CPI welcomes the Committee on Climate Change 6th Carbon Budget, but highlights concerns over the technical and economic feasibility of some proposals

9 December 2020

As an industry based on a renewable, recyclable and sustainable resource, the UK paper-sector is a key supporter and enabler of the move to an increasingly bio-based and circular economy.  As such, huge strides have already been made in improving energy and material efficiency – efforts that continue.

Since 1990, UK papermaking has:

Reduced its direct fuel-related fossil CO2 emissions by 60%
Reduced its direct plus indirect fuel-related fossil CO2 emissions by 70%
Improved its total energy efficiency by 34%

While the UK Government determination to lead global work to address climate change is commendable, it must be recalled that UK industry operates in an international context, competing with manufacturing sites based outside the UK where operating costs are lower.  If UK-only policies drive up costs for UK-based manufacturing installations, then the inevitable long-term impact will be a loss of domestic manufacturing and a loss of the associated jobs and wealth creation.  Consumption would simply be served from sites outside the UK.  So the only impact of de-industrialising the UK is to drive down domestic emissions, while increasing emissions overseas.        

It’s reassuring to see that the impact of these new policies on trade exposed Energy Intensive Industries is recognised by the Committee on Climate Change and in this new report.  We welcome the acknowledgement that support will be needed through the energy transition (from high-carbon energy sources to low-carbon energy sources) and we look forward to continuing to work with the Committee and BEIS to put in place the policies to support industry. 

We also understand that electrification is central to the proposals and note (again) concern that the UK currently has the highest industrial energy costs in any major western economy.  Putting on one side the technical issues of switching from gas to electricity, this cost issue must be addressed if UK industry can remain competitive.

Andrew Large, CPI Director General, commented:

"One of the lessons of the coronavirus pandemic is the importance of shorter, more local, supply chains for foundation products in ensuring a speedy response to emerging challenges. As the UK decarbonises, there will be increasing demand for foundation materials, and it would be a travesty if these were to be imported to the UK from countries with higher carbon emissions than our own."

The Committee on Climate Change report can be found at: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/sixth-carbon-budget/


For further information please contact:

Andrew Large, CPI Director General, Tel 01793 889601 or email alarge@paper.org.uk 

Editors Notes

  • The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) is the leading trade association representing the UK’s Paper-based Industries, comprising paper and board manufacturers and converters, corrugated packaging producers, makers of soft tissue papers, and collectors of paper for recycling.
  • CPI represents an industry with an aggregate annual turnover of £12 billion, 62,000 employees and which supports a further 100,000 jobs in the wider economy.  

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