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AF&PA Announces Award-Winning Sustainability Projects

Seven member companies recognized for outstanding efforts to improve workplace safety and the environment.

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) [on Nov. 13] announced its annual Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Award winners, which recognize exemplary sustainability programs and initiatives in the paper and wood products manufacturing industry and are awarded based on the merit of entries received across multiple categories.

“We had a record number of submissions to our Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 awards program, which underscores that sustainability is a top priority for our industry, even in the midst of a global pandemic,” said AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock. “I continue to be impressed by our industry’s commitment to leadership in sustainability. Our members are constantly striving to reach new limits of possibility and these awards give us an opportunity to shine a spotlight on innovative sustainability success stories.”

AF&PA’s Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Initiative is one of the most comprehensive sets of sustainability goals established for a U.S. manufacturing industry, nearly a decade ago. The initiative recognizes the three essential pillars of sustainability — economic, environmental and social — interdependent factors that collectively support long-term viability, growth and improvement. The Sustainability Award winners demonstrate the industry’s long-held commitment to improving practices to build a better planet today. AF&PA congratulates the following winners:

Leadership in Sustainability – Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Resolute Forest Products: Modernization of Coosa Pines (Alabama) Mill Helps Reduce Resolute’s Carbon Footprint

Resolute’s $4 million upgrade to the Coosa Pines mill’s cogeneration turbine resulted in a 65 percent reduction in purchased energy and enabled the mill to self-generate 40 percent of its energy use in 2019 and to increase total energy sourced from renewable sources, including biomass and hydroelectricity, to 68 percent.

Leadership in Sustainability – Safety

Clearwater Paper: Aspects & Impacts Process to Identify and Reduce Serious Injuries and Fatalities (SIF) Risks

Taking a proactive and systematic approach, Clearwater Paper’s risk-based assessment program resulted in an immediate improvement in specific safety targets and employee engagement – each site met their 20 percent improvement goal within the first year.

Leadership in Sustainability – Sustainable Forest Management

Evergreen Packaging: Family Forests – The Key to Certified Success

Through major investments in regional programs, 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 region.

Leadership in Sustainability – Water

Sappi: Somerset Mill’s Caustic Reclaim & Reuse

Sappi North America’s Somerset Mill designed and installed an innovative system that recovers used sodium hydroxide during boiler feed water preparation and repurposes caustic. The process has reduced the use of caustic purchases of wood-related products by 660 tons per year, reduced water use by more than 12,000 gallons per day, as well as reduced acid consumption in the wastewater treatment plant by 816 tons per year.

Innovation in Sustainability (Large Company)

WestRock: Pak On Demand™ Pouch System

Pak On Demand™ is a major advance for the paper-based packaging market, enabling companies to produce right-sized, highly, sustainable fiber-based pouches. The innovative pouch system uses automation to increase packing rates by up to five times. In addition, the fiber-based pouches are 100 percent curbside recyclable.

Innovation in Sustainability (Small Company)

Appvion: Innovative and Sustainable Direct Thermal Technology

Appvion’s patent-pending technology is the next innovation in direct thermal paper.  CleanSlate™ is a transformational technology that 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 and Appvion has applied the technology to thermal label and ticket products as well.

Innovation in Sustainability (Small Company)

The Price Companies: Restoration & Management of Marginal Agricultural and Timberlands

The Price Companies are increasing conservation and sustainable forest management practices throughout the Mississippi Delta region, enhancing the profitability of marginal agricultural and timberland and restoring many of the original features that make the Delta unique.

The 2020 AF&PA Sustainability Award winners were selected by a judging panel of sustainability experts from the Department of Energy, GreenBlue, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Quad Packaging, Two Sides North America and Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology.

Visit sustainability.afandpa.org/awards/ for full award-winning project summaries.

About AF&PA

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue 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 four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $55 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at afandpa.org/.

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