All too often I hear the word “sustainability” used loosely to represent environmental performance. It bothers me because I believe it is important for people to recognize all three elements of sustainability: environmental, social and economic responsibility. At Sappi we constantly strive to balance these issues while juggling near- and long-term business strategies. When projects come together that have benefits across all three aspects, we know we’re on the right track.
Sappi takes a very active approach to social responsi¬bility, driving key initiatives in support of our three key stakeholder groups: our employees, our customers and the local communities in which we operate.
One of the ways in which we improve the lives of people is by promoting freedom of association, nondiscrimination and the abolition of forced and child labor. We also uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sappi Limited has been a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) since 2008. We submit an annual communication on progress that describes our company’s ongoing efforts to support the social and environmental principles of the UNGC. This report can be found at sappi.com under the “Group Sustainability” section.
We have continued to make improvements in reducing solid waste to landfill.
In 2013 our Somerset mill had a breakthrough in optimizing the lime kiln (see p.30) which resulted in less lime mud waste. In addition, reduced solid fuel rates led to less boiler ash being landfilled. Our mill in Cloquet, Minnesota, has developed a beneficial use program with the local agricultural extension program and provides boiler ash and lime mud as a soil amendment to local farmers. These materials help farmers raise the pH of soil, creating better growing conditions for certain crops.
All pulp and paper mills in North America use and treat water in accordance with comprehensive environmental permits.
Our North American mills use only surface water sources (rivers and lakes) and return treated water to the same primary source. (At Cloquet we return the water to a publicly owned treatment facility which then returns to Lake Superior.) Our water return is over 90 percent of intake, creating a minimal water footprint. Water that is “consumed” in our operations is primarily that which is lost through evaporation to the atmosphere. While our water usage was up slightly in 2013, our water quality indicators (BOD and TSS) remained flat or improved as reflected below.
SFPNA has had a major focus on the reduction of fossil fuels and the emissions associated with combustion.
We exceeded an aggressive five-year goal of a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity in just three years. We had the recovery boiler out of service this year at Cloquet due to planned outages for capital improvements. As a result, our greenhouse gas emissions were slightly higher than 2012, but we are still exceeding our goal and well ahead of industry average. We remain well below industry average for SO2 emissions and have continued to make further reductions.
One hundred percent of our fiber is procured in accordance with the SFI® Fiber Sourcing standard as well as the FSC® Controlled Wood standard.
These third-party certification programs provide assurance that wood-based products have been procured from well-managed forests and are legally harvested. In 2013 we converted our pulp mill at the Cloquet facility to manufacture dissolving pulp; as such, we are purchasing more kraft fiber than in prior years to support the papermaking operations at that mill. All of our purchased pulp was certified by one or more standards, which is reflected in higher FSC® fiber numbers as well as higher “triple certified” fiber.
Sappi is respected by customers as a thought leader in industry.
Sappi has long been respected as a leading provider of educational information to the print industry and we are committed to continuing this legacy. We also know that our sustainability performance is an integral element of our brand promise.
Buyers want to know that they are working with reputable suppliers, eliminating risk from their supply chain. In addition to quality products and services, we are delivering peace of mind to pulp and paper buyers.
The classic waste minimization hierarchy revolves around “the three Rs”—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
We fully embrace the concept of waste minimization across the supply chain—from the way we design our products and run our operations to the end of life of products and packaging materials that we deliver to our customers.
The pulp and paper industry is an energy intensive industry.
In terms of total consumption of energy, pulp and paper is third among industrial sectors; only the refining and chemical industries consume more. However, environmental impact is affected not just by the amount of energy, but also by the type of energy consumed. On average, US pulp and paper mills derive nearly two-thirds of energy needs from renewable sources that are considered carbon neutral. Sappi’s mills derive over 80 percent of their energy from renewable resources.
Be sure to check out this new infographic on water use in papermaking.
While access to water is an issue of global concern, it is critical to recognize local, site-specific resources. At Sappi, we derive 100% of our process water from surface sources and return over 90% of it to the same, or nearby, sources. Water is used in all major manufacturing stages and to generate steam for use in processes and on-site power generation. As with all environmental matters, we also understand that our impact extends beyond our mill gates. Herein we present a holistic view of water usage for papermaking.