Of course, anyone with a basic knowledge of science will know that plants and trees are the planet’s best carbon-capture devices. Over a single year, a mature tree will take around 22kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (EEA, 2016), and over the past four decades, the world’s forests have moderated global warming by absorbing around a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities (Government of Canada, 2021).
The key to effective decarbonisation using trees is good forest management, and the paper industry is constantly planting, harvesting and replanting to maintain healthy forests, as well as ensure a steady supply of wood. Since forests sequester most carbon when they the trees are in their growing phase, this process takes even more carbon out of the atmosphere.
And those forests are growing. It’s often quoted, but between 2005 and 2020, European forests grew by 58,390km2 – an area larger than Switzerland and equivalent to 1,500 football pitches of forest growth every day. These European forests act as a major carbon sink, and between 2010 and 2020, the average annual sequestration of carbon in forest biomass reached 155 million tonnes in the European region (Forest Europe, 2020).
Taken with the industry’s use of renewable energy, its impressive recycling record, and ultra-low emissions, paper is one of the planet’s best friends when it comes to carbon capture.