domingo, 18 de janeiro de 2009

Paper 2.0

Paper Industry is changing towards a "new generation" of paper grades, pulp and paper manufacturing technologies.

It is a fact, the trend of paper consumption in the world is going down. Print volumes went down since 1995 almost 20%, by the use of Internet and other digital media.

Between 1995 and 2020 the worldwide print volumes are expected to decrease by about 30% (1).

This general trend does not tell what is going in the industry and what are the expectations for the future.

Newspaper Publishers have probably experienced the competitiveness of the media industry and the change of consumer habits using much more information available online. However, some publishers presented strong operations like Prisa Group, the owners of El País, the spanish newspaper that has increased circulation the last years. According to Pedro Garcia Guillén, General Manager of El País (2), "the circulation and number of readers has grown last years, in spite of competition from newspapers and Internet". The key factors for this achievement has been the constant redesign of the product. Shorter texts, more photos, more graphics and more colour, lined up the newspaper with the life style of the users, which want easier access to what they want to know but also helping readers understand better what is occuring in the society.

In the vision of Pedro Garcia (3), the pagination will follow the reduction of publicity and the competitive advantage will be the quality and not the quantity, following the trend of potential readers not having time available to read long news or articles.

The paper industry is facing new challenges related with the usage of energy and raw materials. To take an example, Holmen Paper Madrid, already use 100% of recovered paper and in 2010 will use 100% of recovered water.

All industries, not just the Pulp and Paper, are researching and investing in reducing energy consumption with better energy efficient technology and also using biofull and reuse of exhausted gases.

In the perception of Hans-Peter Sollinger, President of Voith Paper there are "three goals that we are working hard to achieve over the next decade:

1. To increase recycling on a worldwide scale from the current 50% to 70%.
2. To reduce electrical energy use by half.
3. To have completely effluent free paper mills all over the world as part of normal operations" (4).

But the key point for the new generation of paper, which I call Paper 2.0, is the intelligent use of forests.

José Luciano Penido, CEO of Votorantim Celulose e Papel (VCP) (5) mention that " at VCP we give plantation growth a high priority and we have a very aggressive planting program underway right now. This year we will plant 72.000 ha, which equates to about 100 million trees, or same as planting 200 trees every minute of a 24 hour a day".

Apart from the forest certification standard that VCP follows, José Penido is also integrating the interests of the local Brasilen communities. "VCP has developed many projects that help the poor farmers in the regions where we have plantations, for instance allowing them to graze their cattle in our forests and providing them with technology and finance to help them become sustainable" (6).

This means that the value of paper is much more then we can consider and see drom it´s specific usage.

In spite of the general perception of consumers, the paper industry is one of the most environmental friendly. In the words of José Honório, CEO of Portucel (7) " you show me an industry that is greener, you wont´t find one".

Paper industry is now commited to pass the message to the masses, that paper is not coming from rainforests and their commitment to environment.

In Spain there is now a campaign (8) that summarises some of these issues:
- for the manufacturing of paper is used forests that are planted for this use and otherwise would not exist.
-these plantations increase the forest area, which in Spain is around 2% of the total forested area.
-trees are great consumers of CO2 and these forests help fight the global climate change. One ton of paper stores 1.3 ton of CO2.
-the forest area is increasing in Spain and in Europe.
"This environmental and eco-friendly business initiatives often have trouble lasting in the market place, if the only promise they provide is sound counciousness (9)". In fact, we are now experiencing initiatives that can result in an exponential communication effect, resulting from new participants in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc., which is now the most "widely accepted forest certification program in the world (10)". With more participants included in this process, there will be a possible network effect, probably equivalent to Metcalfe´s Law, with the value of the network increasing by the square of the users.

The contribution of forest industies for climate change can be as simple as "we can, if there is a coordinated aproach, actually very quickly reverse the greenhouse effect by stopping deforestation and growing 0.8% more trees worldwide then we are growing now" in the words of Leif Brodén, CEO of Sodra (11). The next generation of forest industries are contributing to a healthy environment, probably more then other industries can do.


(1) Digital Printing Directions, Trends & Opportunities, Prof Frank Romano.
(2) Mentioned in, Holme´s Paper Newsletter, March 2008.
(3) Mentioned in, Holme´s Paper Newsletter, March 2008.
(4) Pulp and Paper International, October 2008, page 28.
(5) Mentioned on PPI, October 2008, pg 12.
(6) Mentioned on PPI, October 2008, pg 14.
(7) Mentioned in PPI, May 2008, Pg 3.
(9) PPI, September 2008, pg 56, Applying the network effect, Kenneth Norris.
(10) PPI, September 2008, pg 56, Applying the network effect, Kenneth Norris.
(11) PPI, November 2008, pg 17.

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