Koehler Paper’s move toward sustainability

More renewable energy to cut emissions

Koehler Paper's move toward sustainability
Kai Furler, CEO of the Koehler Group

The art of paper-making has been practiced in Greiz for more than 400 years. The paper factory in Greiz has been part of the Koehler Group for over 25 years now. The site, renowned for its innovation, produces novel and sustainable products of the highest standard. For example, Koehler Paper produces silphie-fiber-based paper and cardboard grades in collaboration with OutNature.

As an energy-intensive company, Koehler Group has set itself the goal of producing more renewable energy with its own plants than is required for its paper production by 2030. To safeguard jobs at the Greiz site, there is a specific need to set aside space for systems for generating renewable energy.

Conversion of power plant

In 2021, the Koehler Group announced that it was converting its power plant at the Koehler Paper site in Greiz from pulverized lignite to fine wood fraction fuel. The power plant is expected to be opened in spring 2023. Switching from lignite to fine wood fraction will enable savings of more than 24,000 metric tons of carbon emissions per year at the Greiz site.

Koehler Paper's move toward sustainability
The Koehler Paper site in Greiz. Source: Koehler Group

Koehler is investing around 7.6 million euros in the conversion, which is part of the sustainable strategy being implemented at the site. This will bring Koehler even closer to its objective of company-wide decarbonization. The plan is to reduce scope 1 direct greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2030 in comparison to the levels from the base year 2003.

The Koehler Paper site in Greiz has already made a start towards this with its pilot system. And there are also concrete plans for converting the existing black-coal-fired power plant at the Oberkirch site to biomass by 2024, with the project to cost Koehler over 70 million euros.

Growth of Greiz paper site

The conversion of the power plant is the first step toward increasing sustainability at the Greiz site. Koehler plans to continue investing in the plant in the future, and thereby make a contribution toward sustainable development in Thuringia.

Kai Furler, CEO of the Koehler Group, emphasized: “By converting our power plant in Greiz to biomass, we have clearly demonstrated that we have long-term plans for our location in Thuringia. Now, we need support from politicians to continue pushing ahead with our sustainable approach.” In order for us to keep the Koehler Promise 2030, we also need more facilities for generating sustainable energy at the company’s site. “We need designated areas for turbines and photovoltaic parks to generate energy for our production facility,” continues Furler.

Politicians are enthusiastic about Koehler’s sustainable company policy and climate strategy. On his last visit to the Koehler Paper plant in Greiz during the fall of 2021, Thuringian Premier Bodo Ramelow said the following: “We need companies like Koehler that are committed and courageous. I’m pleased that Koehler has helped to boost Thuringia’s status as a sustainable business location.”  

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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