2010 – A rollercoaster ride for the pulp and paper industry

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2010 – A rollercoaster ride for the pulp and paper industry

December 20, 2010 - 01:36

London, Dec. 20, 2010 (RISI) -2010 has been a momentous year for the pulp and paper industry - in fact it can truly be described as a rollercoaster ride. Our community website this year has been on fire with clicks as our readers have kept up-to-date with all the vigorous activity and the burning issues we have addressed.

And we have seen really quite exceptional activities and events this year, from earthquakes in Chile, to the industry rebounding back from the effects of the financial crisis that has surprised even our own RISI economists. We have also seen unprecedented duties and measures introduced into the US regarding the anti-dumping of coated paper from China which was quickly followed by a similar in Europe, and we have watched as the industry fires up and start some of the greenest technology available in the shape of bioenergy and biofuels projects.

On the environmental front, we have seen a ramping up of activity from the NGOs in relation to deforestation concerns in Indonesia, but equally, and at last, we have seen a few really determined efforts from various pulp and paper companies in Europe and the US in getting the message over about sustainability to the general public.

And it does seem that pulp and papermakers out there are finally coming out from under the bushel and telling their stories. Our RISI events held all around the world this year have seen record attendance, in no small part due to the high profile speakers we have had, eager to tell their stories and impart their own wisdom and experience on what has suddenly become a really hot industry to be part of. We at RISI also held yet another momentous event in 2010, the second PPI Awards celebrating all that is great and good in the global industry. Congratulations to all the winners, and those that made the shortlist!

But as we leave 2010 behind one thing is abundantly clear; we have two completely separate worlds in this industry - the expanding world of Asia and Latin America, and the contracting world of Europe and North America.

Tough, but getting tougher

As we go forward into 2011, it is obvious that growth is going to continue in pulp and paper in the emerging nations, but all is not plain sailing as issues of overcapacity, both in pulp and paper production, come to the fore as big new startups come on stream, especially in China.

The mature regions, which already have their own vast experience of over capacity, have a new set of problems to face, this time through the bounding ahead of new technology, that, like it or not, is going to have an impact on graphic paper demand. The European industry also has the added challenge of "2020" going forward. The target is to have 20% of energy generated by renewables, a 20% increase in energy efficiency and a 20% reduction in carbon emissions. What this means is that companies are going to be penalized if they are not making changes in the way they operate, and the high energy users, particularly those using fossil fuels will find themselves having to pay a "per tonne' tax on their output... as if life wasn't hard enough!

However, all is not bad in the mature regions; bioenergy and biofuels are coming on in leaps and bounds, and 2011 is sure to see the emergence of some more showcase examples of how new and increased revenue can be derived from supplying "green" power to national grids, and biofuels to power vehicles.

One thing all our readers can be sure of in 2011 is that we will continue covering all the important topics in-depth from the world of pulp and paper, so be sure to sign up to our free newsletters and visit RISI.com regularly to make sure you you are getting the information you need.

The top stories from the RISI Community Website over the course of 2010:

Five companies to watch

The Apple Tablet - an obituary for print on paper?

Want to install a new paper machine? First fire the engineers!

ICT - Killing paper off with a greener image?

The RISI top 50 power list 2010

APP responds to Greenpeace report

Papermakers beware: "The Seven Sins of Greenwash"

The PPI Top 100 - Asian tigers pounce

The future of print: "Paper needs to cost less"

Plastics threat to fiber supply on the horizon?