Pulp and paper is a key industry in the world, and paper products are among the major export commodities in many countries. North America, Asia, and Europe account for most of the world’s paper and pulp. China has the world’s largest paper, and pulp production after its production exceeded that of the United States which had held top position for many years. Other leading paper and pulp producers in the world are Germany, Japan, Finland, and Canada.
The Top Pulp and Paper Producing Countries in the World
Asia is a top paper and pulp producing region in the world. Asian countries have some of the largest paper production of any country in the world, and four of them are among the world’s top-ten paper producers. China has an annual paper and pulp production of 99.3 million tons, the highest of any country in the world. Paper consumption in China is also one of the world’s highest, reaching more than 85 million tons in 2009. Another top paper and pulp producing country in Asia is Japan which has the third largest paper and pulp production in the world, estimated to be over 26.627 million tons each year. The largest paper producing company in Japan is Oji Paper.
Europe is a major paper and pulp producing region in the world, and European paper and pulp production are equivalent to 25% of the global production. The total paper and board production in Europe is estimated to be over 90 million tons while pulp production is estimated to be about 36 million tons each year. Paper production in Europe is concentrated in the northern European countries including Finland, Russia, and Sweden. Germany is the top paper producer in Europe, with the country producing an estimated 22.698 million tons each year. Sweden has the largest pulp production of any country in Europe. The total paper and pulp production in Sweden is estimated to be 11.289 million tons. Finland is home to Europe’s top two largest paper and paper-products companies which are Stora Enso and UPM. Finland is also a top paper and pulp producing country, with an annual production of 11.329 million tons.
North America is another major pulp and paper producing region. The United States and Canada are biggest paper producers in the western hemisphere and are among the top-five top paper-producing countries in the world. The United States is the second-largest paper producing country in the world and has an annual paper and pulp production of 75.083 million tons. The US is also one of the largest paper consumers in the world. The domestic consumption of paper in the US was estimated to be 97.3 million tons in 2002. Despite the huge paper consumption in the US, the country is also an exporter of paper and pulp and the US exported $7.809 billion worth of paper and pulp in 2002. Canada is the fifth largest paper and pulp producer in the world. The annual paper and pulp production in Canada is about $12.112 billion. Canada is endowed with vast forests which make it an ideal paper producing country. Canada’s paper and pulp industries are concentrated in Quebec and Ontario. Domtar Inc., whose annual net sales of paper products are about $5.482 billion, is the largest paper producing company in Canada.
Criticism of the Industry
The pulp and paper industry has received much criticism from all over the world particularly from environmentalist groups. Lumber harvesting for the paper industry has been linked to the increased deforestation in the world’s forests.