASPAPEL undertakes an ambitious OHS programme that is actively followed by the sector’s companies. Despite a slight rebound in 2015, accident rates have been halved over the last ten years (2006-2015): the incident rate has dropped from 58 to 31.5, accident frequency rate has gone down from 35 to 18, and accident severity from 2 to 0.6.
THE PRODUCTS, THE CONSUMERS
The material of the future
Paper is the material of the future, because not only does it have significant environmental properties – natural, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable -, but it also combines versatility with innovation.
Paper is the material of the post-oil era: cellulose fibre biocomposites, hi-tech moulded, extruded or assembled products… today’s consumers demand solutions such as the ones the paper industry is developing in the field of printed electronics and nanotechnology: complete electronic circuit boards or RFIB printed paper labels, nanocellulose insulation… The sector is also offering the market packaging solutions with communication functions as well as increasingly sophisticated protection. And to make life easier and more comfortable, paper products are designed with superpowers, like toilet paper that cleans piping, packaging that chills champagne or white wine, cardboard with a layer of activated charcoal that absorbs odours and protects against the migration of unwanted substances…
A capital-investing, export sector —the engine of a powerful value chain
Among the six major European producers in the sector, the Spanish paper industry was the fastest growing in 2015. Capital investment (177 million euros) remained in line with the previous year, which had marked the beginning of a new investment cycle with growth of 23%. The 228 million euro CAPEX planned for 2016 confirms that investment trend, with a further increase of 29%.
Exports, which had been a safe haven for the sector and reached record highs during the crisis, have come down following the recovery of the domestic market but nevertheless still account for 57% of turnover. In 2015, Spain exported 45% of paper and 44% of the pulp it produced.
The Spanish pulp and paper making sector is the engine of a powerful value chain, creating employment and wealth. Starting with forest plantations, the chain covers pulp and paper making and its transformation into boxes, bags, books, newspapers, magazines and a host of products, and ends with the collection and treatment of used paper for final recycling in a paper mill, thus accounting for 3% of Spanish GDP.