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In the "Circular Ability" interview series, the VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association asked its member companies about their plans, solutions and challenges on the road to a circular economy. What can the industry do to minimize the ecological footprint of packaging and other printed products?
Frankfurt-Heidenheim Voith New Business and Research Vice President Dr. Michael Weiss talked about the indispensable climate protection, the technically feasible goals of improving energy and resource efficiency in paper production, and the strict and reliable framework Conditional desire.
By the middle of this century, the leading industrial countries hope to have a climate-neutral economy. In your opinion, is this goal realistic? These goals are not only realistic, but necessary. There are many positive methods and developments to focus on climate neutrality in the economy. Paper makes an important contribution here as a material, for example as an alternative to petroleum-based materials for sustainable packaging solutions, because it is obtained from renewable raw materials and is recyclable. As a leading technology supplier and full-line supplier, Voith supports its global customers in establishing the most sustainable paper production. Based on decades of experience, we have the necessary expertise to develop personalized and goal-oriented solutions for the entire paper production process.
What measures are you taking to minimize the energy requirements for production? Sustainability plays a key role in Voith's strategy. We hope to become a trend leader in the entire industry. As a family business, we are committed to ecological, fair and economic long-term successful business. With the help of new technologies, we continue to optimize the energy and resource efficiency of the production process. We use sustainability reports to make our commitment to sustainable development transparent and measurable. One of our goals is to make all Voith factories carbon neutral by 2022. The ISS ESG rating agency has awarded Voith a B rating in recognition of its commitment to sustainable development. According to more than 100 criteria, Voith's performance in the environmental, social and corporate governance areas is rated above average. This makes Voith one of the three best companies in the world of factory and mechanical engineering.
How can you support your customers to produce energy more efficiently? We provide the most advanced technological solutions to minimize the use of energy, raw materials and water. As a full-line supplier, our goal is to provide the most efficient and sustainable solution on the market: our fully integrated XcelLine paper machine covers all paper grades and is part of it, just like our energy-efficient paper machine. The efficient and market-leading BlueLine stock preparation solution, our service and spare parts portfolio, and our paper 4.0 solution. With the help of the most advanced digitalization and automation technologies, our customers can significantly increase efficiency and productivity throughout the process, while reducing specific carbon dioxide emissions by improving specific energy use, increasing plant availability, and ultimately achieving more sustainable production quantity. In addition to optimizing existing technologies, new disruptive methods are needed to achieve the paper industry’s ambitious carbon dioxide emissions targets. These pioneering methods are also part of our sustainable development strategy and an integral part of our research and development activities.
What role does this theme play in your research and development? Sustainability, especially decarbonization, is the focus of our product and technology portfolio optimization and further development. Innovation plays an important role here-for example, we set new standards through the AquaLine water management concept, which significantly reduces the consumption of fresh water in the papermaking process. In the new research project, we are also cooperating with many partners along the entire value chain of paper production. An example is Modellfabrik Papier gGmbH in Dylan, Germany, where more than 17 industry partners are working together on solutions for carbon neutral paper production. Voith is also a member of many other sustainability initiatives, including the 4evergreen alliance, which has set a goal to increase the recycling rate of fiber-based packaging to more than 90% by 2030. We also set the course for sustainable packaging paper. Our modern pilot coater in Heidenheim. Customers can test various coating variants on the world's most advanced coating technology testing equipment. Test trials provide our customers with higher security for possible future projects.
On the road to climate neutrality, what do you hope to see from legislators? Clear framework conditions and reliable decision-making by politicians and legislators are important. It is important to develop a long-term policy and support the transformation of the industry in a profitable manner. Continue to support the expansion of renewable energy and related necessary infrastructure such as transportation networks and storage systems. In addition, it is also important to promote low carbon dioxide emission production technologies.
Do you have any questions? Lisa Raphaela Grübl, phone 069 6603 1450, [email protected], will be happy to answer them.
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