“We need more eucalyptus to be sustainable” – Navigator CEO

Eucalyptus plantations limited following 2017 devastating forest fires

The CEO of Portuguese pulp giant Navigator has called today for an increase in the area for eucalyptus plantations in Portugal “in order to ensure the company’s sustainability”, writes Lusa.

“In order to remain sustainable, we need to have more eucalyptus forests,” said António Redondo, during celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the company’s factory in Cacia, Aveiro.

In his speech, António Redondo said that it is necessary to “demystify what people do not know about the species and condemn it for ignorance”, calling for everyone’s help in this endeavour to “promote a unique species that Portugal can and should be proud of “.

Questioned by Lusa, Redondo did not want to elaborate, but a company source said that there is currently a deficit of forest raw materials such as eucalyptus, pine and cork oak, which in future will have (negative) consequences for the pulp industry.

The expansion of eucalyptus plantations has been seen by environmentalists and some political parties as one of the problems that has contributed to forest fires in Portugal, leading the government to create restrictions on planting or replanting eucalyptus trees.

These restrictions however were never actually seen as very tight.

And now Navigator’s chief executive wants them to be further relaxed.

Add to this «the fact that eucalyptus plantations have been linked to low water levels in  west Algarve dams, exacerbating the issues of drought.

Navigator’s CEO used the moment today however to announce further ambitions: a unit is to start at the Cacia plant in the first half of 2024 for the integrated production of moulded eucalyptus pulp parts for the food industry.

“We will therefore contribute to deplasticisation“, he said, adding that this unit will produce 100 million packages per year to replace plastic packaging in the food service and food packaging market.

Currently, the Cacia industrial complex includes a biomass cogeneration plant associated with the pulp mill and a biomass thermoelectric plant for the production of renewable energy.

According to company data, in 2022 close to 200,000 tonnes of pulp and around 50,000 tonnes of tissue (used in toilet paper, tissues ánd kitchen paper) left this industrial complex for more than 40 countries around the world.

Navigator is the third largest exporter in Portugal and the largest generator of national added value, representing approximately 1% of the national Gross Domestic Product, about 3% of national exports of goods, and more than 30,000, indirect and induced jobs.

In 2022, The Navigator Company had a turnover of €2.465 billion. More than 80% of the group’s products are sold outside Portugal and are destined for approximately 130 countries.

Source material: LUSA

Portugal Resident