Packaging & Speciality Papers

Does paper have a negative impact on our environment?

Myths and facts – dispelling common prejudices about paper and cardboard.

Our day-to-day work at Sappi consists of using the renewable resource wood to manufacture things that provide sustainable, efficient solutions. We create innovative and sustainable packaging material made from renewable resources. As one of the world’s leading producers of paper and wood fiber products, we’re sometimes confronted with popular prejudices against paper production. For example, we hear the argument from time to time that paper is bad for the environment. The globally active organization Two Sides probed this myth. The truth is sure to surprise you!

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Paper is bad for the environment.



Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products.


Paper is based on wood, a natural and renewable raw material. When trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Forests thus play an important role in fighting climate change.

Europe’s forests store nearly 80 billion tons of carbon in their biomass, and this figure is steadily growing. For example, the carbon content in the forest biomass has increased by some three billion tons since 1990. This means that the forests in Europe absorb around 7% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: EEA, The European Environment – State and Outlook, 2015). Accordingly, it is critical that we deal responsibly with the forest, or wood, as a commodity. The paper industry has taken on this task.


Certifications for sustainable forestry

The paper industry has a range of recognized certification systems in place to ensure that the wood used for paper production is derived from sustainable forestry. The two most important certifications are those from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™). Sappi offers both of these certifications


Facts on the sustainability of paper:

  • Paper is produced from wood, a truly renewable and sustainable resource
  • Forest certifications guarantee that wood comes from well-managed forests
  • Responsible wood, wood pulp and paper production ensure healthy forests
  • In 2013, 74.7% of wood pulp deliveries to paper and cardboard mills in Europe were certified through independent forest certification systems. This percentage has also been rising for years