Sappi North America's 2016 Sustainability Goals: Preserving our Planet

Jul 5, 2017 5:00 PM ET
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At Sappi North America, we are committed to operating our businesses in a sustainable manner. Together with the 2020Vision, Sappi’s global growth strategy, we use our sustainability goals program to set targets, initiate improvement actions and monitor progress.

Achieve 60 Percent Total Certified Fiber Content¹

One hundred percent of our wood fiber is sourced from well-managed forests in accordance with the SFI® Certified Sourcing standard as well as the FSC® Controlled Wood standard. Building on the strong legal framework within the US, these standards offer additional assurances that there are no controversial sources in our wood basket.

We established a goal of 60 percent certified fiber. In 2014 we were purchasing the bulk of our kraft fiber for the Cloquet paper mill and achieved 66 percent, our highest level of certified fiber ever. Our performance against this goal is measured as percentage of certified forest fiber (from both the pulp we produce and that which we buy) in all our products across all three manufacturing sites and four business units. Our production strategy changed in 2015 due to market dynamics, and we produced more kraft pulp for our papermaking operations. As a result we achieved 54 percent certified fiber content in 2016, which has proven to be sufficient for meeting current customer demands. We continue to support and recognize the efforts of multiple, third-party certification programs, including the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). We are also working to support a collaborative effort between the Sustainable Packaging Coaltion and the American Forest Foundation to develop a landscape level assurance model focusing on small familyowned forests in the US. 

Reduce the Total Amount of Energy Expended in Making Each Ton of Product by Five Percent

Energy is an ongoing topic of concern globally, and is extremely important to Sappi and our stakeholder groups. The use of fossil fuels is linked to climate change and is a major cost driver in the wood products industry. We set a goal to reduce energy intensity by five percent in support of the global goal. Over 80 percent of the fuels we use to generate steam and power are renewable fuels. We continue to utilize over 70 percent renewable fuels to supply our internal energy needs, with the difference going to the sale of renewable energy credits (RECs) into the REC marketplace. Only a small fraction of our total energy needs is derived from electricity purchased from local power grids. In 2016, we achieved a 3.9 percent reduction in energy intensity as compared to the baseline, exceeding our target for this year. This performance was based on a combination of realizing benefits from some recent capital and process improvement projects and milder winter weather reducing heating costs for our northern US-based manufacturing facilities. A 2016 paper machine hood heat recovery project at Somerset is exceeding performance expectations and was selected by AF&PA for recognition with a Sustainability Award. Better control of the causticizing area at Somerset has led to more stable lime kiln operations and a reduction in fuel usage in the kiln. We remain committed to overall energy reduction and improving process efficiencies. Note: In accordance with industry standard methodology for tracking this goal, energy from purchased electricity is calculated in terms of fuel inputs to account for efficiency losses incurred in generating and transmitting power.

Reduce Raw Material Waste in Our Pulp and Paper Mills

Efficient use of raw materials brings multiple benefits in the form of front-end cost savings, reduced environmental impact and reduced costs associated with waste processing. Compared to a 2014 baseline, we track progress against separate goals for the pulping and papermaking process areas in order to better focus data collection and improvement plans for these complex systems. In our pulp mills we are targeting a 10 percent reduction in losses, whereas for the paper mills we established a five percent reduction goal. The lower target for the paper mill reduction efforts was a reflection of progress already achieved over the prior target established in 2011. Process losses are made up of fiber as well as pigments used as fillers in the base paper and coatings. We track these losses by measuring the amount of material in both pulp and paper mill process sewers before these streams enter our on-site treatment plants.

2014 was our best year ever recorded for paper mill losses. Our 2015 performance was negatively impacted as compared to 2014 by paper machine curtailment at both Somerset and Cloquet. This year we achieved outstanding results, overcoming the setback in 2015, and are now exceeding our overall five-year target ahead of schedule with a 5.8 percent reduction over baseline.

In 2015 we made significant reductions in the pulp mill losses compared to the 2014 baseline. This year the mills have reduced losses even further, achieving a total reduction of 13 percent over the baseline. We remain committed to sustaining these achievements as we continue to manage production of our different pulp products. 

Read more from Sappi North America's 2016 Sustainability Report here: http://bit.ly/SNA-2016SR

1 2015 and 2016 reflect minor corrections to earlier reports of less than .5%