Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Markets Initiative Trend Report: Charting a New Course

A new report released today identifies a number of environmental recommendations that if implemented would help reposition Canada’s ailing pulp and paper industry for success.

The report comes from Markets Initiative and is entitled Charting a New Course for North America's Struggling Pulp and Paper Industries. It lays out in detail a new course designed to reinvigorate the industry based on adopting more environmental operations and procedures for the entire supply chain, from logging trees to the printed page. The report comes on the heels of the federal government’s budget, which provides $170 million in investment, but does not specify what technology, research and innovation are needed to actually turn the industry around.

“There’s no reason Canada’s troubled pulp and paper industry can’t take inspiration from the auto sector and start reinventing by producing a greener product,” says Nicole Rycroft, executive director of Markets Initiative, which over the past ten years has worked with all of Canada’s major publishers, printers and logging companies, developing and advising on green policies. “The world’s biggest publishers tell us time and time again they want more environmentally sound paper and more recycled paper. Why can’t Canada be the one to supply it?”

Jean Denault, corporate vice president, procurement and technology Transcontinental, North America's sixth largest printer, provided evidence that the findings have merit. "Transcontinental has a paper policy with a top line preference for 100% recycled domestically produced paper and we support investment in more Canadian de-inked and recycled paper capacity in the hopes it will make these papers more available and affordable."

To supply the companies that are engaged with Markets Initiative - mostly Canadian magazine, book and newspaper publishers - with the recycled and agricultural residue papers they are asking for, an additional 550 000 metric tonnes of eco-paper is needed – a contract worth upwards of $560 million. However, no mills in Canada are currently positioned to supply this very real and growing demand, annually.

To find a competitive edge in the current climate, the report recommends:

1. Increasing recycled paper capacity – this includes new market and policy initiatives to improve waste collection and additional deinking facilities - to supply hungry unserviced paper customers.

2. Prioritizing investment in commercial-scale agricultural residue pulping in Canada as a way to diversify beyond dependence on carbon rich, intact forests.

3. More collaboration among producers, consumers and government to develop policies for environmental paper, thereby responding to the growing public demand for eco-products.

4. Adopting innovative models that take into account a product's entire lifecycle and environmental impacts by redesigning production processes.

Get the full report here.

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