WATERFORD, NY, April 13, 2010 (Press Release) -Cascades Tissue Group, the fourth largest producer of tissue paper in North America, announces a signed agreement to nearly double its industry-leading commitment to purchase renewable wind energy for the production of its North River environmentally-preferable towel and tissue line. With this purchase, Cascades increases its wind energy commitment by purchasing 20,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of Green-e certified renewable energy credits annually, a 182 percent increase over current levels. The move reduces the company's indirect carbon emissions by over 43 million pounds -- equivalent to taking 3,745 cars off the road each year.
Cascades Tissue Group is a division of manufacturing and packaging leader Cascades, Inc. (CAS Toronto Exchange), considered a pioneer in recycled paper manufacturing for the last 45 years. Its commercial towel and tissue products are generally one-time use products destined for sewers and landfills. This fact motivates Cascades to continuously strive to remain an industry model of forward-thinking manufacturing, sustainability and carbon avoidance.
"We're excited about this new commitment, which raises the bar higher for ourselves and the industry," said Suzanne Blanchet, President and CEO of Cascades Tissue Group. "Our company has been at the forefront of environmental change within the paper industry since before the first Earth Day 40 years ago, but the time for heightened stewardship has never been more important than right now."
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the paper industry is the fourth largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions among U.S. manufacturing sectors. Compared to companies that utilize virgin fiber paper, Cascades' North River brand, made of 100 percent recycled paper, clearly makes a difference when it comes to its environmental impact. On average, a purchase of 100 cases of North River towel or tissue products (22 pounds net weight) will save 19 trees, 4,415 pounds of landfill waste, energy from a 100W bulb for six years, 1,918 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and almost 18,000 gallons of water.
The newly purchased wind energy will offset 100 percent of the electricity used to manufacture its North River line of commercial towel and tissue products. North River products are made from 100 percent recycled fiber with a majority of post-consumer material, are certified Green Seal, EcoLogo and Processed Chlorine Free. Cascades, Inc. used 2.1 million short tons of recycled fiber in 2009, helping to preserve over 35 million trees. It reuses each drop of water up to 40 times, using 80 percent less water than the North American industry average. The North River microsite (www.northriverwind.com) provides an Environmental Benefits Calculator for customers to evaluate their potential environmental savings from using North River brand versus virgin fiber alternatives.
First Tissue Manufacturer to Use Green-e Certified Wind Energy
Currently, there is no national renewable energy standard or requirement for pulp and paper producers. Cascades' environmental commitment starts with its roots, years of recycling experience and ongoing research and development. And in 2008, Cascades became the first manufacturer of its kind to use 100 percent Green-e certified wind-generated electricity for towel and tissue products.
Yet purchasing wind energy credits is just one example of how the company is reducing emissions and setting the bar as high as possible in sustainable manufacturing. Through a special energy investment fund created five years ago, Cascades financed 26 separate energy efficiency projects in 2009 amongst its plants. The initiatives saved over one percent of the company's total energy consumption, or 283,000 gigajoules. The company is believed to be the only papermaker to have its own pool of energy efficient experts and transparently reports its environmental performance through active participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project and via its award-winning sustainable development report.
Iowa Wind Farm Serves as Source
Cascades Tissue Group's annual 20,000 MWh of wind energy credits will be sourced from the Charles City Wind Farm located in northern Iowa and supplied by leading renewable energy developer and marketer Community Energy, Inc. Owned by MidAmerican Energy, the wind farm was built in 2008 and has a combined nameplate power capacity of 75 MW generated by 50 GE turbines. Cascades' purchase of domestic renewable energy credits encourages supplier partners to continue development of new wind projects, helping to fuel the growth of clean, renewable and emission-free energy. These projects drive rural job growth and lessen our dependence on fossil fuel-dependant energy sources.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa represents the second largest installed capacity of wind energy, trailing only Texas. Due to strong and steady wind flows, some estimates suggest that the Great Plains have the potential to produce about 25 percent more power than comparable sites on the coasts.
Recognized for being clean, renewable and emission-free, wind is the fastest growing U.S. energy source, expanding 39 percent, or 9,900 megawatts, in 2009. While it currently comprises a small fraction of all energy production, the U.S. Department of Energy predicts it could rise to 20 percent by 2024.
Founded in 1964, Cascades manufactures, converts and markets packaging and tissue products composed mainly of recycled fibers. Cascades employs close to 12,500 employees who work in more than 100 production units located in North America and Europe. The company's management philosophy, 45 years of experience in recycling and continued efforts in environmental research and development are strengths enabling it to create quality new products for its customers.
Cascades Tissue Group is a major tissue paper manufacturer for commercial and institutional markets, including office buildings, secondary and higher education, health care, hospitality, government and more. With 17 North American plants, Cascades Tissue Group offers its customers a wide range of sustainable quality products throughout North America.
For more information about Cascades Tissue Group and its North River environmental line, please visit www.cascades.com/tissuegroup/afh or www.northriverwind.com