The reductions can be largely attributed to reducing its purchased energy consumption, which often comes from fossil fuel sources, and increasing the use of renewable energy, derived from black liquor, sludges and biomass.

According to the company’s 2013 sustainability report, energy costs, as a percentage of operating costs, have been rising for several years and currently account for around 12% of Sappi’s cost of sales.

Classified as a biofuel, black liquor, a byproduct of creating wood pulp, is currently the company’s most significant fuel source, which it says is lowering fossil fuel emissions significantly.

The company is also exploring biorefining projects in all regions to “reduce exposure to future energy price increases and provide a stable supply of energy”.

Sappi CEO Ralph Boettger: “Globally, over the past five years, specific purchased energy has reduced by 20.3%, while Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) CO2 emissions have decreased by 12.2% and 28.4% respectively.

“These reductions represent reductions of 584,936tons CO2 equivalent (Scope 1) and 607,906 tons CO2 equivalent (Scope 2) respectively and highlight the link between sustainability performance and value-added to our stakeholders,” he added.

However, the company reported that it had failed to achieve its 2013 targets for Europe in CO2 reduction and water consumption.

Ending its first period of sustainability targets in 2012, the company set new targets for 2017 with 2012 as a baseline, including annual targets.

Sappi set a target to reduce CO2 emissions from its operations in Europe by 1% by 2013, but in fact reported a 0.8% increase in emissions due to a slight increase in coal use.

A target to reduce water consumption by 1% by the end of 2013, relating to its European operations, was also missed, with water use increasing by 1.3%.

Leigh Stringer

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