AF&PA presents seven sustainability awards

Member companies were recognized for their efforts to improve workplace safety and the environment.

November 13, 2020

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), Washington, has announced its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Award winners. According to AF&PA, the award winners all feature exemplary sustainability programs and initiatives in the paper and wood products manufacturing industry. The association presents its awards 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,” says 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 developed its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Initiative nearly a decade ago. The initiative recognizes three pillars of sustainability—economic, environment and social—that collectively support long-term viability, growth and improvement. The following companies received AF&PA’s Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Awards:

Leadership in Sustainability – Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction: Resolute Forest Products for its modernization of Coosa Pines (Alabama) mill that has helped to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. AF&PA says Resolute’s $4 million upgrade to the Coosa Pines mill’s co-generation 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 for its aspects and impacts process to identify and reduce serious injuries and fatalities 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 its 20 percent improvement goal within the first year.

Leadership in Sustainability – Sustainable Forest Management: Evergreen Packaging for its family forests project. Through major investments in regional programs, AF&PA says 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 for its Somerset mill’s caustic reclaim and reuse project. Sappi North America’s Somerset Mill designed and installed a system that recovers used sodium hydroxide during boiler feed water preparation and repurposes caustic. According to AF&PA, 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 for its 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, AF&PA states. The 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 for its innovative and sustainable direct thermal technology. Appvion’s patent-pending technology is an innovation in direct thermal paper. AF&PA says 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 receipt paper and Appvion has applied the technology to thermal label and ticket products as well.

Innovation in Sustainability (Small Company): The Price Cos. for its restoration and management of marginal agricultural and timberlands. AF&PA reports that the Price Cos. 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. Full project summaries can be found online.