The State of the Global Paper Industry
Shifting Seas: New Challenges and Opportunities for Forests, People and the Climate

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Executive Summary
Press Release

The State of the Global Paper Industry is a civil society review of the social and environmental performance of the paper industry. The 2018 report’s assessment is structured according to the goals of the EPN’s Global Paper Vision, informing on trends in consumption, recycled content, social responsibility, responsible virgin fibre sourcing, greenhouse gas emissions, clean production and transparency. Key findings include:

  • paper consumption is at unsustainable levels and globally it is steadily increasing, particularly in Asia, while remaining at unequal levels of access in some parts of the world, particularly Africa.
  • increasing production in response to new market demand is driving development of new virgin-fibre pulp mills, especially in Asia, Africa and South America. A new live online map is revealed as a resource to help track the expansion and the proximity of mills to Intact Forest Landscapes.
  • expansion is resulting in numerous social conflicts in many nations including Brazil, Indonesia, Canada, India, Chile and Mozambique.
  • the industry has substantial climate change impacts and critical opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through better land management and fibre choices need to be seized, urgently.
  • corporate social responsibility commitments and purchasing policies have continued to proliferate and have helped to drive some specific social and environmental improvements ‘on-the-ground,’ but execution, transparency and progress on many voluntary commitments is lagging.
  • there are significant gaps in data availability globally, between regions, and across topics, and challenges in comparing data due to lack of standardisation.

The State of the Paper Industry series is a comprehensive resource for conservation organisations, decision-makers, researchers, journalists, investors, educators and the industry to track performance, progress and global trends on social and environmental issues. Previous editions were published in 2007 and in 2011, and unlike the 2018 report were primarily focused on North America and the paper industry.