The trends affecting our industry

The packaging solutions of the future need to be climate-smart along the whole value chain – from raw material extraction to recycling. As we continue working towards our mission, we are in no doubt that wider society’s focus on sustainability boosts our competitiveness.


Several global trends are having an impact on the paper and packaging industry, particularly demographics which are increasing the demand for packaging, and the sustainability focus that is generating a shift away from plastics to paper products. Billerud has identified five key trends affecting our industry and offering opportunities for growth.

Five key factors globally

1. A need for higher sustainability
and circularity

Higher demands for sustainability are driving the transition towards a carbon neutral society and a circular economy. Initiatives such as the EU goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030 and a global commitment to replace plastic, have made our fiber-based, renewable and recyclable products increasingly attractive. Paperboard packaging is expected to grow more than plastic, glass and metal packaging as many consumers show a preference for fossil-free alternatives.

Billerud can supply customers with sustainable products, certifications and the environmental data they require to meet increasingly stringent environmental targets.

2. Urbanisation is increasing demand for
packaged goods

The urbanisation trend continues with a growing proportion of the world’s population moving from rural areas into cities. With urbanization comes greater demand for stay-fresh food and drinks packaging. A growing middle-class, especially in emerging markets, has the means to spend more on products with attractive packaging.

Billerud is in an ideal position to capture opportunities related to this trend with our premium packaging offering that is not only attractive and effective, but also renewable and recyclable to minimize climate impact.

3. Digitalisation and e-commerce
offer opportunities

Digitalisation is affecting our industry in multiple ways. New applications provide opportunities for increased automation of systems and new ways of working and engaging in customer relationships.

Billerud is harmonising and digitalising its processes to make customer purchases more efficient. The general growth in e-commerce has boosted demand for packaging that is durable, easy to use and attractive. The unboxing trend, popular among influencers, has become important for many brands and requires high quality premium cartonboard. QR codes and the Internet of Things are making it possible to design more interactive and innovative packaging, which adds value to primary packaging.

4. Increased focus on health and safety

There is a greater focus on health and safety today that was further fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has also raised consumer awareness over issues such as a safe and sustainable food supply. Proper packaging serves many important health and safety functions including to protect, ensure long shelf life, and prevent food waste. Packaging for food, beverages and pharmaceuticals must be designed for hygienic handling and the packaging itself must be taint-free and not affect the packaged contents.

Billerud uses only fresh fibre, which is highly suitable for such applications.

5. Forest as a valuable resource

The forest is a valuable resource not only for the fresh fibre used in paper and packaging, but for many other products, such as wood for construction or furniture. The forest is also a resource for biodiversity and carbon absorbtion. As the need for forest resources increases, it is important to use this valuable resource as wisely and efficiently as possible and continue to promote recycling and reuse. The cascading principle, described in the recent EU Forest Strategy for 2030 document, aims to achieve this.

Billerud’s products contribute to the recycling process and we only source from sustainably managed forests. This will help ensure the constant regeneration of forests and supply.




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