Positioned at the heart of the circular and bioeconomy, Stora Enso strives to improve resource efficiency – to make more with less. This benefits our business, as well as the environment and society.
In 2017, the utilisation rate for residuals and by-products across the group was 98%, including both internal and external use.
During 2017, we introduced a new "total water withdrawal per saleable tonne" key performance indicator (KPI) at our board, pulp and paper mills. The objective is to drive a decreasing trend from our 2016 baseline of 57 cubic meters per saleable tonne. In 2017, the performance was 56. We also continued to monitor our normalised process water discharges. In 2017, we discharged 26 cubic meters per saleable tonne.
Our group-wide target is to reduce specific electricity and heat consumption per tonne of pulp, paper, and board production by 15% by 2020, compared with the baseline year of 2010. In 2017, this indicator was 4.2% lower than the 2010 benchmark level.
Our production processes generate various residuals and wastes, including ash, black liquor, sawdust, bark, and wastewater treatment sludge. Many of these materials are used in our internal bioenergy generation and pulp production, or supplied to our partners for uses such as agriculture, brick manufacturing, or road construction. In 2017, the utilisation rate for process residuals and waste throughout the group was 98%, including both internal and external reuse.
While our mills require large amounts of water, only around 4% is consumed in our production processes and almost 96% is returned to the local environment. Process water is purified by our treatment plants and then discharged, whereas cooling and other non-process water can be safely released without treatment. Our water use is regulated by the relevant authorities based on local conditions and operational permits.
Our energy supply is managed under long-term contracts, direct market access through energy exchanges, efficient combined heat and power production, and shareholdings in power generation companies.
Stora Enso is committed to continuous improvements in energy efficiency and energy self-sufficiency. We always assess the opportunities to use biomass fuels and other low-carbon options when making energy investments. Our central energy efficiency investment fund is a cornerstone of our continuous energy efficiency work.
Global warming, population growth, and urbanisation are global megatrends that are bringing about significant long-term changes around the world. At Stora Enso we strive to respond proactively to these trends by developing products and technologies based on renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable materials. Replacing the use of fossil-based resources with renewable raw materials is the foundation for a sustainable bioeconomy.
Most of our mills use substantial amounts of biomass in their internal energy production. This renewable energy is generated from by-products and residuals from our own production processes, harvesting residues, recovered wood and wastes.
Although most of our production units are located in regions where water is relatively abundant, global water scarcity may still impact our operations in the long-term through our supply chains, and as controls on pollution, recycling, and water pricing are toughened.
Our commitment to respect human rights covers all our operations, including our employees, contractors, suppliers, and surrounding communities.