German pulp and paper production in 2022 down by 6.5% to 21.6 million tons following 'Corona catch-up year' in 2021, but was back to long-term pre-Covid levels; sales up 36.3% to €21.2B on higher product prices due to jump in energy, raw material costs

Sample article from our Transformation & Innovation

March 1, 2023 (press release) –

The German pulp and paper industry showed relative strength in an extremely difficult environment last year.

  • Production back to normal before Corona
  • Sales increased sharply due to energy costs
  • employment stable

The German pulp and paper industry showed relative strength in an extremely difficult environment last year. This is the conclusion drawn by the industry association DIE PAPIERINDUSTRIE in its annual balance sheet. After the Corona catch-up year in 2021, production fell by 6.5 percent to 21.6 million tons, but was back at the long-term pre-crisis level. The number of employees has been maintained. A fair collective bargaining agreement supported jointly by the social partners also contributed to this.

"Many companies had to adjust their production to the quantities of gas that were still being purchased at normal prices and to the reduced demand at the end of the year due to customers building up inventories," explains the President of DIE PAPIERINDUSTRIE, Winfried Schaur, explaining the drop in volume. The increased costs for energy and raw materials have had an impact on product prices. This is reflected in the sales growth of 36.3 percent to 21.2 billion euros. Schaur emphasizes that, despite the difficult situation, the industry is making its contribution to the transformation to a CO 2-neutral production bar. “We continue to work intensively on the paper industry of the future. To do this, however, we also need the appropriate political framework, such as a temporary industrial electricity price, in order to maintain international competitiveness during the transition period.”

Schaur emphasized the importance of energy-intensive industries. They stand at the beginning of important value chains and form the backbone of Germany as an industrial location. Paper, cardboard and cardboard are the basic material for a number of systemically important products such as packaging for medicines and food, hygiene products and media. The German paper industry, with around 46,000 employees, is number 1 in Europe and, with its waste paper usage rate of 79 percent, is an important element of the sustainable circular economy.


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