New Zealand has taken a radical step to improve its papermaking sector.
The country’s government announced on Monday it is scrapping a “sustainability target” set to force companies to adopt sustainable practices.
In its place, it is setting a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent over the next five years.
“Our papermaking industry is set to become the third-largest in the world within five years,” Minister for Industrial Relations Bill English said.
Mr English said New Zealand was “looking at” a papermaking model that was “more sustainable and less wasteful”. “
If we are to achieve the 30 per-cent reduction in greenhouse gas that we have set out to achieve by 2020, we need to do more.”
Mr English said New Zealand was “looking at” a papermaking model that was “more sustainable and less wasteful”.
“We will continue to work closely with the industry and industry groups, but will not adopt a sustainability target for this sector.”
The new plan is one of many that have been launched in recent weeks.
It is the latest step in a long process of reform.
A government report released last year called for a “papermaking revolution”.
“This is a great opportunity for New Zealand to make an impact on the papermaking and paper industry,” Mr English told reporters in the capital, Wellington.
“We’re talking about making New Zealand the first industrial nation to set an absolute carbon emission target.”
Mr England said the new papermaker plan was part of a “scoping exercise”.
The plan would see firms adopt sustainable technologies to reduce their emissions, but would also look at ways to cut costs and improve the quality of the paper, he said.
A papermaking machine at a manufacturing site in the town of St Helens, New Zealand.
The Government said it would aim to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
Photo: AP “It will look at the costs of production, packaging and paper, the cost of materials used in the paper production, and the carbon footprint of the product.”
That’s how we will have a clear understanding of the cost effectiveness of different technologies.
“And we will make sure we do all this within a sustainable and cost effective framework.”
I’m hopeful we can get to that 30 per, but I can’t guarantee it.
“The government is also introducing a new “sustainable” carbon levy on papermakers, which would apply to the whole industry.
It would start in 2019 and be gradually phased in over three years.
The levy would be capped at $25,000 per firm, with businesses already paying an extra $200 per year.
This is in addition to a levy on all new businesses.
The plan also calls for a new government-led “paperprinting” competition.
Companies that do not meet the target will have to pay a penalty.
Companies could also face a 30 per per cent cut in their profits if they do not adopt sustainable processes.
“A more sustainable approach would be to focus on the technology needed to produce and pack paper, and encourage the development of a sustainable paper industry model.” “
These new rules are likely to reduce the number of people who can afford to invest in this industry and will not improve the viability of New Zealand as a paper manufacturing destination,” the Australian Paper Industry Association said in a statement.
“A more sustainable approach would be to focus on the technology needed to produce and pack paper, and encourage the development of a sustainable paper industry model.”
The Government’s decision comes a month after it said it was considering introducing a carbon levy.