Despite the volatility surrounding the converting market, the industry remains committed to keeping — and even expanding upon — its environmental goals. UPM Raflatac continues its efforts to lead the label industry into a net-zero carbon emission future. The company has raised its climate ambition to accelerate its journey toward being the world’s first label materials company beyond fossils. In practice, this means increasing the use of certified fibers and traceability of biobased materials, fostering reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and developing innovative products and services that help brand owners take positive climate action and go beyond their climate goals.
UPM is among the first forest industry companies committed to the UN Business Ambition for 1.5 C to take tangible actions to mitigate climate change. UPM has also joined The Climate Pledge, which commits the company to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040 — a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050. As part of UPM, UPM Raflatac aims to reduce or replace virgin fossil sources of carbon that add burden to the carbon cycle by applying the principles of reduce, recycle, renew, and reuse through responsible sourcing, sustainable operations and logistics all the way to innovative products and services.
UPM Raflatac has taken steps to make its production more sustainable. Six of its ten factories are fully powered with renewable electricity, and the company has reduced its factory greenhouse gas emissions by 47 percent since 2015. A high share of UPM Raflatac’s products use certified materials from forests that are managed as carbon sinks – and this number will keep rising in the future.
Is It Feasible?
In other news, Stora Enso is starting a feasibility study for the possible conversion of an idle paper machine at its Oulu site in Finland for a high-volume consumer board line. On a successful completion of the feasibility study, an investment decision could be made by the end of 2022 with start-up in 2025.
Stora Enso’s strategy is to invest in growth to support the strong, continuous demand for sustainable packaging. This is one of the key strategic focus areas in which the Group is building its market share with both existing and new customers. Stora Enso already holds a leading global market position in this segment. The potential investment in Oulu would target high-quality and low carbon-footprint packaging segments for frozen and chilled food and beverages, as well as for non-food applications such as pharma and cosmetics. The feasibility study will also assess how the conversion could contribute to Stora Enso’s science-based targets regarding operational CO2 emissions.
Based on full ramp-up, the potential top line sales impact of the conversion would gradually reach an annual level of EUR 800 million. Capital expenditure is estimated to be EUR 900–1,000 million during 2023–2026. The investment would include the conversion of the former paper machine and the sheeting facility. It would also include investments in wood handling, the bleached chemi-thermomechanical pulp (BCTMP) plant, the biomass boiler and the effluent treatment plant.
The increase in pulp wood consumption in Oulu would be approximately one million cubic meters, utilizing the volumes freed up after closure of the Veitsiluoto site. With the investment, an estimated 150−200 new employees would be needed, including logistics and maintenance. The investment would also utilize captive chemical pulp, creating a net reduction of approximately 300,000 tons in Stora Enso’s total market pulp exposure.
The planned annual capacity of the converted machine would be 750,000 tons of folding box board (FBB), coated unbleached kraft (CUK) and liner grades. Continuing the trend in the industry, Grupo Lapp., a label converter with operations in Spain and Portugal, has received the Carbon Footprint Certification awarded by the Spanish Ecologic Transition Ministry, acknowledging the efforts made by the company to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The Ecologic Transition and Demographic Challenge Ministry has highlighted the efforts of the label printer to fight climate change. As a result, Grupo Lapp. has been included in a registry created by the 163/2014 Royal Decree that features corporations with a strong commitment towards calculating and reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated by their activities to meet the European Union requirements.
The Carbon Footprint certification enables companies to demonstrate they’re part of the registry and highlights the efforts made by the local business to fight climate change.
To receive the certification, Grupo Lappi calculated its carbon footprint and committed to reducing the environmental impact of its activities. All the registered footprints are accompanied by a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a new report from Technavio, the recycled materials packaging solutions market is expected to grow by $65.1 billion from 2021 to 2026, progressing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 4.95 percent during the forecast period.