This week, Domtar Corporation released its 2015 Sustainability Report, highlighting its environmental leadership in fiber-based product production and its support of sustainable harvesting.
Among its most notable accomplishments, the company self-generated 74 percent of the electricity used in its pulp and paper mills through cogeneration technologies and hydropower, outpacing the US pulp and paper industry average of 59 percent. Nearly two-thirds of this self-generated energy came from renewable fuel derived from its pulping chemical recovery process and from wood residuals left over from log debarking.
Domtar also announced progress on its goal to increase the availability and use of Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) and other certified fiber sources. In 2014, it sold the five-millionth ton of FSC-certified paper in 2014, a first for the North American market. FSC-certified fiber represented 19.2 percent of Domtar’s total fiber use in 2014, bringing it close to the company’s 2020 goal of 20 percent.
The report emphasizes Domtar’s focus on keeping forest lands forested, particularly on small, family-owned forests. It also acknowledges the complexity of sustainable resource use and the delivery of optimal environmental benefits from recovered paper.
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“It is important to develop a more sophisticated understanding of how virgin and recycled fiber actually cycles through the economy, and how these fiber flows change over time,” the report reads. “This knowledge will help us make sure that the paper that is recovered is reused in products where it delivers the greatest environmental benefits.”
To develop this understanding, Domtar is supporting university research to model fiber flows, compare tradeoffs of different uses for recovered paper fiber, and ultimately improve the environmental efficiency of its sustainability efforts. In the meantime, the company has reduced its own waste sent to landfills by 23 percent since 2013.
Domtar is also publicly supporting regulatory efforts to mandate sustainable harvest practices. The report notes that Domtar was the first forest products company to support the US EPA in making sustainable harvesting a component of an accounting framework for certifying the carbon neutrality of biomass fuel.
In addition to these environmental accomplishments, the 2015 Sustainability Report highlights Domtar’s progress on community and employee empowerment. Since 2008, the company has reduced the recordable safety incident rate by 52 percent. It also donated $1.35 million in community investments throughout 2014.