A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO ADAPT TO THE NEW ISSUES FACING SOCIETY
In the context of the health crisis, the French govern-ment has increased its support for industrial projects. The paper-making industry has a new-found impetus to put its transformation into practice… accompanied by the CTP!
The year 2020, which has been highly unusual in many ways, has accelerated the major social changes that had been bubbling below the surface for several years. New regulations, such as the EGalim law stemming from the French National Food Conference, the AGEC law to reduce waste and encourage a circular economy, the 3R decree to promote reduction, reuse and recycling in the field of packaging, and the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD), reflect this trend and are driving decision-makers to find alternatives to the marketing of plastic-based single-use products.
Lignocellulosic materials are good candidates, provided that the sector chooses to apply the principles of ecodesign and asks itself the right questions, given, for example, the new consumer habits that are encouraging short supply chains and changing requirements. Which materials? For what perfor-mance levels? To be used for what?
The CTP, buoyed by the results of its Collective Research Pro-gramme (PRC), is providing responses to these new issues and supporting companies in implementing them, either by optimising existing processes or products, or through the transfer of disruptive technologies.
In terms of financing, with implementation of the recovery plan, the government is offering unprecedented investment support to French companies in order to counter the negative effects of the Covid-19 health crisis, which has held back entire swathes of industry. To ensure that industry is a central pillar of the economic recovery, in 2020 the government instigated exceptional resources to support investment and modernisation of French industry. This response, which will continue through 2021 and 2022, will reach a total of approximately 1 billion euros in direct aid, providing a means of supporting ambitious industrial projects.
In practice, various calls for projects have been set up by players such as BPI France or Ademe (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), in both the national and regional arenas. At national level, companies in strategic sectors such as agrifood and health, but also chemicals and materials, are targeted. At regional scale, investments that are likely to be implemented quickly with significant local spin-offs concern all sectors. The challenges are to support and create jobs, build economic resilience, enhance competitiveness, contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy, and foster solidarity. Eligible projects must involve a minimum investment of 200,000 euros.
Several paper-making sites have already benefited from support through the recovery plan to develop their production facilities and improve their economic and environmental performance. In the area of decarbonising industrial sites, several schemes were opened in 2020 to companies of all sizes with a view to encouraging the use of industrial processes that are more energy-efficient and emit fewer greenhouse gases. These schemes include “tailor-made” investment support for complex energy efficiency projects representing an investment of more.