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Experts predict a profitable reconstruction of the paper industry

Published 17/03/2014
Declining demand for printing paper, together with a promising future for new climate friendly products, drive a reconstruction of the paper industry. The report, Innventia Global Outlook Papermaking Towards the Future, presents the most important trends and driving forces for tomorrow’s papermaking industry.

Paul Krochak, project manager for the report which was released 17 March
Paul Krochak, project manager for the report which was released 17 March

"In 2030, modern bio-refineries will have become highly profitable and constitute the core of many company clusters. A well organised business structure has developed over time where companies selling bio-based energy, materials, chemicals, and consumer products, work together to drive bio-business. The 'bio-based economy' is finally a reality. These days, bio-based plastics, chemicals and textiles accounted for almost 50% of their respective market shares, and fibre-based materials are used for a wide range of applications. In addition, with the depletion of oil reserves, traditional suppliers of oil-based plastics, chemicals and energy are now turning to the forest for raw materials, and this has made competition for forests more intense than ever."

This future scenario is described in Innventia's new study Papermaking Towards the Future which was released during an event at Innventia on 17 March. The report is a critical analysis of the most important questions for the industry today and in the future. Based on an expert survey with 150 respondents from 21 different countries, interviews, workshops and teamwork, Innventia has identified, together with the analysis company Kairos Future, the key drivers and trends that will be increasingly important as the industry moves towards year 2030.

According to the expert respondents, the greatest challenges for the industry will be a diminishing pool of skilled labour. Another challenge will be a reduced availability of fibre raw material due to increased competition with other bio-based products, which creates a greater demand for new, resource efficient production processes.

With a decline in demand for printing paper, the markets for packaging materials and tissue are consistently growing. According to the survey, the industry is well positioned for a reconstruction into bio-refinering which could produce a wide range of products for the bio-based economy. 42 percent of the respondents predicted biorefining to be the most profitable investment over the coming ten years.

"The reconstruction will bring totally new constellations, business models and market segments. As we could see in our study, the trends highlight a shift from scale to scope of products. A wide range of specialty products will be produced and sold in small quantities but with a high profit margin," says Paul Krochak, the project manager of Papermaking Towards the Future.

Nanotechnology will, according to the experts, generate most attention in research, followed closely by biorefining and niche products. The development of new products involves many new features and the experts were asked what feature of paper would be the most desirable over the next ten years. Environmental and/or health safety gained the highest ranking.

"As many as 34 percent of the respondents considered this feature to be most important. As the global population becomes more educated and more conscious, along with legal regulations and directives, product safety becomes increasingly important," states Marco Lucisano, Senior Manager, Process Solutions.

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Contact

Paul Krochak
+46 8 676 7372
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Marco Lucisano
+46 8 676 7285
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Papermaking towards the future