Cascades Sustainability Report: Progress Made on 9 of 18 KPIs
In 2010 the paper manufacturer began developing a multi-year sustainable development plan, in collaboration with several non-governmental organizations, aimed at pushing itself and other companies towards enhanced sustainability planning, measurability and accountability. Cascades and its partners eventually developed 18 specific key performance indicators for 2012 in areas such as reducing energy, re-using papermaking waste and conducting more meetings with key industry leaders and decision makers.
The interim progress report on the sustainable development plan suggests that the company has made progress on nine KPIs: greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the reuse of papermaking waste, increasing recycling, discharge of effluent, employee training, awareness of sustainable development among customers, meetings with decision makers, collaboration with stakeholders and community involvement.
Progress had stalled or regressed on efforts to meet five KPIs: energy consumption, increasing the amount of recycled fibers and certified fibers it uses, the quality of its treated water, return on assets and employee engagement.
There is insufficient data available for four metrics: the commitments of suppliers toward responsible practices, the amount of sustainable innovation, suppliers with a sustainable procurement policy, and increasing the health, safety and well-being index.
The company says it is on track to meet half of its KPI goals by 2012.
From 2010 to 2011 the company’s energy intensity increased around 4.5 percent from 10.9 to 11.4 GJ of purchased energy per metric ton of saleable product. Cascades’ objective for 2012 is to reach 10.44 GJ of purchased energy per metric ton of saleable product. The company’s manufacturing plants completed several projects that allowed them to reduce their absolute energy consumption by 645,404 GJ last year, but slower sales also affected the company’s bottom line, pushing the energy intensity metric higher, the report says.
The company met, a year early, its greenhouse gas emissions target of producing 195.2 kg of CO2 equivalent per metric ton of saleable product. In 2011 Cascades produced 194.5 kg CO2e/MT of product compared with 203.3 in 2010. A number of energy efficiency projects carried out in 2010 played their part in the reduction, but the primary reason for the drop was the sale of a boxboard plant in Connecticut, Cascades says.
From 2010 to 2011 the company’s ratio of waste recovered compared to waste produced increased around 2.5 percent from 63.6 percent to 65.1 percent. Its 2012 target is 67.4 percent. Paper making waste accounts for 98 percent of the residual materials generated by the company’s activities. The progress on this goal is due in large part to the efforts from the Cascades Groupe Carton Plat-Joncquière plant in Canada, which re-used more mixed residual waste in 2011, the report says.
Cascades’ landfilling rate – measured as kg of solid waste sent to landfill per metric ton of saleable product – dropped by just under 24 percent, from 3.59 kg per metric ton in 2010 to 2.74 in 2011. The company attributes the improvement to an increase in the recycling rate of several categories of materials. But, again, decrease in sales year on year impacted the figures.
The company is targeting sourcing 86.3 percent of its fibers from FSC-certified sources or recycled fibers by 2012. Progress on this metric has flatlined year on year, with 83 percent of fibers coming from those sources in 2010 versus 82.9 percent in 2011.
The report describes the company’s objective to increase the use of recycled fibers and certified virgin fibers as “ambitious over such a short period of time.” It also points out that Cascades managed to stay basically static in this metric despite a record increase in the cost of recycled fibers over the course of the year.
Cascades’ discharge of effluent fell from 12.6 to 12.3 cubic metres of water per metric ton of saleable product year-on-year. This represents a drop of almost 2.5 percent. The company is targeting a 6 percent drop by 2012.
Cascades says that its East Angus plant’s transition from kraft pulp production – a process that uses a lot of water – to recycled water-based production had a positive impact on this metric.
In November last year, Cascades released a highly-absorbent paper towel that can be produced using 100 percent recycled fiber and fewer chemicals than other absorbent tissues. The Cascades Elite uses the “Atmos” process originally developed by a Voith Paper research center in Brazil, and based on “Through-Air-Dried,” or TAD, technology. The TAD process yields fluffy and absorbent towels, but uses mostly virgin fiber to do so, Cascades says.
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