AF&PA Honors Member Company Sustainability Efforts
by Donna Harman
President and CEO
American Forest & Paper Association
Five member companies were recognized for their commitment to sustainability
through the 2013 AF&PA Sustainability Awards at AF&PA’s annual meeting. The
awards are part of the paper and wood products manufacturing industry’s
sustainability initiative, Better Practices, Better Planet 2020, and are an annual
recognition of exemplary industry sustainability programs and initiatives.
AF&PA sustainability award applicants are considered in two categories – “Innovation in Sustainability” and “Leadership in Sustainability.” The five “Leadership” subcategories – Paper Recovery for Recycling, Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction, Sustainable Forest Management, Safety, and Water – correspond with and support progress toward the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals. The “Innovation” award category recognizes projects that merit recognition for their contribution to sustainable business practices, but that do not specifically address one of the sustainability goals.
KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation’s Longview Mill received a “Leadership in Sustainability” Greenhouse Gas Reduction/Energy Efficiency award for the “One-Year Snapshot of Longview’s Multi-Year Journey” project. The mill embarked on a multi-million dollar improvement project that spanned three years, contributing to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 72 percent over the last decade; reduction of overall energy use by 37 percent since 2007; reduction of overall energy used per ton of paper produced by 17.6 percent since 2007; and an increase of total tons of paper produced by 50 percent since 2006.
RockTenn was awarded a “Leadership in Sustainability” Paper Recovery for Recycling award for the “RockTenn and Customer Recycling and Waste Reduction Initiative” project. RockTenn partnered with a national customer to educate the company’s team members about an existing recycling program so they would become more conscious of their disposal decisions and divert recyclables from the waste stream. The initiative resulted in 61.6 percent of the customer’s waste stream being recycled in 2012; 80.2 percent of the total recycle stream was composed of paperboard, corrugated and mixed paper.
Domtar was recognized with two “Leadership in Sustainability” awards. First was a Safety award for Domtar’s “Hazard Mapping at Ashdown” project at the Ashdown, AR mill, which began in 2011 and involved specialized training, compiling information, developing electronic symbols and systematic area mapping. Since the program’s implementation, 324 hazards have been eliminated. Ashdown achieved a 1.07 recordable incident rate in 2012, making it the best year for safety in Ashdown’s 45-year history.
Domtar also received a Sustainable Forest Management award for the company’s “Four States Timberland Owners Association” fiber certification program. Domtar formed the Four States Timberland Owners Association in 2010 to educate landowners and managers on how to obtain sustainable forest management certification. Domtar and 55 individual landowners representing more than 70,000 acres of forestland achieved certification in November 2012. The association is aiming to double the amount of certified acreage in 2013.
Brunswick Cellulose, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Georgia-Pacific LLC, received a “Leadership in Sustainability” Water award for the “Water Use Reduction” project at its cellulose mill in Brunswick, GA. Georgia-Pacific installed a single-line bleach plant to replace three older pulp bleaching processes. The upgrade project resulted in a reduction in overall groundwater use of nearly 10 million gallons per day, or 30 percent of the mill’s total daily use, since the new equipment became fully operational in the first quarter of 2012. The project also allows for a smaller energy footprint and lower air emissions from energy production.
Graphic Packaging International was this year’s sole recipient of an “Innovation in Sustainability” award for the for “Tite-Pak® Innovation Beverage Package” project. Tite-Pak® was designed to reduce the amount of glass bottle breakage without increasing total packaging materials. Research indicates that the implementation of Tite-Pak® has led to a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions among the 12 and 18 bottle packs. Graphic Packaging promotes a long-term reliance on paperboard packaging instead of plastic through this innovation.
The winning projects are good indicators of the high bar AF&PA members continue to set for better business practices and are representative of the ingenuity and hard work taking place across the industry, which are key to achieving the industry’s sustainability goals by 2020.
In 2012, AF&PA’s biennial Sustainability Report showed that the U.S. pulp, paper, packaging and wood products manufacturing industry has made significant, measurable progress toward achieving the goals of its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative. AF&PA will release its next report in mid-2014.
For more information about the Sustainability Awards program and AF&PA’s Better Practices initiative, visit www.afandpa.org/sustainability.
Tax Reform Must Foster Jobs, Economic Growth, and Competitiveness
by Donna Harman
President and CEO
American Forest & Paper Association
Featured on ACCF's Capital Corner
With comprehensive tax reform on the Congressional front-burner, paper and wood
products manufacturers are educating lawmakers on the tax profile of the industry
and the possible effects of wholesale reform of the tax code. Our priority is to
ensure that any changes result in improved economic growth, job opportunities and
the competitiveness of U.S.-based forest products businesses.
The U.S. forest products industry accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP. Our companies produce about $200 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries. They meet a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and rank among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states. Our companies and their business structures take many forms including C-Corps, S-Corps, partnerships and others.
Our industry is capital-intensive and operates in a highly competitive international marketplace. Comprehensive business tax reform should allow for economic growth and improve the competitiveness of important job-creating sectors, including the U.S. forest products industry. Between 2006 and 2011, our industry has invested $52 billion in new equipment and production capability
We are leaders in the field of renewable energy, generating electricity and other usable forms of energy for operations. Our businesses offer robust family-wage and benefits -- earnings of pulp and paper mill workers exceed the average for all U.S. private sector workers by about 50 percent. And, our industry exceeds the average for all manufacturing in value-added per dollar of shipments.
Paper and wood products manufacturers also support jobs in other sectors of the U.S. economy. For instance, a study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute found that each paper industry job supports 3.25 jobs in supplier industries and local communities from re-spending and tax receipts. Additionally, the United States is a net exporter of pulp and paper products.
Priorities for comprehensive federal tax reform:
• Tax rates - The United States has the highest statutory corporate tax rate among OECD countries. This is because most other OECD member countries have lowered corporate rates during the past two decades, while U.S. corporate rates have remained stagnant. A significant reduction in all taxes on U.S. business income is needed to be more in line with the average among other OECD countries. A tax system with the lowest possible tax rates is desirable to foster capital investment, jobs creation and economic growth.
• Business investment -Business investment is another crucial driver of economic growth and jobs. Appropriate treatment of depreciation, interest expense, and research expenditures to ensure capital intensive manufacturers -- such as paper and wood products companies – continue to invest in new and more efficient equipment.
• International tax rules - The global market place is more competitive than ever and home country tax systems can provide a competitive edge as companies seek to enter new markets and compete in existing markets. Unfortunately, the United States has fallen behind when most OECD countries have moved to competitive tax regimes. The U.S. international tax rules should be reformed to include a competitive territorial tax system like those of many other countries so that U.S.-based companies can compete on a level playing field in vital global markets.
• Employees benefit provisions - The U.S. forest products industry is a leader in providing excellent employee payroll, retirement and health benefits to its workers. Changes in tax law could have a dramatic effect on companies’ ability to continue these benefits.
• Transition relief - Major changes in federal tax policy could have a negative impact on existing business investment and create considerable uncertainty. Appropriate transition relief and protections against retroactive tax law changes are essential elements for federal tax reform. For example, the full benefit of net operating losses and unused tax credits should be protected and allowed to be carried forward to future years.
Maintaining a vibrant U.S. paper and wood products manufacturing sector is essential to our nation’s economy. We hope lawmakers will resist the temptation to pick winners and losers among businesses and avoid counter-productive tax increases that will be harmful to economic growth and job creation. A reformed tax code should provide a level playing field for business activity, allowing our businesses to compete in the domestic and global marketplace.
The Millennial Generation and Paper-Based Packaging By Cathy Foley
Group Vice President
In order to continue to build a leadership voice on packaging, The Responsible
Package initiative recently researched how the millennial generation uses and views
Millennials are the largest living generation in the U.S. The fact that they are entering
their prime consuming years makes them uniquely influential because preferences they establish now will determine future trends.
Through an in-depth research study that incorporated social media, interviews and focus group discussions, we researched Millennials’ attitudes, values and behaviors when it comes to paper-based packaging and gained insights into the role it plays in their lives.
First off, the research results showed that packaging is fundamental to Millennials’ lives. So fundamental, in fact, that they often take it for granted. Most participants claimed they don’t spend much time thinking about the packaging that surrounds them. When they were asked to take notice of the packaging in their homes as part of the research, they discovered it’s “everywhere”.
Participants claimed they rarely consciously consider packaging when buying a product, basing their purchases on the actual product instead of its package. But packaging can influence their purchase decisions when they are trying a new product or deciding between similar products. Some participants credited paper-based packaging as reflecting positively on the product or brand. The packaging enhanced their perception that natural, organic or earth-friendly; or handmade as opposed to manufactured.
While Millennials appreciate practical benefits like product protection and identification, they’re most interested in packaging that they deem convenient. Paper-based packaging is generally preferred for being practical, affordable, easy to use, earth-friendly, and versatile.
Millennials love the idea of repurposing – doing so makes them feel good. Compared to most other materials, they are more likely to repurpose paper-based packaging: paper bags and shopping bags are used over and over to carry, hold and transport other items, or are used as containers for waste; shoe boxes are used to store and organize materials; and large boxes are used for storage and moving.
The Eco-friendliest of them all
Paper-based packaging is considered to be the most environmentally friendly packaging option there is. Participants credited it as
“natural”, easily decomposable, and least harmful of all packaging materials in a landfill environment.
In fact, even when prompted, very few participants mentioned any perceived negative effects on the environment. Given environmental groups’ messaging about the forest products industry, this part of the study was surprising.
Many participants anticipated paper-based packaging to hold an even more prominent role in the years to come. Most think companies will strive to be more conscientious, which will lead them to prefer and use more paper-based packaging.
On the other hand, Millennials are not yet willing to make any sacrifices, such as making lifestyle changes or paying a premium, for more eco-friendly products or packaging. Their belief in “having it all” leads them to expect to have great packaging that makes their life easier, looks good, and still aligns with their developing values around sustainability.
Participants cited two key factors in influencing their recycling behavior: their parents who instilled recycling behavior at an early age, making it a second-nature behavior; and their education at school, where they learned about recycling and had recycling clubs.
However, most Millennials do not pay attention to the type of paper-based packaging used and have minimal knowledge about the differences between paper-based packaging materials.
Few are aware of the differences between blends with partial recycled paper and virgin paper, although they do recognize and appreciate the varied weights, sturdiness, and textures paper-based packaging offers.
Participants agree that recycling all types of paper-based packaging is important, with most of them recycling at least some of the time. Here, convenience is an important factor as well. When recycling is limited, it is often due to lacking county, city or building support.
Creating a more active relationship between Millennials and paper-based packaging and reframing the way they think about it would allow the industry to raise the visibility of paper-based packaging.
By reminding Millennials of their values and linking those values to the benefits of paper-based packaging – its practical, convenient and sustainable traits – it is possible for paper-based packaging to become a conscious consumer decision.
While participants noted that paper-based packaging can enhance their perception of the environmental nature of a product or brand, they are also increasingly leery of “greenwashing” and false claims. Companies should take note to be transparent and to avoid making environmental promises they cannot keep. Finally, Millennials still need guidance regarding correct recycling behavior and making decisions about how to recycle, what is recyclable, and so on. Industry efforts can arm them with the information they need to recycle efficiently and regularly.
The Responsible Package initiative is an industry-wide effort to promote the versatile and sustainable packaging solutions provided by paper-based packaging. The Responsible Package supports paperboard, corrugated, and paper bag and sack products and will further the paper-based packaging industry's commitment to providing renewable, recyclable and sustainable packaging that also is reliable and economically viable. Originally published in May/June Boxscore, p.
Administration’s Climate Plan Should Recognize the Carbon Neutrality of Forest Products Manufacturing Residues
By: Donna Harman, President & CEO, American Forest & Paper Association
July 1, 2013
New government regulations that threaten to increase the cost of manufacturing
without taking into account the economic, social, and environmental contributions
provided by the paper and wood products manufacturing industry should be avoided.
Our industry already faces additional capital costs of roughly $14 billion from recent and upcoming Clean Air Act rules, and our investments in highly-efficient biomass energy reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil fuels with woody residues that would have decayed anyway. On average, about two-thirds of our energy comes from carbon neutral biomass energy and our products help create market demand to keep land in forests that sequester carbon rather than development.
EPA’s upcoming framework and regulations on biogenic carbon provide an excellent opportunity for EPA to recognize that paper and wood products manufacturers prevent further increases in carbon in the atmosphere by using biomass residues to produce energy.
Biomass residues offer exceptional benefits among energy fuels. As forests grow, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via photosynthesis. That carbon dioxide will later be released as trees die and decay. But that same carbon dioxide can also be released as the biomass is combusted, generating energy but adding no more carbon than would otherwise have naturally been released. As long as forests are sustainably managed, this opportunity to take advantage of energy value that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere will continue.
Renewable biomass is already helping to power one of the most significant manufacturing sectors of the U.S. economy. The paper and wood products manufacturing industry accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of all U.S. manufacturing GDP, generating approximately $200 billion in products annually and employing nearly 900,000 Americans. American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) members have been taking voluntary efforts to improve the sustainability of the industry and the planet for years and are committed to doing so into the future. We have improved our energy efficiency by 8.1 percent since 2005 and are on track to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent. Further, by recovering over 65 percent of the paper consumed in America for recycling, we are helping to reduce methane emissions. The use of biomass residues to generate power at forest products facilities is part of the carbon cycle and takes into account social, economic, and environmental objectives essential to a sustainable future.
Biomass residues are a valuable sustainable energy source
by Donna Harman
President and CEO
June 12, 2013
Originally published on The Hill's Congress Blog http://bit.ly/127h6ta
A report on greenhouse gas emissions earlier this week by the International Energy
Agency will have policymakers once again discussing sustainable energy options.
Reasons for this renewed interest range from energy security to protection of our
natural resources. Paper and wood products manufacturers have long known the benefits of using biomass residues to produce energy and, in optimizing its use, have reduced greenhouse gas emissions 10.5 percent since 2005, with a goal to reach 15 percent by 2020.
The carbon cycle is nature’s way cleaning the air. As forests grow, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via photosynthesis. That carbon dioxide will later be released as trees die or woody residues decay. But that same carbon can also be released as the biomass is combusted, generating energy while adding no more carbon than would otherwise have naturally been released. This is an opportunity to take advantage of energy value that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere.
Biomass is helping to power one of the most significant manufacturing sectors of the U.S. economy. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of all U.S. manufacturing GDP, generating approximately $200 billion in products annually and employing nearly 900,000 Americans. Paper and wood products manufacturing facilities produce 70 percent of the renewable biomass energy used by the entire manufacturing sector in the U.S. And on average, paper and wood products manufacturers meet about two-thirds of their energy needs from renewable biomass residues that would have decayed anyway, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. By using these residues as fuel, we’re capturing the energy value while reducing the use of fossil fuel that would otherwise be needed to power our manufacturing facilities.
Given the science behind the sustainable carbon cycle and the obvious benefits of biomass-based energy, particularly that resulting from residues, federal policies should not choose winners and losers among renewable, sustainable energy sources. Where state or federal government policies exist, those policies must treat existing industry energy generation from biomass equally with newly-created renewable energy generation, promote sustainable forest management, and provide incentives for reliable and affordable regional fiber supplies rather than a particular use while maintaining open market access.
The forest products industry voluntarily supports the sustainable nature of biomass.
In the United States, more wood is grown than is harvested for forest products. This sustainable forest resource enables AF&PA member companies to make products essential for everyday life from a renewable and recyclable resource and also to produce renewable biomass energy through highly-efficient combined heat and power technology. The industry has also committed to continuous improvement through our sustainability initiative, Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. As our biennial Sustainability Report shows, we have made significant progress on the initiative’s six key goals: increasing paper-recovery for recycling; improving energy efficiency; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; promoting sustainable forestry practices; improving workplace safety; and reducing water use.
As the debate about energy options warms up again, it’s time that federal policies recognize the forest products industry’s contribution to sustainable manufacturing in America and how our unique use of biomass residues in energy production contributes more broadly to our country’s energy profile.
Donna Harman is president and chief executive officer of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and is recognized by industry leaders and policymakers alike as one of the leading experts on public policy concerning the pulp, paper, packaging, and wood products manufacturing industry.
Letter to the Editor: Biomass-based energy vital to Maryland RPS March 1, 2013
The Post’s Feb. 22 story (“Md., DC Utilities Pay Paper Mills Burning ‘Black Liquor’
For Alternative Fuel Credits”) leaned heavily on inaccurate and misleading
statements from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and missed the real issue
of increasing energy costs to Marylanders. By discriminating against biomass, the market for Renewable Energy Credits would dismiss an important and cost-effective energy source.
Biomass plays an important role in our country’s renewable energy portfolio. Energy produced in forest products mills from wood residues is widely recognized as carbon neutral around the world, and rightly so. Trees absorb CO2
and release it again upon natural decay. By including these residues as a fuel, we capture the energy value, displace fossil fuels in the process, and complete the recycling loop.
The forest products industry, like other sectors of our economy, is making large investments in highly efficient biomass energy that meets stringent environmental standards. Our nation’s renewable energy future demands low-cost baseload energy, and the forest products industry can be a key part of the solution.
Discriminating against low-cost biomass energy is short-sighted and costly to both employers and consumers.
President & CEO
American Forest & Paper Association
Letter: Paper Bags Over Plastic
| by Cathy Foley |
Group Vice President
January 16, 2013
The Daily Journal
In response to Cathy Browne’s guest perspective, “Everyone loses under bag bans” in the Jan. 3 edition of the Daily Journal, the record on paper bags needs to be set straight. When choosing a grocery bag, paper is the most environmentally-conscious choice. The guest perspective states that plastic bags are made from a natural gas derivative and not from oil. Natural gas, just like oil, is a fossil fuel and non-renewable. Unlike plastic, paper bags are made from recovered paper and wood fiber, a renewable and sustainable resource.
The Forest Products Industry sources the fiber used in its products from sustainably managed forests. In fact, the United States has 20 percent more trees today than it did on the first Earth Day celebration more than 40 years ago.
Paper bags can be recycled, reused and even composted, as evidenced by their use throughout the country in municipal leaf mulching programs.
Paper bags are 100 percent recyclable and their recovery rate is at nearly 50 percent, while that of plastic bags is at nearly 10 percent. Many of the products’ plastic bags are recycled into are precisely the types of hard plastics that the guest perspective claims are the culprit of oceanic pollution. Plastic bag litter itself is a major threat to marine animals.
If you want to make a responsible and sustainable choice, choose paper bags.
The letter writer is the group vice president for the Renewable Bag Council and American Forest and Paper Association.