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AF&PA releases 2020 sustainability report

July 23, 2020  By P&PC Staff

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has released its 2020 sustainability report, which highlights the U.S. paper and wood products industry’s sustainability efforts.

AF&PA member companies have been required to adhere to and report biennially on a set of environmental, health and safety (EHS) principles (since they were adopted in 1998) and sustainable procurement principles. The 2020 report reflects members’ progress in 2018.

“Nearly a decade ago, AF&PA members introduced a set of sustainability goals that continue to demonstrate a commitment to improving the environment and ensuring the safety of our workers,” says Heidi Brock, president and CEO of AFPA, in a statement.


“Today, we have many reasons to be proud. We have achieved many of our goals, including reducing workplace injuries, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency in manufacturing facilities.”

Accomplishments based on 2018 calendar year performance (except where noted) include:

  • AF&PA member companies achieved a 38.4 per cent improvement in the safety incidence rate from the 2006 baseline, surpassing the 25 per cent goal. There were 1.617 recordable cases per 200,000 hours worked in 2018, compared to 2.625 in 2006.
  • AF&PA members adhere to sustainable fibre procurement principles, which assure that wood is sourced from suppliers who are committed to sustainable management and harvesting practices. Members procured 99 per cent of the total wood fibre through a certified sourcing program – a 12 per cent increase from the 2005 baseline.
  • AF&PA members’ purchased energy use per ton of product was 13.3 per cent lower than the baseline year, surpassing the goal to improve energy efficiency by 10 per cent. Member pulp and paper mills self-generated 55 per cent of the electricity needed to power their mills in 2018, most of which was renewable using carbon-neutral biomass manufacturing residuals.
  • Members surpassed their goal, reducing GHG emissions – measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) per ton of product – by 23.2 per cent from the 2005 baseline.
  • AF&PA members’ pulp and paper mill water use per ton of product decreased by 6.9 per cent, largely unchanged from recent years. When adjusted to provide greater weight to reductions occurring at mills in water-stressed areas, pursuant to the World Resources Institute (WRI) aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, members reduced process water use by 13.1 per cent.
  • In 2019, the paper recycling rate was 66.2 per cent, falling shy of the 70 per cent goal, but still, nearly a 15 per cent increase from the 2005 baseline.

“This year, our industry also rose to another unexpected challenge. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic reinforced the role our industry plays in producing essential products for safe and healthy living,” Brock says.

“I am heartened to see that we continue to rise to every occasion, whether it is a goal we set for ourselves or challenges we face in the global marketplace.”

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