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Mohawk Paper Focuses on Energy Efficiency, Offsets

Mohawk Fine Papers began adopting environmental practices focused on energy efficiency in the early 1990s initially as a way to reduce costs, reports Timesunion.com. Since then it has morphed into a commitment to continuously cut its energy use, offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and develop eco-friendly products.

Mohawk Paper now invests about $400,000 annually — taken from the $750,000 it saves in reduced annual energy costs when it switched its oil-fired boilers to natural gas models to run the factory — to offset GHG emissions from purchased electricity and its gas boilers.

The three-story factory, which produces about 100,000 tons of paper a year, accounts for a lot of emissions and power. Michelle Carpenter, Mohawk’s manager for environmental initiatives told Timesunion.com the company decided to take responsibility for these impacts and covers 99.5 percent of its emissions profile.

Since 2003, the plant has purchased Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), which fund wind power projects, to offset the power consumed at the mill, reports Timesunion.com.

Mohawk earned the EPA’s Green Power Partner of the Year award in 2009 thanks to its adoption of renewable energy. The company started offsetting its annual electricity consumption in 2007.

In addition, Mohawk Fine Papers claims to offer the world’s most comprehensive line of recycled and environmentally preferable papers made with renewable energy and post-consumer fiber.

Combined, these strategies have directly impacted the company’s bottom line.

Mohawk CEO Tom O’Connor said in the article: “We have seen a tremendous economic benefit from this. The sales of several grades of our wind power-certified paper just skyrocketed. We were stunned, frankly. One of the grades doubled in just a year. There are a lot of customers who like this certification. It is good for their marketing.”

Mohawk also has been buying Voluntary Emissions Reduction Credits, or VERs, since 2007, which reflect projects designed to reduce GHG emissions anywhere in the world. Credits are sold on the voluntary market, and include programs like The Gold Standard, Green-e Climate Standard, Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Clean Development Mechanism, reports Timesunion.

Citing its disapproval with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s position on climate change, Mohawk also dropped its membership from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, joining several other companies including Apple, who left the Chamber over its climate change views. George Milner, Mohawk’s vice president for environmental affairs, said it hurt the company’s credibility as an advocate for environmental protection.

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