Paper, Forest Products & Packaging

Paper, Forest Products & Packaging

India ranked 13th in total import values for wood and articles of wood trade in 2015. It is the second-largest importer of tropical timber and is also the third-largest consumer, after Indonesia and Brazil. Forestry and logging contributed about 1.83 trillion Indian rupees of agricultural gross value in the fiscal year 2018. The contribution of this is on constant rise since the fiscal year 2013. 

Some of the forest-based Industry in India-

  • Paper 
  • Timber Industry, Sports  
  • Matchsticks 
  • Fuel Wood 
  • Wax Industry
  • Rubber  
  • Fabric And Clothing 

A large section of the Indian population still depends upon forests for their livelihood. Forests fulfil the needs of fuel, fodder, energy, housing, timber, the raw material for artisans and industries and employment. The minor forests products include – fruits, flowers, seeds, grasses, dyeing and tanning agents, natural gums, resins etc. which also contributes to the economy. Even though India is rich in natural resources and forest products, it faces huge scarcity owing to the large population of India.

The Paper forest product & packaging industry in India saw fluctuation in demand throughout the covid-19 pandemic. It had a direct effect on the production and revenue generation of the packaging sector. In the initial stage of the pandemic, people started to stockpile certain products while disregarding the consumption of other products.  

Owning to the prolonged period of economic slowdown, people were unable to buy houses and construction material. The industry has chosen a subtle way to deal with this. It’s amplifying its strength. The outbreak of the virus also offered an opportunity to heed to the sanitation and hygiene sector. The production of sanitary paper and packaging has increased. It also gave a boost to the packaging industry. 

As the world moves towards digitalization, the consumption of paper has significantly declined. Especially as people prefer to read news online, the newspaper industry will need to adapt itself with the readers moving to the digital space. People now prefer to shop on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart. These platforms contribute largely to the packaging industry as it is generating demand growth for transport packaging.

 Moreover, there’s a trend for sustainable packaging as consumers are showing concerns regarding the environment and climate change. Packaging affects every person on the planet. Everyday things that humans need to survive- food, health care, personal care, etc, use packaging. Growth in paper and forest products would be fueled by potential innovations in packaging and supply chain.

What may be less recognized is that lost demand in printed papers is being more than offset by demand from the growing global middle class for other wood-based products. These include tissue, packaging, and textiles, and there’s also a new demand for new high-tech products based on wood.

The rising population there is enormous pressure on forest land for the extraction of forest-based industries and encroachment for extension of agriculture. The rising conflicts between conserving forests for generating ecosystem services and diversion for developmental projects poses one of the biggest challenges in managing the forest resources.

It is also important to understand the dynamic landscape across the paper, forest product and packaging sector. The forestry sector faces various challenges. Some of them are – low productivity, uneconomical utilisation, lack of transport facilities, obsolete methods of lumbering and sawing, lack of commercial forests and lack of scientific techniques. Factors such as climate change and resource scarcity add further burden to the industry. 

The most obvious challenges within the forestry sector are to meet the growing demand for forest products and enhance the quality of the environment.

3 objects framed to deal with the challenges :

  • To assess the status of forests in India 
  • To analyse the trends in production and consumption of forest products 
  • To estimate demand and supply of forest products in future.

Responsible forestry is essential to reduce the adverse environmental, social and economic impacts associated with forest loss. It also helps in ensuring the continuity of the values that forests bring. The industry can thrive if it aligns with the aim of sustainable development.

The forest products industry has a great environmental story to tell. It uses residual waste to produce power beams and other forest products. The paper and forest products top the list of consumer goods that can be recycled and reused. India’s pivotal position in the global forest products market makes it a critical player in influencing better forest management domestically and internationally. The Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) is one of the key programmes that WWF uses to engage with forest-based companies across the globe. It does so to promote sustainable production and sourcing along their supply chains, through the progressive uptake of global best practices like credible certifications like Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), as well as through the promotion of the use of sustainable alternatives like agri-residue and recycled fibres.

While the paper and forest product won’t completely disappear, it is likely to eliminate certain product lines or even a few sub-segment. The coronavirus crisis has led to a sharp decline in demand for certain types of packaging while accelerating growth for others. For example, Packaging for e-commerce shipments that are emerging as lifelines in this new world. Paper, forest products and packaging industry will go under major reformation and restructuring in the upcoming years.