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ARTICLE FOR PPI Powered By Docstoc
					                                      ONCE UPON A TIME …..
      Published originally as “Publish and be praised” in Pulp Paper International, August, 2003
Many companies or sites with an environmental management system (EMS) will have a clause within
their environmental policy stating their commitment to open, transparent communication about their
environmental activities. One of the significant differences within the spectrum of business attitudes to
environmental communications is the degree to which this is pro-active (ie voluntarily placing
information in the public domain) or reactive (ie waiting for questions to be posed before giving
anything away). Non-disclosure in this field can, often mistakenly, be perceived as trying to hide
something, particularly when your competitors adopt a more open approach. Along with other
industries that have had their share of media exposure, the pulp and paper sector has learnt that a
positive stance is usually best as this demonstrates at least a degree of competence in understanding
their environmental effects and managing the associated risks.
Even for companies having an EMS certified to the international standard ISO 14001, however, an open
stance does not mean that they have to publish anything beyond the environmental policy. This is the
defining difference between ISO 14001 and the alternative EMS regime, the EU's Eco-management and
Audit Scheme (EMAS), which requires publishing a statement about the site's environmental status, but
this scheme is not available outside the EU. There are about 90 EU paper mill sites currently verified to
EMAS compared to around 400 certified worldwide to ISO 14001. Apart from a few countries such as
Denmark, Norway and, a recent addition, France, there are no mandatory requirements on disclosure of
environmental information, so what you communicate and how you do it is left up to the company
There are several ways that a company can disseminate information about its environmental
performance, such as short periodic newsletters and press releases, but the dominant form so far has
been the environmental report, most commonly in a corporate form covering the global business. As is
evident in the accompanying table about reporting at the largest 20 paper companies, environmental
reporting has a rather short history, the first report being in 1990 from Norske Skog (then a relatively
small company at no.50 in the world ranking). At that time, there was little guidance available to help
companies decide what to include in such reports, but it wasn't long before help was at hand from
numerous organisations on the best way to report and on the most appropriate indicators to use.
The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has got involved in many aspects of environmental
management beyond just ISO 14001, including ISO 14031 on environmental performance indicators
(see article in PPI, 1999, October, also on the Paperloop website), but it has taken some time to get to
grips with reporting. This changed in 2001 when it's environmental technical committee (TC 207)
established a new working group to produce a generic standard on environmental communications.
This document (ISO 14063) is currently in the form of a working draft and is due to be published by
September 2004. It will address all forms of communication (not just reports), but will not be used for
certification purposes.
What is also evident in the accompanying table is the changing style of these reports, which have been
extended to include health and safety information for some time, although this is still something that is
more common in the chemical industry under its Responsible Care programme. However, the most
significant change in the last few years has been the transition from purely environmental reports to
sustainability reports by also embracing the social and economic aspects of a company's affairs (see last
year's December issue for coverage of the issues surrounding sustainability). One of the drivers behind
this wider reporting has been the work of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an off-shoot of CERES
(the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies), who had already developed an
environmental reporting structure based on their ten principles of environmentally responsible corporate
behaviour. The GRI guidelines for sustainability reporting were published in their latest version in
2002, but it is accepted that the guidelines will continue to evolve in a rolling programme over future
The signs are that these broader reports (whether they are called "sustainability reports" or "corporate
responsibility reports" or something else) will become the lead vehicle for making information available
in all areas other than the purely financial. In order to keep these reports of reasonable length for the
larger companies, there may well be a need for subsidiary reports providing more details on just the
environmental or social aspects or, more likely, on specific operating units or on types of group activity.
A good example of this was provided by Weyerhaueser, who published for 2001 not only a Citizenship
Report, but also an Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) report. The Citizenship report had a much
"softer" feel than the EHS report, which gave much more quantitative "hard" data for the technically-
minded reader. It will be interesting to see how these elements are combined in what will be
Weyerhaueser's first sustainability report this year.
In the early days of environmental reporting, the only medium for delivering this information was, of
course, via the printed page and it used to be obligatory to define the key environmental attributes of the
paper (and sometimes of the printing process) on the front or back cover. Today, things are very
different with web-based distribution via downloadable report files becoming the norm and some
companies (such as British Telecom) eschewing completely a paper-based version. Paper companies
may have a natural reluctance to go down this road, but experience to date suggests that electronic
distribution does not mean less paper, but rather a different (and usually more expensive) type to suit
the needs of a small-scale office printer rather than a large-scale commercial printer. Having said that,
the writer has managed to read all the reports mentioned in the table without any printing so, even for
one of the older generation, habits change and new patterns develop (not necessarily with a complete
analysis of the associated environmental implications).
It is not surprising that every company in the largest 10 paper companies publishes an environmental or
sustainability report, but it is surprising that some have not done so until the last few years and that
there are some big companies that still don't (see table). Equally, there are some smaller paper
companies that have recognised the challenge of environmentally-sound and sustainable operation and
that this makes a story well worth telling. Taking one company at random from near the bottom of the
PPI Top 150 in 2001, Millar Western Forest Products owns one and manages a second bleached
chemithermo-mechanical pulp mill in Canada. In 2000, it published a 32-page environmental review of
operations covering forestry and its timber/pulp production.
Turning to the bigger scene, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has published
several environmental reports over the last few years, its latest in 2002 entitled "Moving towards more
sustainability". Whilst a lot of useful data is presented here, there are the not-unexpected problems of
incomplete coverage across all the mills, eg data on effluent treatment for 42% of market products and
on waste management methods for 55%. Establishing trends over time is thus very difficult, if not
impossible, but this is also true within individual companies as mergers/acquisitions and closures take
place. The American Forest and Paper Association (AFPA) requires that its members adhere to a eight
EHS principles and has established a verification programme to check this. The results of the first such
assessment were published earlier this year for 2000 with seemingly 100% input from AFPA members.
In Australia, the Paper Industry Council (APIC) signed a 3-year eco-efficiency agreement with
Environment Australia in 2000 whereby it undertook to implement, survey and report on certain eco-
efficiency measures on behalf of its members. Eco-efficiency is a term coined by the World Business
Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and is defined as some indicator of business value
divided by some indicator of environmental influence, eg net sales or mass production on the value side
and various consumption parameters (energy, water and materials) and various emission parameters
(greenhouse gases, ozone-depleting substances) on the impact side. The selected indicators replicate the
same ones widely used elsewhere - energy use; CO2 and NOx emissions to air; TSS, COD, BOD and
AOX discharges to water; waste recycled and landfilled; and dioxin/furan releases to water and air.
Eco-labels are another way of presenting environmental information and again these began to take off in
the early 1990s. Here though, the data is provided in relation to a product rather than for a site or across
many sites within a company. Moreover, most eco-labels do not simply present the information, but
make a judgement by only allowing products that meet certain criteria to get the eco-label in the first
place. Eco-labels were last reviewed in PPI's October 2000 issue, but not much has changed in the
intervening 3 years. The EU Eco-Label has just one qualifying product in the copier paper category (one
less than 3 years ago), but there are now 15 tissue grades from 7 manufacturers. Copier paper is faring
better under the Nordic Swan label with 16 approved manufacturers, mainly from the Nordic countries,
but also from Belgium, Germany and Austria. Tissue products are still stronger with 27 licenses, but
packaging paper is still waiting for its first qualifying grade under Nordic Swan.
Under the ISO system, there are three different types of eco-label:
 Type I labels (ISO 14024) where the criteria are set and qualification verified by an independent
      body (as in the above)
 Type II labels (ISO 14021) where the criteria are self-set and self-certified
 Type III labels (ISO Technical Report 14025), also referred to as product declarations or report
      cards, where no judgement is made about the environmental soundness of the product, but
      information is made available on certain environmental attributes.
In order to conform to ISO TR 14025, EPD systems have to meet certain criteria:
   be part of a formal Type III programme
   provide product-related data using a standard set of parameters covering the product life cycle
   use a quality assurance system for the data input and for checking compliance
   use an open consultation process that is public and documented.
Type III schemes are available in several countries (Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea and
Sweden), the oldest and best-known in the paper sector being Canada's Environmental Product
Declaration Scheme (EPDS). A more recent scheme is called Paper Profile, which was set up by
several paper companies - Arctic Paper (formerly Trebruk), Holmen, Klippan, M-Real, Myllykoski,
Norske Skog, Sappi, SCA and UPM-Kymmene. Both schemes have much in common, sharing a
number of environmental attributes such as the existence and type of environmental management
systems; sourcing of raw fibre; energy use; emissions to water, air and land (although not identical
parameters). In addition, Paper Profile gives a useful breakdown of the product (content of pulps,
pigments, binders and moisture) and the EPDS requires data on fresh water use and global warming
and acidification potentials.
The EPDS has been used by at least three Canadian paper companies (Canfor, Stora Enso and Tembec)
with Tembec having publicly-available EPDs for about 20 of its pulp and paper products. The actual
use of Paper Profile amongst its developers is rather varied. M-real has published Paper Profiles for 32
of its papers on its website and UPM-Kymmene has publicly-available Profiles for 20 of its papers.
Most of the others seem to have decided not to make them publicly available, but only use them
internally and for business-to-business purposes with their customers. An EU report on type III
schemes in 2002 confirms that business-to-business transactions do offer the best application for these
schemes, on the perhaps-dubious premise that businesses have the necessary expertise to evaluate the
information provided, whereas consumers prefer the officially-sanctioned type I labels. In the recent
communication on its Integrated Products Policy (IPP), the EU Commission shows itself in no great
hurry to make a decision about promoting type III labels, putting off any decision until 2005.
In practice, all of the different ways of presenting environmental information described above are
complimentary and need to be developed for different stakeholders. EPDs provide a compact snapshot
of a time-segment of a production site for paper users, whilst the more comprehensive EMAS-style site
reports are arguably most valuable for site employees, local people and regulators. Corporate reports,
whether covering just environmental aspects or sustainability, give an integrated view of the total
business that will attract the interest of analysts, the financial community and anyone looking for an
acquisition or merger opportunity. The most searching assessments of a company's environmental
position are probably found in this last area as part of the process of due diligence and these would
probably make the most interesting reading should they ever get published externally.

           Company                   1st year report                        Title of current report
     Abitibi-Consolidated   1993 (Abitibi-Price)               Sustainability
     Arjo Wiggins           1994 (Fine papers division only)   None current
     Domtar                 -                                  None
     Georgia Pacific        1996                               Environment and safety
     International Paper    1993                               Sustainability
     Jefferson Smurfit      -                                  None
     Kimberly-Clark         2000                               Environment
     MeadWestvaco           1994 (Mead)                        Sustainable development (Mead)
                                                               Safety, health and environment (Westvaco)
     Mondi                  -                                  None
     M-real                 1992 (Metsa-Serla)                 Environment
     Nippon                 1999                               Environment
     Norske Skog            1990                               Environment
     Oji paper              2000                               Environment
     Procter & Gamble       1993                               Sustainability
     Sappi                  2003 (Sustainability)              None yet
     SCA                    1998                               Environmental and Social
     Smurfit-Stone          2000                               Environmental Stewardship
     Stora Enso             1995 (Stora)                       Environment and Resources
     UPM-Kymmene            1995                               Corporate responsibility
     Weyerhaueser           1992                               Citizenship
                                                               Environment, health & safety

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