The International Council of Forest & Paper Association’s (ICFPA) latest Sustainability Progress Report demonstrates progress in seven key areas of sustainability and highlights the role the forest sector can play in helping to meet global climate goals.
“Forestry workers and consumers of forest products are in the unique position to drive our move to a world with less dependence on fossil energy and fossil-based materials,” noted Jori Ringman, ICFPA President and Director General of Cepi (the Confederation of European Pulp and Paper Industry). “They are doing this through sustainable forest management, advancing the forest bioeconomy, and recovering more and more paper and paper-based products and packaging for recycling.
“I am proud of the work and leadership ICFPA has built over nearly 20 years. This report demonstrates the global impact of associations working together on a common set of commitments," he said.
The ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report tracks progress achieved in 2020-2021. The overall trend is positive – reflecting that the industry continues to improve in key sustainability areas from baseline years.
Key progress on ICFPA’s sustainability performance indicators include:
• 50% of procured wood fibre came from third-party certified sustainably managed forests, a 38-percentage point increase from the 2000 baseline year.
• Greenhouse gas emission intensity decreased 23.5% from the 2004/2005 baseline year.
• The energy share of biomass and other renewable energy increased to 63.7%, a nearly 11 percentage point increase since 2004/2005.
• Sulphur dioxide emission intensity from on-site combustion sources decreased 74% from the 2004/2005 baseline year.
• Water use intensity decreased 9.5% from the baseline year.
• Investment in health and safety interventions yielded a 30% reduction in the global recordable incident rate from the 2006/2007 baseline with the number of recordable incidents falling to 2.81 per 100 employees annually.
• In 2021, 59.9% of paper and paperboard consumed globally was reprocessed by mills to make new products, marking a 13.4 percentage point increase in the global recycling rate since the year 2000.
The 2023 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report also includes info about the 2023 international finalists for the ICFPA Blue Sky Young Researchers & Innovation Award. The theme was ‘Building a Lower Carbon Economy with Climate Positive Forestry and Forest Products’.
Representing South Africa among the top three finalists was Leane Naude, a Master of Science (Chemical Engineering) student at North West University, who presented a more cost-effective purification method for lignosulphonate, an abundant and versatile alternative to fossil-based fuels.
ICFPA serves as a forum of global dialogue, coordination and co-operation. Currently, the ICFPA represents 16 pulp, paper, wood and fibre-based associations from 27 countries, including many of the top pulp, paper and wood producers around the world.
South Africa, through the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa, is a longstanding member of the ICFPA and contributes data and case studies to the Sustainability Progress Report.
Download the 2023 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report.