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AN UPDATE ON EMS / ISO 14001 AT CANADIAN MILLS


March 1, 2000
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The Canadian pulp and paper industry is being a leader in the implementation of environmental management systems (EMS) and there is currently a push for mills to obtain ISO 14001 registration. Several…

The Canadian pulp and paper industry is being a leader in the implementation of environmental management systems (EMS) and there is currently a push for mills to obtain ISO 14001 registration. Several large corporations such as Abitibi-Consolidated, Kruger and Smurfit-Stone have set internal deadlines for EMS implementation and/or ISO 14001 registration by the end of the year or by the end of 2001.

Although all mills have existing systems in place (some more structured than others), the reasons for setting up a formal EMS and becoming certified vary from one company to the next. The most common reasons appear to be:

1. to improve customer relations with clients that demand environmental responsibility;

2. to satisfy shareholders (minimize environmental risk);

3. to demonstrate a pro-active approach and due diligence with respect to environmental issues; and,

4. to respond to pressure from regulatory agencies due to historical environmental problems.

In fact, I haven’t heard any company representatives say that they would not implement an EMS. Due to the current trend and industry acceptance of the EMS concept, most mills appear to have decided in favor of EMS implementation. Whether they elect to become ISO14001-registered appears to be simply a matter of time.

THE IMPLEMENTATION APPROACH

The way in which mills are developing and implementing an EMS varies from one facility to the next. Mills will use external consultants at varying degrees of involvement. In some cases, they are used as facilitators and their primary responsibilities include:

Training on the structure of an EMS and the identification and ranking of environmental aspects

Conducting Gap analyses and ranking of environmental aspects

Providing a detailed schedule and resource estimate for full EMS implementation

Conducting internal EMS audits and auditor training

Some facilities, due to a lack of internal resources and tight deadlines, may use consultants more extensively to prepare EMS documentation and conduct specific operator training. In the end, registration can always be obtained, but discussions with mill representatives suggests that companies that have involved their employees in the development of the system from day one will benefit from an easier implementation and registration process.

Hence, the formation of an “EMS Committee” is critical at the onset of EMS planning. Again, depending on the company these committees are made up of many different players. In the case of Louisiana-Pacific Inc. in Chester, NS, Mike Tulkens (Environmental Superintendent) explained that their EMS Committee includes four management representatives and eight mill operators (union staff). Each of the eight operators heads a team made up of other operators and their role is to collect information from the mill floor and produce workable standard operating procedures (SOP). A total of 60 SOPs have been generated and validated by the EMS Committee, and are now being used for training mill personnel during the routine health and safety meetings held at the mill. The whole system was developed internally without the help of consultants and was based on an EMS approach developed by Louisiana-Pacific. Tulkens expects the step to ISO 14001 to be relatively simple.

In the case of another mill the EMS Committee meets once per week and is made up primarily of mill departmental superintendents. EMS team members are assigned tasks every week and are responsible for delegating the work within their respective departments. One of the issues is often time and resources and based on discussions with a few mill representatives I recommend that companies take a gradual approach and leave themselves sufficient time for developing an effective EMS (i.e. 1 to 1.5 years). One recommendation made by Michel Langlois (EMS/ISO 14001 trainer for CSA and QMI Inc.) is that EMS Committees include personnel from the health and safety group as well as departmental supervisors. Langlois says that companies typically benefit from a multi-disciplinary committee that also involves union personnel.

David Wilson (Ecologico Inc.), a senior consultant specializing in EMS has kindly provided the following list of Canadian pulp and paper mills that are currently registered to ISO 14001:

Bowater Inc., Thunder Bay, ON, and Gatineau, QC

Cariboo Pulp and Paper, Quesnel, BC

Crestbrook Forest Industries (pulp mill & 3 sawmills), Cranbrook, BC

E.B. Eddy Specialty Papers, Espanola, ON

Fletcher Challenge Canada (Crofton, Elk Falls, Mackenzie mill sites), BC

Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Port Mellon, BC

Kruger Inc. (linerboard conversion mill), Rexdale, ON

Lake Utopia Paper, St. George, NB

Millar Western Forest Products, Whitecourt, AB

Millar Western Pulp, Meadow Lake, SK

Norampac (three corrugated box mills), Ontario

Prince George Pulp and Paper (two mills), Prince George, BC

Produits Forestiers Donohue Inc., Clermont, QC

Spruce Falls Inc.(newsprint mill and sawmill), Kapuskasing, ON

Western Pulp Ltd. Partnership, Squamish Operations, Squamish, BC

Wilson also notes the following news:

1. A joint ISO 9000 / ISO 14000 auditing standard is currently being developed by ISO to increase the compatibility of both standards. The intent is to simplify and reduce costs for companies registered to both standards. It is estimated that the joint auditing standard will be made available by late 2001.

2. ISO 14031, a new guideline for environmental performance evaluation and ISO TR 14032, a technical reference document providing case studies on environmental performance evaluation was scheduled for publication in late 1999.

3. ISO 14042 & ISO 14043, standards for Life Cycle Assessment and Impact assessment should be finalized in early 2000.

Industry representatives who wish to have a more complete update of EMS at Canadian mills should contact CPPA (514-866-6621) or PAPTAC (514-392-0265).

Measurable cost savings associated with EMS implementation at mills remains to be clearly identified and made public. One of the challenges for companies is putting in place proper cost-tracking tools to measure environmental cost savings. The other challenge is estimating what type of environmental problem or disaster is being prevented, and what the cost of it could be? In the end, putting in place an EMS is just a wise business move given the current industry trend. P&PC


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