Calling upon people to use more paper and encourage reading, a senior ITC executive has said the paper and pulp industry is environment-friendly.

At the recent CII Energy Summit here, Sanjay Singh, Chief Executive, ITC Paperboards and Speciality Papers Division, said: “The perception that the paper industry pollutes the environment, encourages deforestation, and guzzles water and energy is incorrect.”

For every tree that the industry cuts, “we ensure three others are grown, through social forestry,” he said. “There may be no steel, no copper or even lithium, say, 200 years from now, but the paper industry will survive, as it is sustainable.”

His message: “Paper is recyclable; please use it, but do not waste it.”

Singh said the country does not have a large paper mill. Most of the pulp and paper mills are small-and-medium-sized companies, and a lot of work has been done in the area of energy and water conservation in the sector. “When I joined the paper industry 30 years ago, the mills used to consumer about 200 cubic metres of water for every tonne of paper. Today that’s down to 30-32 cubic metres,” he said. The recycled water is used for farming and social forestry, he added.

Green cover

As a leading corporate, ITC plays an active role in rejuvenation of the green cover. “We have partnered with the National Highway Authority of India to plant trees along highways and are keen to work with the Indian Railways to plant trees alongside rail lines,” Singh said.

“In Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana we are working with temple authorities to plant trees on lands that they own,” he said.

“Encourage children to use more paper, and read books. This will increase use of paper and in turn do good to the sector. We are keen to change the perception about the industry.”