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WestRock Company Wins 2015 AF&PA Sustainability Award for Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Nov 16, 2015

CONTACT: Katharine Eaton
(202) 463-2436,  

Recognized for Covington Power Island Project

WASHINGTON – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) recognized WestRock Company as a leader in sustainability with a 2015 AF&PA Sustainability Award. The award was presented at AF&PA’s annual meeting on Friday, Nov. 13 in San Antonio, Texas.

WestRock received a Leadership in Sustainability Award for Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction for their Covington Power Island Project. Designed to recognize exemplary sustainability programs and initiatives in the paper and wood products manufacturing industry, AF&PA’s annual sustainability awards are given based on the merit of entries received across multiple categories.

“WestRock’s Covington Power Island Project reduces dependence on fossil fuels, lowers air emissions and electrical costs, and makes efficient use of forestry by-products and residuals,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.

WestRock’s Covington Power Island Project uses carbon-neutral self generated and purchased biomass to generate clean renewable electricity  at their Covington, Virginia paper mill. It has enabled the mill to put net power to the grid, greatly reduce coal use, greenhouse gas emissions and decrease freshwater usage as well as the generation of wastewater.

“I thank AF&PA for recognizing the great WestRock team at Covington for their work on the Power Island Project,” said WestRock CEO Steve Voorhees. “The project allowed us to improve the efficiency and performance of the mill while providing a market for bark and other byproducts from the forest. We are proud of the work and expect to continue to invest in projects that help us meet our sustainability goals.”

AF&PA member company applicants are considered in two categories. Projects that support progress toward the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals qualify for recognition in the “Leadership” category, which has five subcategories that correspond to the goals: Paper Recovery for Recycling, Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction, Sustainable Forest Management, Safety, and Water. The “Innovation in Sustainability” award is reserved for projects that merit recognition for their contribution to sustainable business practices, not one of the goals specifically.

AF&PA releases its sustainability report every other year. The 2014 Sustainability Report showed that the U.S. pulp, paper, packaging and wood products manufacturing industry has made significant, measurable progress toward achieving its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals. 

For more information about the Sustainability Awards program and AF&PA’s Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 initiative, visit

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About AF&PA
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative - Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures over $200 billion in products annually, and employs approximately 900,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.

About WestRock
WestRock Company (NYSE:WRK) aspires to be the premier partner and unrivaled provider of paper and packaging solutions in consumer and corrugated markets. WestRock's 42,000 team members support customers around the world from operating and business locations spanning North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Learn more at