In this article, we are going to list the 15 biggest paper companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 biggest paper companies in the world. You might not think that the creation of paper would be a separate major industry but turns out, the sheer volume is so huge that the industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars globally. In fact, the problem that the world is facing is too much consumption of paper, because as we all know, paper is made from wood and the higher the consumption of paper, the more unsustainable it is for the environment. This is especially true for Asia, which is one of the biggest markets for paper and where paper consumptions is at incredibly high levels, while other areas are at unequal levels.
The reason that paper consumption is so high in Asia is that literacy is increasing as is the population. There is high competition for education in developing economies which have large populations and lax regulations regarding environmental sustainability. And in a world which is experiencing the drastic impacts of climate change, from hottest summers on record to severe weather patterns and storms, being part of an industry which contributes to climate change and yet is doing little to reduce its impact is simply unacceptable. And through better land management as well as correct fiber choices, the paper industry can definitely reduce its greenhouse gases impact and the need to do so has never been more urgent.
The aforementioned lack of regulation of the paper industry also means that there aren’t standard measures across the globe being used as well as lack of data from some regions, which means a uniform global assessment of the industry is an extremely hard task. While the industry leaders are pledging to combine and drive efficiency and sustainability throughout the industry, in many cases, the progress and execution is still lagging which does not bode well for the future of the industry. In 2018, the global consumption of paper was more then 420 million tons and more than half of this consumption is simply accounted for by China, the United States and Japan, and a fourth of the consumption is from Europe. Do you know what that means? That means that for every person in the world on average, 55 kg of paper is consumed. And in North America, this is even higher, with 215 kg of paper consumed per person. And paper isn’t just used for writing; it is one of the most popular materials for packaging, and in fact, some of the biggest paper companies in the world use paper for packaging purposes. One of the top 5 uses of paper is also in newsprint, which is why its really important for the 15 biggest newspapers in the US. And even though consumption is declining in North America, like I mentioned earlier, the same is not true for Asia where its still increasing significantly.
However, no industry in the world has been exempt from the impact of Covid-19, and the paper industry is no exception, and is expected to decline to $869 billion from $897 billion, at a CAGR of -3.1%. Due to the economic decline globally, the usage of paper, especially for packaging which is its primary usage, declined across the globe. However, when things return to normal, the paper industry is expected to grow and reach a value of more than $1,000 billion by 2023.
The biggest paper companies in the world are absolute giants by any terms of comparison, with even the smallest company being worth more than $1 billion and with more than $1 billion of revenue, while the largest companies earn more than $10 billion in revenue from selling paper. To determine our list, we considered companies whose primary business is production of paper, which is why companies such as Procter and Gamble were excluded. These companies were then ranked based on their market cap, revenues, assets, income and employees, with the information being taken from Forbes. Where information was not available on Forbes, we used the annual reports and the financial statements of these companies to ensure the most accurate possible number. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the giants of the paper industry, starting with number 15:
15. Domtar (NYSE:UFS)
Total current market cap of the company (in billions of dollars): 1.81
Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 5.9
Total assets of the company in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 4.3
Total profits of the company in 2019 (in billions of dollars): 605
Total employees of the company in 2019: 10,000
We start off our list with the biggest integrated producer of uncoated free-sheet paper in all of North America.