Reducing air emissions, actively managing water use, and building community relationships are examples of work by Georgia-Pacific's operations that were honored this year through the company's Environmental Excellence Awards program. For 15 years, Georgia-Pacific has recognized projects and achievements that create value for society and exemplify GP's environmental vision.
"Across Georgia-Pacific, employees are using innovative approaches to help reduce our environmental impact and become a more sustainable business," said Jim Hannan, chief executive officer and president. "By continuously improving environmental performance in our operations, we are creating more value for the company and the communities where we operate. Our Environmental Excellence Awards help us recognize projects and programs that are leading the way."
Below are examples of projects receiving awards this year:
- Employees at Georgia-Pacific's Brewton, Ala., containerboard mill worked to reduce visible emissions from the mill by more than 70 percent from 2008 to 2009, even though emissions were within the mill's permit limits and historical norms. The operation has not had a visible emission since July 2009.
- Georgia-Pacific's tissue mill in Cuijk, The Netherlands, improved its wastewater treatment system to meet new upcoming environmental standards as well as lowered sulfur dioxide emissions and increased biogas generation from its anaerobic wastewater treatment system, which it uses to help fire its steam boilers. The mill went from being one of the highest sulfur dioxide emitters in The Netherlands' paper industry to being one of the lowest and notably increased its wastewater treatment system's efficiency.
- Georgia-Pacific's Consumer Products business took steps to improve energy efficiency, decrease fuel use and minimize the impact of its transportation on the environment. This included increasing the use of intermodal shipping, instituting an idle reduction policy and even using special technology in loading trucks that reduced the total number of trucks on the road. The group also decreased the total miles traveled from manufacturing point to customer delivery by four million miles. In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products a SmartWay(SM) Excellence Award winner.
- Georgia-Pacific Chemical's wood adhesives group developed a new line of low-emitting adhesives - called LEAFTMresins -- to meet market interest in new technology and a regulatory change in California that requires lower formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. The LEAF resins not only meet the emission requirements but also work well with existing manufacturing processes, minimizing the cost and efficiency impact to customers. The LEAF product line will continue to expand with other innovative low-emitting products.
- Georgia-Pacific's Nova Scotia gypsum operations established important relationships with local environmental organizations, government agencies and the First Nations community in its efforts to protect and maintain water quality in the area. These relationships have led to a successful river habitat restoration project as well as participation in planning for future management of the local watershed.
For Georgia-Pacific, balancing the social, environmental and economic needs of the marketplace and local communities is necessary to being sustainable. Creating wildlife habitat at large manufacturing facilities, designing home building products that improve indoor air quality and reduce waste, and self-generating from biomass more than half of its energy needs, are a few examples of the company's approach to sustainability highlighted in its updated online sustainability report available at www.gp.com/aboutus/sustainability.
"We believe that GP will remain a sustainable company by creating value the way we always have - continuously improving performance by providing products and services that customers value, using resources more efficiently, and remaining a valued part of the communities where GP employees live and work," said Bill Frerking, chief sustainability officer.