2020 Sustainability Award Winners
Leadership in Sustainability: Safety
Aspects & Impacts Process to Identify and Reduce Serious Injuries and Fatalities (SIF) Risks
Clearwater Paper implemented an enterprise-wide Environmental Health & Safety Excellence strategy focused on five key foundations to reduce and eliminate safety impacts to employees, contractors and communities. These foundations include leadership and commitment, worksite analysis and controls, continuous improvement, employee ownership, and training and communication. Within this initiative is the Aspects & Impacts Process, a proactive and systematic approach to evaluate risks for activities with the goal of implementing preventative controls and measures to minimize the potential for EHS incidents. The process includes an assessment of production and maintenance task by scoring key questions that analyze risk, potential for injury, prevention controls, incident data and mill’s ability to implement controls. With quantitative data, mills can prioritize and focus on safety improvements around tasks with the highest risk potential. Clearwater Paper has seen immediate improvement in specific safety targets and employee engagement – each site met their 20 percent improvement goal within the first year. The methodology used in Clearwater Paper’s Aspects & Impacts Process is easily replicable and scalable for all companies in the forest products industry – the uniform process which helps prioritize severity and focus on specific tasks can reduce, or potentially eliminate, SIFs and is of high value to the industry and society.
Leadership in Sustainability: Sustainable Forest Management
Family Forests – The Key to Certified Success
Evergreen Packaging recognizes that family forests are key to the long-term success of sustainable forestry, and the company is focused on helping family forest landowners increase access to forest certification programs. As a founding member of the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance, Evergreen Packaging has been instrumental in helping develop the Smallholder Access Program, a two-year Forest Stewardship Council® pilot program targeted to southern and central Appalachia woodland owners under 250 acres. In 2019, Evergreen Packaging also committed significant funding to the American Forest Foundation to support the development of a Landscape Management Plan (LMP) for the state of South Carolina. This plan incorporates a high level, holistic approach to forest management, incorporating regional priorities such as wildlife habitat, species biodiversity and clean water supplies. By adopting the LMP, landowners can reduce costs and expedite American Tree Farm Systems® certification for their family forest. These two programs are examples of how Evergreen Packaging is reducing barriers and increasing access for small landowners to participate in forest certification programs and ultimately increase sustainable forest management practices in the United States.
Resolute Forest Products
Leadership in Sustainability: Energy Efficiency / Greenhouse Gas Reduction
Modernization of Coosa Pines (Alabama) Mill Helps Reduce Resolute’s Carbon Footprint
In 2011, Resolute set one of the industry’s most ambitious greenhouse gas emission commitments – to reduce absolute GHG emissions (scope 1 and 2) to 65 percent of 2000 levels by 2015. By the end of 2019, the company reported an impressive 82 percent reduction in absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to 2000 levels. Modernization of Resolute’s Coosa Pines mill was a major contributor to this achievement. Notably, Resolute invested $4 million to upgrade the mill’s cogeneration turbine. Within the first full year of operation, the mill recorded a 65 percent reduction in purchased energy. This project underscores that cogeneration is an environmentally responsible source of energy and, enabling the mill to self-generate nearly 40 percent of its energy use in 2019 and to increase total energy sourced from renewable sources, including biomass and hydroelectricity, to 68 percent. Further, this investment has improved the viability of the mill by enabling it to transform from a newsprint operation into a mill that produces kraft fluff pulp – a more profitable and sustainable product. Today, Resolute’s Coosa Pines mill is considered a leading global manufacturer of pulp tissue and absorbent consumer products that employs nearly 300 people and has an annual production capacity of 265,000 metric tons.
Sappi North America
Leadership in Sustainability: Water
Somerset Mill’s Caustic Reclaim & Reuse
Sappi North America, a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper, packaging products and pulp, is challenging industry standards and innovating new methods for sustainability by repurposing and reducing waste at all locations. Sappi’s Somerset mill in Skowhegen, Maine produces 970,00 metric tons of coated freesheet paper and packaging paper, as well as 525,00 metric tons of bleached kraft pulp annually. The goal of their “Caustic Reclaim and Reuse” project was to reduce the cost of the Somerset mill’s boiler flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) and volume of purchased caustic. The mill achieved both: reducing the amount of purchased caustic by 660 tons per year and overall mill water use by 12,000 gallons per day. An additional benefit of the project has been the reduction in the amount of acid required (816 tons per year) to neutralize waste sodium hydroxide at the wastewater treatment plant. The reduction process method has surpassed the industry standard, which benefits the mill’s fiscal position and helps the Somerset mill meet its environmental ambitions and maintain a positive relationship with the surrounding community.
Innovation in Sustainability
Innovative and Sustainable Direct Thermal Solution: CleanSlate™ POS Receipt Paper
Appvion is the leading manufacturer of thermal paper in North America and has been committed to developing environmentally responsible solutions since inception, over 100 years ago. Appvion was the first thermal manufacturer to eliminate BPA from their products, nearly 15 years ago and CleanSlate™ technology is another leap forward. CleanSlate technology eliminates chemical developers and leuco dyes, as well as chemical reactions to form the image. The first application of CleanSlate technology is point-of-sale (POS) receipt paper. The CleanSlate POS receipt paper has a higher level of environmental resistance than traditional POS products including resistance to direct sunlight, high humidity, and high heat. Additionally, the new image created is now permanent and will not fade. The patent-pending technology can be used in current direct thermal printers, meaning no additional cost is required by end-users. CleanSlate technology improves the supply chain as new raw materials are now supplied from the Midwest. When comparing the product to a traditional POS product, there was a 30% reduction in fossil fuel GHG emissions for the CleanSlate POS product. CleanSlate is a transformational technology that offers an innovative and sustainable solution to growing demands of products made with more natural components. Appvion has applied the technology to thermal label and ticket products as well.
The Price Companies
Innovation in Sustainability
Restoration & Management of Marginal Agricultural and Timberlands
The Price Companies provides sustainable services to the pulp & paper industry, including woodyard services, logistics, land management and water resource services. Beginning in the 1980’s, The Price Companies began acquiring under managed agricultural and timberland to increase conservation and sustainability practices. Best management practices include planting hardwood timber on marginal agricultural land, designing corridors to enhance wildlife habitat and conserve soil and water, establishing berms and buffers along streams for nutrient management, improving timber stands, constructing and managing lakes as fisheries to improve subsurface water, and re-establishing native composition. The Price Companies are managing the least productive lands to enhance the profitability of the overall property and to bring back original features to the landscape that make the Mississippi Delta region unique. The goal is to not just improve the environment through cleaner water, healthier soils and enhanced biodiversity, but to also improve the quality of life in the Mississippi Delta now and for future generations.
Innovation in Sustainability
Pak On Demand™ Pouch System
To provide plastic replacement options for the protective packaging market, WestRock designed and developed a proprietary fiber-based packaging solution, Pak On Demand™ Pouch System. Using innovative KD-Fold™ – a new tube format made of corrugated fanfold – this next-gen, on-demand packaging automation creates a right-sized fiber-based pouch. KD-Fold™ is fiber-based, sustainable and part of an innovative system which creates a 100 percent curbside recyclable pouch, efficiently uses materials, eliminates unnecessary void fill, creates a highly protective pouch and eliminates stocking of mailer or plastic bags. In addition to the environmental benefits, Pak On Demand™ Pouch System is 4 to 5 times faster than manual envelope packaging and helps reduce labor by automating manual operations. The system has a small footprint, making it easy to install in small areas. Notably, the fiber-based pouches do not need to be handled at special receiving sites, making it easy for the end consumer to recycle at home and easy for recycling centers to process. Pak On Demand™ helps both companies and consumers be more sustainable.