European Paper Forests

European Paper Forests Growing Rapidly

European Paper Forests

Our friends over at TwoSides have no shortage of amazing facts about the sustainability of the printing and paper industry.  Some of our bests posts on sustainability have been brought to you by TwoSides content.  Their dedication to continually improving our industry’s environmental credentials and addressing the public concern is unwavering.  Repeatedly dropping amazing facts for any print nerd to use the next time someone says “Printing is bad on the environment,” or in this instance, “European Paper forests are Shrinking”.  Well, are they?  NO SIR!

European forests have been growing by over 1,500 football pitches every day!

European Paper Forests

Paper is a uniquely renewable and sustainable product. The main raw materials, trees, are grown and harvested in a carefully controlled and sustainable way – so successfully that European forests, where most of the raw material comes from, have grown by an area the size of Switzerland in just 10 years.

Between 2005 and 2015, European forests grew by 44,000 Square Kilometers  – that’s an area bigger than Switzerland and amounts to over 1,500 football pitches of forest growth every day!

FAO data, 2005-2015

“The most common pressures causing deforestation and severe forest degradation are: large and small-scale agriculture; unsustainable logging; mining; infrastructure projects; and increased fire incidence and intensity”
WWF Living Forests Report Chapter 5: Saving Forests at Risk, 2015

50% of the world’s wood harvest is used for energy and 28% for construction. There are some other uses but paper only directly takes 13% 
Derived from FAOSTAT, 2015

In some countries, particularly in the tropics, there are issues over land rights and natural forest conversion to industrial plantations which are a cause of concern to the paper industry, NGOs and consumers alike.

“Forests play an important role in the conservation of biological diversity. The area of protected forests in Europe increased by around half a million hectares annually between 2000 and 2010. Half of the protected forests are managed for conservation of biodiversity.”
EEA, The European Environment — State and Outlook, 2015

The Two Sides initiative supports solutions to these problems and recognises the need to support products which can clearly be traced to sustainable sources.

“84% of our raw materials come from Europe.”
CEPI Sustainability Report, 2013

In northern Europe, where almost all ancient Forests are protected, paper comes from managed semi-natural forests where the cycle of planting, growing and logging is carefully controlled. Historical concerns in northern Europe and Canada have now been largely resolved through co-operation between legislators, campaigners and forest industries to protect ancient forests. 

“The area under forest management certification has continued to increase, from 18 million ha under internationally verified certification in 2000 to some 438 million ha in 2014.”
FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment, 2013

UNREAL!  Forests have expanded the size of Switzerland in just under 10 years!  That’s an impressive effort by all to improve the sustainability of our industry and minimize our impact on the local resources!

BIG THANKS to TwoSides for bringing this fun fact to us.

Do you have a fun fact about our industry or the sustainability efforts of your company?  We would love to hear about it in the comments below.

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