Smurfit Kappa hits water goal three years early

Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa has hit its 2020 environmental target to reduce the chemical oxygen demand (COD) in water discharge thanks to a £50m investment in sustainable technology.

The Dublin-based group has reduced the COD by 33%/tonne of produced paper compared to 2005.

This has been achieved through the installation of anaerobic water treatment processes that require no oxygen and use less energy. Additionally, aerobic treatment transforms water pollutants into biogas which is then reused to power Smurfit Kappa’s combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

“We are very proud to have reached our water target in 2017, three years ahead of our 2020 goal,” Smurfit Kappa VP of development Steven Stoffer said.

“This is thanks to the extensive knowledge and experience we have gained in water treatment over the past decades and our focus on closing loops wherever possible. We aim to return all our water to nature as clean as before.”

As part of its commitment to understand the risks related to water, 11 of Smurfit Kappa’s 36 paper mills have been audited to prove a ‘well managed risk’ outcome. Smurfit Kappa is just one of the “record number” of big businesses investing in water security, with new analysis from CDP finding that more than $23bn has been invested in 2017. 

Green milestones

This latest achievement follows a string of sustainability milestones for Smurfit Kappa. The FTSE 100 firm recently reached 90% certification for sold packaging, meeting a comprehensive Chain of Custody compliance across its 370 production sites.

Smurfit Kappa is also well on-track to supersede its 2020 target to slash overall emissions by a quarter. The progress has been underpinned by an investment in energy efficiency measures, combined heat and power (CHP) plants and a shift to renewable energy sources, namely biomass.

Smurfit Kappa last year invited edie on a behind-the-scenes tour of its pioneering zero-waste paper mill in the Netherlands. The mill produces 600,000 tonnes of brown paper packaging each year, but sends absolutely no waste to landfill.

George Ogleby

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