Sappi Sustainability Report: Certified Fiber Goal Missed
Sappi Fine Paper North America missed its 2012 goal for the proportion of certified fiber it uses but surpassed environmental goals focused on greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of organic waste sent to landfill, according to the company’s latest sustainability report.
The company increased the level of certified fiber use across its operations from 28 percent in 2007 to 51 percent in 2012, against a 60 percent sourcing goal. The company surpassed this goal in 2010, when 61 percent of its fiber came from certified sources. That proportion has dropped both years since.
Part of the reason for the 2012 drop was the company’ agreement to take uncertified wood salvaged after a major wind event in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the report says.
Performance in this metric is measured as a percentage of certified fiber in all of Sappi’s products. The company recognizes fiber from each of the major third-party certification organizations, including the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. Additionally, the company includes fiber sourced from certified professional loggers and the Maine Master Logger program.
Sappi has extended this goal to 2016 and increased the proportion of certified fiber it is aiming to use to 65 percent.
From 2007 to 2012, the paper company reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels by 53 percent against a target of 40 percent, the report says. The lowest levels were in 2010, when Sappi recorded a reduction of 54 percent from 2007 levels.
Sappi measures performance in terms of CO2 per ton of product. This goal includes all manufacturing operations, including direct, or scope 1, emissions from its facilities as well as emissions associated with purchased electricity, or scope 2 emissions. The company says it now enjoys the lowest reported carbon footprint among the domestic coated freesheet suppliers.
The company is now aiming to cut the amount of energy it uses to make each ton of product by 10 percent by 2016, using 2011 as a base line. From 2011 to 2012 the company cut this metric by 2.5 percent.
Currently, less than 20 percent of Sappi’s manufacturing energy comes from fossil fuels. The company is seeking to reduce overall energy usage regardless of whether that comes from purchased electricity, fossil fuel or renewable energy sources.
In 2012 the company reduced the amount of organic waste it sent to landfill by 50 percent over 2007 levels. Similar to Sappi’s efforts with its CO2 emissions, the company’s progress on organic waste peaked in 2010. That year the company reduced the amount of organic waste it was landfilling by 61 percent against 2007 levels, the report shows.
Sappi purposely targeted only the organic portion of its waste streams rather than total waste to landfill for several reasons. First, the organic portion of solid waste is a key measurement of boiler efficiency and fiber losses to the company’s wastewater treatment facilities. Organic content is ultimately the matter that contributes to harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Also, reducing reliance on fossil fuels by switching to biomass and alternative fuels such as construction and demolition wood actually increases the company’s total generation of solid waste through more ash, the report says.
Sappi’s new waste goal is to reduce fiber and papermaking raw material waste by 10 percent by 2016, compared to 2011 levels. The intent of this goal is to drive a more efficient use of raw materials resulting in input cost savings as well as reduced costs and environmental impact associated with waste handling, the report says.
Sappi will measure the metric by tracking the amount of material waste in mill sewers, in both the pulp mill and papermaking areas. In addition to implementing best practices, Sappi also has capital projects planned that it says will contribute to the achievement of this goal.
From 2011 to 2012 Sappi cut its raw material waste in this metric by 1.2 percent.
Laura M. Thompson, director of sustainable development and technical marketing at Sappi Fine Paper North America, writes a regular column for Environmental Leader. Her pieces can be read here.
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