By Debbie Johnston
Director, U.S. Public Affairs, Resolute Forest Products
By enacting a series of sustainability commitments in 2011, Resolute Forest Products made a bold statement to our employees, our business partners and the market.
We operate in an energy-intensive industry and actively seek out opportunities to invest in clean energy projects that will ultimately reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our facilities and benefit our bottom line. Our ambitious series of sustainability commitments included a goal to reduce our emissions (scope 1 and 2) by 65% below 2000 levels by 2015.
Not only did we surpass this goal; we achieved a 73% reduction in GHG emissions between 2000 and 2016, equivalent to the removal of 1.82 million cars off the road. This improvement is largely due to successful efforts to reduce energy consumption, switch to lower emission fuels and change fuel mixes.
Resolute produces a significant portion of the electricity we use from renewable sources like our hydroelectric facilities, as well as our cogeneration facilities fueled by biomass by-products. In 2016, we sourced 74% of our energy requirements for the year from renewable sources. We also completed our second full year of 100% coal-free operation, by replacing high-emission fuels like coal with less carbon-intensive fuels.
These initiatives have significant economic benefits. Seven of our operations have cogeneration assets, of which four sell electricity externally; reducing our costs by approximately $43.5 million in 2015.
While future benefits may be more difficult to quantify, we are confident that our early adoption of green energy technologies will pay off in the long run.
Resolute Forest Products received the 2017 AF&PA Leadership in Sustainability Award for Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction for its GHG Reduction Program.