In 1997, the Japan Paper Association (JPA), an organization representing Japan's leading pulp and paper manufacturing companies and covering 88 percent of paper and paperboard production, established a Voluntary Action Plan in order to reduce the industry's environmental footprint.
Source: The Japan Paper Association
The two main objectives in this program were to reduce fossil fuel consumption per unit of production by 10 percent from 1990 levels and increase forest plantation area by 550,000 hectares by 2010. To help meet these targets, the industry started promoting energy-efficient equipment and the use of biomass, recycled waste for fuel (specifically tire waste), and the use of natural gas to power mills.
In 2004, the JPA amended the plan by slightly increasing its goals and introducing a CO2 emissions reduction target. An internal analysis of the reductions showed that by 2005, fossil fuel use had decreased by 13.5 percent, total energy use by 4.7 percent, and CO2 by 9.2 percent below 1990 levels. These improvements are explained mainly by the increase in biomass usage, which reduced fossil fuel consumption and associated carbon emissions.