International Paper (IP) reduced its total energy use from 2007 to 2010 by almost seven percent, equivalent to the amount of power needed for 420,000 homes, or removing one million passenger vehicles from the road, according to the paper and packaging company’s 2010 Sustainability Report. IP also reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 30 percent from 2000 to 2009.
Next year, IP’s US mill GHG data will be publicly available through the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule. “We will continue to be transparent to our stakeholders without speculating on the future impacts of climate change or the fate of the many pending regulatory proposals,” the report states.
In IP’s US mill system, almost 75 percent of generated energy is from renewable biomass and biofuels. Over 70 percent of the energy used at the company’s paper mills comes from trees (biomass and pulping liquors), and only 30 percent comes from fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas).
Increasing renewable energy use and energy efficiency at its facilities
IP invested $36 million at its Kwidzyn Mill in Poland last year to increase the site’s electricity generation from 40 percent to almost 90 percent. The company recently invested in a facility at its Svetogorsk Mill in Russia to increase energy efficiency from 33 percent to 50 percent
Last year, almost 70 percent of its facilities globally were powered with renewable biomass. IP invested $45 million in energy efficiency and biomass projects just last year.
Since 2007, IP reduced its total global energy use by three percent and the use of non-renewable energy by 9.5 percent per metric ton of product. It also reduced its fossil fuel direct GHG emissions from stationary combustion sources by 29 percent since 2007.
IP’s use of recovered fiber and protecting forestland
The company recovers six million tons of fiber a year, about 12 percent of total U.S. fiber collection, making it the fourth largest processor of recovered fiber and the largest consumer of recovered fiber in the U.S.
The report boasts that IP protected about 1.5 million acres of U.S. forestland the past decade through “donations, land sales and conservation easements to state and federal agencies and environmental groups.” The company worked with The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy and IP to protect 218,000 acres of forestland in 10 states “in the largest private land conservation sale in the history of the U.S. south.”
All is not so rosy for IP’s sustainability efforts
Although IP says it has a “preference for certified wood,” data it includes in the report does not back up that claim. Globally, only 30 percent of the fiber it obtained is certified, and 70 percent is “controlled wood.” In the U.S., the percentage of certified fiber is 24 percent, and 76 is from “controlled wood.” In Europe, Middle East, and Africa 43 percent is certified fiber, and 57. In Brazil, 60 percent is certified fiber, and only 40 percent is controlled wood.
Since 2006, the solid waste sent to landfill actually increased by two percent per metric ton of production. The report says the increase “resulted from fewer outlets for the beneficial reuse of ash in cement due to the global downturn in the construction industry and the purchase of Weyerhaeuser’s recycling infrastructure, which generated an increased amount of recycling-related reject materials.”