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Pulp & Paper: WWF issues report card on industry's footprint

April 3, 2016   Don Horne




Canada’s pulp and paper producers know full well that third-party evaluation of a company’s environmental stewardship can be a two-edged sword. However, one such report card on the pulp and paper industry worth considering is the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Environmental Paper Company Index (EPCI). It not only has value as a barometer on the environmental footprint left by some of the world’s leading graphic paper, newsprint, packaging and pulp producers, but also comes from a more trusted source.

The WWF, headquartered in Gland, Switzerland, released its EPCI at the end of 2015, delivering its take on how well some of the world’s leading pulp and paper producers — including seven participants from Canada’s pulp and paper sector — are doing on a variety of environmental fronts. It produces the index every two years. Historically, WWF has shown itself as a rather level-headed environmental activist organization related to its contact with Canada’s forest industry.

Sometimes, it has disassociated itself from other environmental activist organizations in an effort to find common ground with individual forest companies and the industry as a whole to address specific issues of environmental concern. So there is a higher trust factor in programs managed by WWF. While the industry may not always come out smelling like a rose, it can be confident it will at least be treated and evaluated fairly by participating in WWF’s initiatives.

For example, in its review of all the information collected as part of the EPCI 2015 reporting process, WWF found the product category in most need for improvement is pulp, which tended to show generally lower scores than other products. On the other hand, the benchmark being established by the WWF also showed companies are taking their report cards seriously, as some product categories were able to increase their overall score by 90 per cent over how well they scored in EPCI 2013. Participation in this evaluation is voluntary.

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“Of the 80 major manufacturers invited to the EPCI 2015, 31 participated, some already for the fourth time,” says Emmanuelle Neyroumande, pulp and paper manager at WWF International. The 31 companies that participated in EPCI 2015, up from 25 in 2013, disclosed the ecological footprint of 85 million tonnes of pulp and paper, representing 30 per cent of the world’s tissue, 28 per cent of the world’s graphic paper, 16 per cent of the world’s newsprint, seven per cent of the world’s packaging and 15 per cent of the world’s pulp. Among the Canadian participants were Canfor Pulp, Cascades, Catalyst, Domtar, Kimberly Clark, Resolute Forest Products and Rolland Enterprises Inc. “Canfor Pulp is excited to work with WWF to support improvements in our sustainable enterprise,” says Bill Adams, director of sustainability at Canfor Pulp.

“Canfor Pulp believes that providing comprehensive environmental information in a transparent approach will support our continuous improvement to more value with less impact.” Catalyst, meanwhile, has partnered with WWF to help improve its performance for a number of years. “Catalyst began working with WWF in 2003 on the clean production initiative that focused on characterizing and reducing emissions, improving resource use and reducing harmful chemicals at our paper facilities,” says vice-president of corporate social responsibility Graham Kissack.

“Since that time, we have gone on to become members of WWF’s Climate Savers program, as well as participating in local WWF community sustainability initiatives.” Companies were evaluated by WWF in three areas: impact on forest ecosystems from fibre sourcing; emissions from manufacturing processes such as water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; and, reporting and environmental management system (EMS).

How did individual Canadian companies fair? Canfor Pulp, evaluated on 1.2 million tonnes of pulp production from three mills, scored 41 per cent on responsible fibre sourcing, 38 per cent on clean manufacturing and 70 per cent on reporting and EMS, for an overall combined score of 48.4 per cent.

Cascades, evaluated on 1.17 million tonnes of packaging production from six mills, scored 91 per cent on responsible fibre sourcing, 54 per cent on clean manufacturing and 23 per cent on reporting and EMS, for an overall combined score of 57.6 per cent.

Catalyst, evaluated on 1.52 million tonnes of graphic paper production from four mills, scored 56 per cent on responsible fibre sourcing, 54 per cent on clean manufacturing and 46 per cent on reporting and EMS, for an overall combined score of 52.1 per cent.

Domtar, evaluated on 4.8 million tonnes of pulp and graphic paper production from 13 mills, scored 61 per cent on responsible fibre sourcing, 33 per cent on clean manufacturing and 66 per cent on reporting and EMS, for an overall combined score of 52.8 per cent.

Kimberly Clark, evaluated on 4.9 million tonnes of tissue production from 81 mills, scored 76 per cent on responsible fibre sourcing, 50 per cent on clean manufacturing and 44 per cent on reporting and EMS, for an overall combined score of 56.9 per cent.

Resolute Forest Products, evaluated on 1.6 million tonnes of graphic paper production at seven mills, scored 62 per cent on responsible fibre sourcing, 63 per cent on clean manufacturing and 62 per cent on reporting and EMS, for an overall combined score of 62.5 per cent.

Rolland Enterprises Inc., evaluated on 115,000 tonnes of graphic paper production at one mill, scored 100 per cent on responsible fibre sourcing, 66 per cent on clean manufacturing and 27 per cent on reporting and EMS, for an overall combined score of 67.7 per cent.

While 36 companies contacted by WWF did not respond or indicated that they did not want to participate, 10 companies contacted indicated they would consider participating in 2017 when the next EPCI evaluation takes place. About the author:

Tony Kryzanowski writes about forestry, alternative energy, and natural sciences for a variety of national and international publications, and is headquartered in St. Albert, Alta.


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