Sustainability centre stage at Paperworld Middle East

Posted by Rachel Westall on 14 December 2023

Sustainability takes centre stage at Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East trade fair. Green initiatives are high on the agenda at Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East, which took place in November at Dubai World Trade Centre. From fascinating panel debates around sustainability at the event’s discussion platform, The Hub Forum, to Project Sustainability, a showcase of the most noteworthy eco products from across the exhibition, environmental awareness was at the forefront of the co-located events.

Three ladies in discussion on stage at the Paperworld Forum During the opening day of Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East, a panel of experts from leading paper manufacturers around the world met at the Hub Forum to share their insights on eco-friendly processes and the pivotal role they are playing in reshaping the paper industry.

Moderated by Marat Smirnov from FSC International, the panel included Marcel Mhanna, General Manager of MEPCO; Tomasz Skowronski, Business Area Manager Eastern Europe and Middle East, Avery GmbH, Wojech Zukowski, Sales and Marketing Director, WZ Eurocopert and Naynesh Pasari, CEO Shree Krishna Paper Mills & Industries.

Each company represented in the panel was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); which verifies forests to ensure their environments are responsibly managed and meet the highest environmental standards. Companies that are FSC-certified use paper or wood products made with or containing materials from these woodlands.

Speaking during the panel Skowronski said: "Avery's journey into sustainability started many years ago. We have divided the business into different areas including raw materials, energy, production processes, waste and social responsibility, which collectively work towards shared sustainability goals. In addition, we have made significant investments in green energy and solar panels and are committed to promoting greener fleet management by incorporating hybrid and electric vehicles. As a result of all our efforts, in 2020 our factory in Germany was recognised as being CO2 neutral."

During the panel discussion, the experts unanimously agreed that adopting a circular model is vital to achieving sustainability in the paper industry. Additionally, they noted that the industry's awareness of this approach is increasing. As consumers become more conscious of their choices, they are likely to prefer environmentally responsible options, which will further motivate the industry to adopt sustainable practices. However, they noted it's crucial to have strict legislation against 'greenwashing' to prevent companies from making false claims about their eco-friendly practices.

One of the many companies showcasing its commitment to sustainability at Paperworld Middle East was Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). The company has made sustainability a core pillar of its operations and has been transparently reporting its progress since 2008 through an annual Sustainability Report that aligns with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards.

Sandeep Raina, Export Sales Head, APP said: "Our goal at APP is to secure a prosperous future for our children. We achieve this by creating products and delivering services that cater to every stage of life with utmost care. It is our responsibility to conduct business sustainably so that we can continue to innovate and contribute towards preserving the future."

Sustainability stand at Paperworld Middle East trade fair On day two of Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East, Sudha Bhatia, Academic Advisor at Rochester Institute of Technology was joined on stage at The Hub Forum by Grace Karim, Co-founder of Bookends, a platform for buying and selling used books, which promotes the environmentally-friendly principles of 'reduce, reuse and recycle'. Both speakers highlighted the importance of encouraging sustainable practices in the next generation and making sustainability an engaging and fun part of their education.

Bhatia commented: "To empower youth to move towards sustainability we need to tap into their areas of interest and educate them on how small, daily actions can make a difference. Education isn't just about what is learned in the classroom, schools should look increasingly to take their students to visit environmental projects in their area. Beeah, being one example in the UAE."

Project Sustainability returned to Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East for another year, bringing together a diverse selection of sustainable items from across the two events. Products featured at Project Sustainability include an antibacterial recycled pen from Magic Trading which is made from recycled materials, and the Navigator Eco-Logical paper product which is made from fewer natural resources, whilst guaranteeing a premium quality performance.

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