Positioned at the heart of the circular 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 2019, the utilisation rate for residuals and by-products across the group was 98%, including both internal and external use.
The objective of our KPIs on total water withdrawal and process water discharges is to drive a downward trend from our 2016 baselines of 57 m3 and 27 m3 per saleable tonne, respectively. In 2019, our total water withdrawal was 57 m3 per saleable tonne (56 in 2018) and our process water discharges amounted to 27 m3 per saleable tonne (26 in 2018).
Our group-wide target was 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 2019, this indicator was 2.9% lower than the 2010 baseline (3.6% in 2018). Most of our production processes are energy intensive and therefore we have established an energy efficient target to achieve as a minimum 0,8% annual energy savings by 2030. The target is followed with a KPI describing the projected fraction of energy savings per total energy use of electricity and heat.
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, and land or road construction.
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 megatrends such as global warming, population growth, eco-awareness, and urbanisation are affecting consumer and corporate decision-making around the world. At Stora Enso, we proactively respond to these trends by developing products and solutions based on materials that are both renewable and recyclable. Replacing the use of fossil-based resources with renewable raw materials is the foundation for a sustainable bioeconomy.
A high proportion of biomass is used in the internal energy production of most of our mills. This renewable energy is generated from by-products and residuals from our own production processes, harvested residues, recovered wood, and waste streams.
While water is relatively abundant in most of our production locations, water scarcity may still impact operations locally and through our wider supply chains, as controls on pollution, recycling, and water pricing are tightened. Some mills have been impacted by water stress in terms of availability and increased water temperatures, and we consider water stewardship to be an area of increasing importance. At the same time, such challenges give us opportunities to reduce costs by using water more efficiently.
Our commitment to respect human rights covers all our operations, including our employees, contractors, suppliers, and surrounding communities.