Ongoing public concerns about climate change, energy security and economic conditions keep energy use and greenhouse gas emissions top of mind for Sappi and our key stakeholders.
Energy is the third largest draw on our operating costs behind wood fiber and chemicals. As such, we hold a long-standing commitment to control energy usage. Environmental impact is affected not only by the amount of energy, but also by the type of energy consumed. We have made significant effort to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels to lower greenhouse gas emissions and to separate our operations from the volatility of energy prices.
The forest products industry is the largest producer of bioenergy of any industrial sector. In North America, over 70 percent of the total energy consumed by our mills is derived from renewable sources, resulting in the lowest average carbon footprint of domestic coated freesheet suppliers.
The chemical recovery process is an integral part of the pulping operations at both our Somerset and Cloquet mills where we convert trees into pulp for making paper and textile fibers like viscose and lyocell. This complex system recycles the chemicals used for cooking wood chips while also capturing tree bark and knots to feed a process that generates renewable, carbon neutral energy for the mills. By co-generating steam and electricity on site, our mills are extremely efficient and self sufficient. Click to watch our informative chemical recovery video and learn more about this important process.
In reporting greenhouse gas emissions, we do not include carbon dioxide emissions derived from biogenic sources (e.g., woody biomass and black liquor). Recognition of the carbon neutrality of biogenic fuels is the basis for various pieces of legislation around the world. Sappi fully supports the AF&PA recommendation to treat forest-derived biomass as carbon neutral where the growth rate of forests is greater than or equal to harvest levels. Accounting frameworks should be regional and consistent with the US Forest Service’s robust Forest Inventory and Analysis program. Furthermore, policies should not construct artificial mandates or incentives, which disrupt the nation’s existing efficient and balanced forest biomass markets.