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Tuscany, the paper tradition
Roma - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - The production of paper in Tuscany is an ancient tradition. It is the most diffused activity in the area extending from Capannori to Lucca, making it the largest industrial paper district in Europe. Here, the making of paper goes back to the 13th century and the first actual paper-mill was founded in the mid 16th century by the printer, Vincenzo Busdraghi. It was taken over by Alessandro Buonvisi, a name that is still well known in the sector today. The papermaking district of Capannori comprises 130 firms with 6,100 employees and 2,375 million euros in annual sales, of which 27 percent are exports, especially to Germany, France, Spain and Eastern Europe. The district produces 900,000 tons of tissue paper annually, which is 70 percent of the national production and 7 percent of the total European production. It also produces 1,000,000 tons of corrugated cardboard, which is 40 percent of the national production and 5 percent of the total European production.
Five hundred years later, vertical integration among the industries in the district is very high. On the one hand there are the large firms that produce tissue paper and the multinationals that produce corrugated cardboard. On the other hand there are several small paper-makers who produce paper for converters and other industrial uses, for food and packaging, and for numerous paper-transformation firms who carry out secondary work in tissue paper products, corrugated cardboard and boxes. In addition, there are those firms that produce machinery and allied products, which have more than 2,000 employees.
This industrial system has decided to launch six main challenges in an effort to consolidate its links with the territory and improve international competitiveness. The first regards infrastructure, whose object is to develop new industrial areas specifically equipped for the papermaking sector on the basis of an effective readjustment and adaptation of the infrastructure system. The second challenge refers to the environment, with the objective of obtaining the ISO 9000 certification of quality and the ISO 14000 environmental certification for all the firms in the area. This is in line with the European Community Directives related to the relationship between industry and environment and sustainable development. The third challenge regards safety: to reduce dangerous situations by training personnel and introducing specific new technologies. The fourth challenge involves the development of new, innovative strategies through the introduction of new technologies and new organizational models in order to increase the competitiveness of the sector. This will be achieved through integration between producers of machinery and operators to convert them in order to increase the primary role of the district in the international reference market. A further strong commitment is devoted to the development of human resources, through the training of personnel, by evaluating the entrepreneurial, managerial and technical-specialist competency patrimony. Finally, particular effort will be aimed at analyzing the market in order to supply the firms with concrete support instruments for making decisions through market research and strategic marketing actions.
A part of this is Miac, the International Papermaking Exposition that has been organized for more than 10 years in Lucca and is devoted to the technological updating of the productive systems of the papermaker and the transformation industries. The 11th edition of Miac was held from October 13 to 15, 2004, to present the more sophisticated machinery and the innovative technological solutions, which require continual updating.
Area: province of Lucca
Production specialization: tissue paper and cardboard
Number of communities: 12
Area: 750 km2
Population: 121,000 inhabitants
Number of firms: 130
Sales: 2,375 million euros