By Donna Harman, AF&PA President &CEO
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.