The Paper Factory in the Year 2030

Paper factory in the year 2030 as an integrated part of a sustainable economy and a supplier of sustainable paper products fulfilling criteria for sustainability at highest possible level.

Short Description





The use of renewable resources for products and energy services is one of today's most important challenges. That is why the pulp and paper industry ("paper industry") as well as the wood industry because of the high need of renewable resources have also in future a very important role.


In this study the consumer's future demand for paper products is estimated and the possible contribution and role of the paper industry to a sustainable supply of paper products is analysed. Based on the current situation of the paper industry a sustainable economic system is analysed to identify most important aspects and opportunities for a sustainable development. Considering ongoing experiences the targets for an adaptation of production processes to sustainability are outlined.


On the basis of the current technological, economic and environmental standard of the paper industry in Austria scenarios are developed, to describe the "paper mill in the year 2030" as an integrated part of a sustainable economy and producer of sustainable products. The aim is to fulfil the criteria for sustainability at the highest possible level.


First, the existing experiences in the field of pulp and paper production related to environmental issues are summarised.

Beside a comprehensive analysis of existing publications about the situation and development of the paper industry, the current market situation was discussed and summarized in a workshop. Indicators for sustainability were defined and their relevance for the "paper mill in the year 2030" was judged in an expert survey. With the most important indicators the standards for the whole production chain of paper products in the year 2030 were analysed. Finally the need of development and adaptation of economic structures were considered. The final results were presented and discussed in a workshop with industry, scientific and market experts.

To use existing experience of the paper industry the project work was accompanied by a core group of the paper industry, in which important results and the further procedure were discussed.


The estimation of future trends used in this project was mainly derived from the expert questionnaire and the two workshops. Data was taken from publications of Austropapier 1991-2001 and supplemented by relevant publications and statistics.


Paper products can be used to meet the consumers' demands in the field of protection/packaging, information/entertaining/reading, writing, cleaning, hygiene, living/building/technology and consumption /enjoyment. The most important socio-economic processes that stimulate the further increase of paper product consumption are economic growth, increase of population, increasing prosperity and living standards.

A sustainable development based on the "three-pillar-model" of the ecologic, economic and social targets is most important for the future competitiveness of paper products with other products. This pillar model includes also the seven principles of sustainable technology development of the Impulse Program "Sustainable Economy" by the Austrian Ministry of Transportation, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). The most important indicators for sustainability related to ecologic targets: waste water and air emissions, energy and water demand, waste production, use of renewable materials and energy as well as the capability of product recycling; related to economic targets: product prices and turnover and related to social targets: user friendliness, product quality, comfort by using paper products, health.

The analysis of the current situation shows that since 1990 the Austrian paper production has increased by about 30%, whereas for the pulp production mainly wood from sustainable managed Austrian forests is used; further that within the last 10 years tremendous improvements were gained in the environmental performance, especially a significant reduction of waste water emissions.

The sustainability of paper products is determined by the sustainability of all processes in the life time of the paper product, from raw material production to the final use or recycling of used paper products. The sustainability of the paper industry in the year 2030 will mainly be determined by the energy demand, the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, value added and the number of employees.

Among all analysed sustainable scenarios the selected "Sustainability-Scenario" shows that in 2030 (compared to 2001) the changed mixture of paper products and the increase in total amount of paper production (+37%) can be achieved with reduced energy demand (-12%) and a significant reduction of fossil fuel CO2 emissions (-31%) together with increased use of renewable energy (+25%). The number of employees could be kept constant (± 0%) because of the high increase of paper production even if the productivity of the employees increases (+30%). Regarding sustainability, tremendous progress is shown compared to the situation in 2001.


According to scenarios, which are based on the technological and environmental performance of the pulp and paper industry at the beginning of the 21st century, the paper industry in the year 2030 as a supplier of sustainable paper products will be an integrated part of a sustainable economy. Generally, Austria has very favourable future conditions for paper production industry in terms of renewable raw material, qualified workers and technicians as well as high potential for turnover. The results of the scenarios indicate that the production of the necessary amounts of paper products is possible under sustainable conditions.

Future efforts should concentrate on reaching the parameters described in the "Sustainability-Scenario" and on the further implementation of sustainability in management strategies within the paper industry with the help of legal measures.

Project Partners

Project manager:
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Gerfried Jungmeier
JOANNEUM RESEARCH, Institut für Energieforschung

Institut für Industrielle Ökologie

Technischer Universität Graz, Institut für Papier-, Zellstoff- und Fasertechnik

ÖZEPA, Österreichische Vereinigung der Zellstoff- und Papierchemiker und -techniker


Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Gerfried Jungmeier
Institut für Energieforschung
Elisabethstraße 5
A 8010 Graz
Tel.: +43 316 876-1313
Fax: +43 316 876-1320