Pulp and Paper
As one of the largest industrial sectors in the world, the pulp and paper industry has an important impact on global forests.

The production of pulp, paper and packaging reached 405 million tons in 2019 (FAO stats 2019), approximately 13-15 percent of total wood consumption. As the overall demand for paper products is increasing, global production could double by 2050. The sector produces 6 percent of global energy per year and is the fourth largest industry when it comes to energy consumption. At the same time, paper production requires a significant amount of water, depending on the efficiency of the mill, and uses more water than other industries such as steel and petrol.

Unsustainable paper production and consumption contributes to deforestation and natural ecosystem degradation in some of the world’s most ecologically important places such as Indonesia and Greater Mekong, and to a lesser extent Latin America. It can also exacerbate social conflicts, as non-responsible practices are still widespread in several countries.

What could happen if the majority of the sector continues to go for “business as usual"?

  • Increasing demand for pulp, paper, and packaging spurs the demand for virgin fibers and will increase the need to harvest trees and to establish new plantations. If forests and plantations are not managed sustainably, this will put higher pressure on our global forests

  • Conversion of natural ecosystem and land use for tree plantations, with the production of  pulp, paper and packaging being a main driver of deforestation in several deforestation fronts.

  • Unsustainable management of tree plantations coupled with certification fatigue

  • Increased social impacts (land tenure rights, land-use conflicts, land claims) due to land use management that does not follow adequate social safeguards.

 The production of pulp, paper and packaging has undeniable benefits like economic development, improvement in infrastructure, jobs generation which should not be ignored. But its production must be sustainable and shift to a low impact production and consumption model that integrates responsible management of plantations and other natural and semi-natural productive forests, pulp and paper processing, conservation, restoration, and leads to improved livelihoods.

What WWF is doing

Responsible pulp, paper, and packaging operations can bring many benefits to forests, local economies and people, particularly in rural areas. 

WWF aims to ensure that the sector is no longer driving global deforestation nor biodiversity loss, that it protects and restores natural ecosystems, invests in sustainable forest landscapes, contributes to local economic and social development, and takes action that shift supply chains and markets  towards sustainability. 

Through its impact-focused programme Forests Forward, WWF engages companies that are willing to source responsibly and drive positive change for the environment and people.

Together with other NGOs, WWF is also closely monitoring the paper industry to ensure that the sector is overall improving its performance.

11 May 2020

WWF strongly recommends that companies and financial investors end their business relationships ...

15 Mar 2019

In 2013, Sinar Mas Group’s Asia Pulp & Paper (SMG/APP) committed to halt deforestation under its ...

07 Sep 2018

WWF recommends that companies and financial investors avoid doing business with SMG/APP and its ...

17 Aug 2018

New report: APP and APRIL violate zero-deforestation policies with wood purchases from Djarum Group ...

07 Feb 2018

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of APP’s Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), ten NGOs, among ...

19 Jan 2017

NGOs urge APP to stop using drained peatlands for pulpwood plantations.

12 Dec 2016

WWF and local NGOs in the Eyes on the Forest coalition are continuing to monitor RGE's operations.

20 Apr 2016

New report: APP is putting forest and carbon-rich peatlands at risk with new pulp mill.

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