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European paper industry - statistics & facts

The paper and pulp industry is one of the largest industrial sectors in the world and remains important even in the digital age. Europe plays a key role within the global paper industry, accounting for a quarter of annual paper and paperboard produced worldwide, and almost half the global value of paper exports.
Approximately 91 percent of the European paper and pulp produced each year is attributable to the 18 national associations represented by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi). That year there were 886 pulp and paper and board mills in operation across Cepi member countries, employing more than 170,000 people. In 2021, European paper industry revenue grew by 16 percent year-over-year to 95 billion euros.

European paper industry performance

European paper and board production increased 6.1 percent in 2021, compared with 2020, to 90.5 million metric tons, while paper and board consumption increased six percent to 75.2 million metric tons. In 2020, COVID-19-related restrictions and a slowing European economy caused both paper production and consumption to fall five percent. Packaging paper and board production continued to grow in 2021 and reached a high of 53.5 million metric tons, with case materials accounting for almost 60 percent of this total. The rise in demand for paper packaging has been boosted by e-commerce, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19. Meanwhile, graphics paper production increased for the first time in several years to 25 million metric tons. Nevertheless, this figure was still almost 30 percent lower than it was in 2015, with digitization continuing to reduce graphics paper demand.

European paper manufacturers

Many of the world's biggest paper companies are headquartered in Europe, with several key players based in Scandinavia. These include Sweden-based Svenska Cellulosa, as well as Finnish forestry and paper giants UPM Kymmene and Stora Enso, the latter of which was leading paper company in Europe in 2021 based on revenue. Stora Enso's packaging materials segment accounted for almost 40 percent of the company’s sales that year, at almost four billion euros. Outside of Scandinavia, other major players in the European paper industry include Ireland’s Smurfit Kappa and UK-based DS Smith.

Impacts of Russia-Ukraine war on Europe’s paper industry

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war is also set to have major implications on Europe’s paper and pulp industry. While trade with both Ukraine and Russia is expected to slow, soaring energy prices will also be of concern for the energy-intensive paper industry, with several countries heavily dependent on Russian natural gas.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "Paper industry in Europe".


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