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Innovation And Climate Change: From Concept To Reality


March 1, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The business seminars at the PAPTAC Annual Meeting 2009 were ripe with practical information relating to how pulp and paper companies can integrate the concepts of innovation and carbon management int…

The business seminars at the PAPTAC Annual Meeting 2009 were ripe with practical information relating to how pulp and paper companies can integrate the concepts of innovation and carbon management into their day-to- day operations.

Discussing his company’s carbon strategy, Phillipe Riebel said at the top of UPM-Kymmene’s list are decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and its carbon footprint.

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“Defined by Carbon Trust, carbon footprints are total emissions of greenhouse gases and carbon equivalents from a product across the life cycle, from the production of raw materials used in its manufacture to disposal of a finished product,” he explained.

“The decrease of greenhouse gases itself improves energy efficiency, by replacing fossil fuels with non-fossil energy. Energy-efficient logistics, such as using eco-efficient transport, shifting volume to rail and sea, or using a low-sulfate/alternative bio diesel, is an efficient choice,” he continued.

Riebel also commented on the “carbon profile” his organization created as a testimony to the importance of transparency.

“You can only know the influence of a carbon footprint if you measure it,” he stated. “We have a carbon report card if you want to know carbon per tonne of paper.”

Paul Lansbergen, director and secretary of the Forest Products Association of Canada, highlighted that climate change touches provincial, federal and U. S. congressional borders. “Climate change is a multi-jurisdictional action which overlaps and also presents potential confusion due to various baselines and provisions on carbon off-sets.”

Climate change director Frdric Gagnon-Lebrun of EcoRessources delved into the opportunities for the pulp and paper industry as an off-set provider through voluntary carbon market initiatives.

“There are certain steps to develop a project: you must document the project to get voluntary credit,” he said. These steps include the Preparation Phase, which could cost approximately $70,000 including feasibility studies and marketing to potential buyers. The Validation Phase could reach upwards of $30,000. This phase entails validation from a third party, certification, and product registration.

This investment translates into marketing opportunities to sell carbon neutral products, in addition to having increased consumer awareness.

Also touting the value of carbon management was the Sustainable Practice Group of Raymond Chabot.

“Climate strategy should be an overall strategy, not just an add-on,” advised Michelle Rgis. “It needs to be integrated from strategy to action and you need commitment from management, clear policies and objectives.”

Take action on innovation

The Wednesday morning session on “Innovation: A Key for the Future” discussed how organizations could transform traditional concepts and products into tangible innovation.

Keynote speaker Brian Engleman from SRI International (Stanford Research Institute) spoke about the five key aspects of innovation. SRI is the pioneer of several well-known inventions – the computer mouse, hypertext protocol, and low-cost solar grade silicon. “The five steps of innovation are customer and market needs; value creation; innovative champions; innovative teams; and organization alignment (from the top-down that provides goals to the bottom-up that provides ideas), all of which that are critical for improving innovation,” Engleman explained.

“Much of what is taught [about innovation] is wrong and counterproductive,” he continued. “Saying it is all about creativity, that discipline destroys creativity or that shareholders come first is wrong. This is why most organizations score a ‘C-‘ on innovation.”

Roger Gaudreault, R&D manager of Cascades Canada Inc., talked about the importance of implementing innovation.

“Traditional strategies make it difficult to win new markets. Innovation can increase competitiveness,” Gaudreault said. “Innovation at Cascades is defined as a new process, new product, and new method.”

Gaudreault also introduced the notion that people can be either conceptual thinkers or experimental ones. Ultimately, an assimilation of both frameworks is essential for innovative success, he explained.

“We want a quick answer, therefore we use a conceptual framework. But, we need a portfolio of both, even as we are increasingly faced with problems that can only be solved in a slow, steady way,” concluded Gaudreault, referring to the characteristics of the experimental model.

PPC

With files from Janelle Jordan.


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