The Economic Story

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With trees and recyclable paper as our sector’s primary raw materials, the forest, pulp and paper sector generates billions in economic growth, sustains local economies, conserves and protects the environment on which it depends and enhances communities in the areas in which it operates.

Contributing R28 billion value-add to the economy annually and employing around 150,000 people, our forest products sector is built on the country’s 1.3 million hectares of commercial plantations which have been awarded the highest level of international certification in the world. Of these 1.3 million hectares, 600 million trees are planted over 762,000 hectares for use in pulp and papermaking.

Roads, schools, hospitals, clinics are all developed in remote rural areas when trees are planted and pulp and paper produced.

The efforts of PAMSA and PRASA, along with those of our members at a company, regional and mill level, have positioned the South African pulp, paper and paperboard sector as one that is conscious of its role in the economy, the environment and society as a whole.

Paper is not just about printers and pencils; it is also about packaging and tissue which are certainly the grades to watch, along with dissolving wood pulp and innovative cellulose-based composites that are set to replace if not rival non-renewable materials.

PAMSA supports the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Code of Good Practice and its key drivers of ownership, management control, employment equity, skills development, preferential procurement, enterprise development and socio-economic development. The industry’s massive employee and supplier base provides much opportunity to make a sustainable difference in these spheres. PAMSA was party to the signing of the BBBEE Forest Sector Charter on 22 May 2008, and supports the Forest Sector Charter Council both financially and by serving on the body.

Photo: Mpact
Photo: Mpact

Recycling as an economic lifeline

The collection and on-selling of recyclable materials is a sustainable way of generating income while diverting waste from landfill. Funded by the FP&M SETA, the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa offers a four-day entrepreneurship training course to previously disadvantaged individuals, unemployed people, the disabled as well as anyone wishing to start a business in the recovery of recyclables, especially in rural areas. The course is offered free of charge to participants and to date has inspired more than 5,000 potential entrepreneurs – from elevating their status as waste collectors to seeing themselves as owners of small or micro businesses.