Relevant Issues (5 of 26)
- GHG Emissions The category addresses direct (Scope 1) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that a company generates through its operations. This includes GHG emissions from stationary (e.g., factories, power plants) and mobile sources (e.g., trucks, delivery vehicles, planes), whether a result of combustion of fuel or non-combusted direct releases during activities such as natural resource extraction, power generation, land use, or biogenic processes. The category further includes management of regulatory risks, environmental compliance, and reputational risks and opportunities, as they related to direct GHG emissions. The seven GHGs covered under the Kyoto Protocol are included within the category—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
- Air Quality The category addresses management of air quality impacts resulting from stationary (e.g., factories, power plants) and mobile sources (e.g., trucks, delivery vehicles, planes) as well as industrial emissions. Relevant airborne pollutants include, but are not limited to, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), oxides of sulfur (SOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, particulate matter, and chlorofluorocarbons. The category does not include GHG emissions, which are addressed in a separate category.
- Energy Management The category addresses environmental impacts associated with energy consumption. It addresses the company’s management of energy in manufacturing and/or for provision of products and services derived from utility providers (grid energy) not owned or controlled by the company. More specifically, it includes management of energy efficiency and intensity, energy mix, as well as grid reliance. Upstream (e.g., suppliers) and downstream (e.g., product use) energy use is not included in the scope.
- Water & Wastewater Management The category addresses a company’s water use, water consumption, wastewater generation, and other impacts of operations on water resources, which may be influenced by regional differences in the availability and quality of and competition for water resources. More specifically, it addresses management strategies including, but not limited to, water efficiency, intensity, and recycling. Lastly, the category also addresses management of wastewater treatment and discharge, including groundwater and aquifer pollution.
- Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
- Ecological Impacts
- Human Rights & Community Relations
- Customer Privacy
- Data Security
- Access & Affordability
- Product Quality & Safety
- Customer Welfare
- Selling Practices & Product Labeling
- Labor Practices
- Employee Health & Safety
- Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
Business Model & Innovation
- Product Design & Lifecycle Management
- Business Model Resilience
- Supply Chain Management The category addresses management of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks within a company’s supply chain. It addresses issues associated with environmental and social externalities created by suppliers through their operational activities. Such issues include, but are not limited to, environmental responsibility, human rights, labor practices, and ethics and corruption. Management may involve screening, selection, monitoring, and engagement with suppliers on their environmental and social impacts. The category does not address the impacts of external factors – such as climate change and other environmental and social factors – on suppliers’ operations and/or on the availability and pricing of key resources, which is covered in a separate category.
- Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
- Physical Impacts of Climate Change
Leadership & Governance
- Business Ethics
- Competitive Behavior
- Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment
- Critical Incident Risk Management
- Systemic Risk Management
Disclosure Topics (industry specific) for:
Pulp & Paper Products
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Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The manufacturing of pulp and paper products generates direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the combustion of fossil fuels and biomass in stationary and mobile engines, cogeneration boilers, and other processing equipment. Companies in this industry also typically use significant amounts of carbon-neutral biomass for their energy needs, the use of which can reduce the costs associated with purchasing fossil fuels, as well as mitigate regulatory risk associated with carbon emissions. Emissions associated with fossil fuel sources can create regulatory compliance costs, depending on the magnitude of emissions and the prevailing emissions regulations. Companies that cost-effectively manage GHG emissions through greater energy efficiency, the use of alternative fuels, or manufacturing process improvements can benefit from improved operating efficiency and reduced regulatory compliance costs.
Pulp and paper products mills emit air emissions including sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. The sources of emissions include cogeneration fuel boilers, pulp and paper pressure chambers, wood chip pulping, pulping chemical recovery, and process engines. While emissions from the industry have declined considerably in recent years, emissions abatement expenditures can be significant, while evolving air-quality regulations can create regulatory uncertainty. Companies that can cost-effectively reduce air emissions can improve operational efficiency, benefit from a lower cost structure, and mitigate regulatory risk.
Pulp and paper products manufacturing is energy-intensive. In most facilities, energy is derived primarily from the combustion of biomass and fossil fuels, while purchased electricity may also be used in some facilities. Decisions regarding the generation of electricity on-site versus sourcing it from the grid, as well as the use of biomass and other renewable energy, can create trade-offs related to the energy supply’s cost and reliability for operations and the extent of the regulatory risk from Scope 1 or other air emissions. The manner in which a company manages its energy efficiency, its reliance on different types of energy and the associated sustainability risks, and its ability to access alternative energy sources is likely to mitigate impacts of energy cost variability.
Water & Wastewater Management
Pulp and paper products manufacturing is typically a water-intensive process, with water use occurring during in materials processing, process cooling, and steam generation at on-site energy plants. Companies require ample, stable water supplies and may produce large volumes of wastewater, the majority of which is treated and returned to the environment. Process water typically contains dissolved organic compounds and other solids, underscoring the importance of water treatment. In addition to water effluents, water availability is an important consideration for the industry, as water scarcity could result in higher supply costs, supply disruptions, or tension with local water users. Companies can adopt various strategies to address water supply and treatment issues, such as cost-effectively enhancing the recycling of process water, improving production techniques to lower water intensity, and ensuring compliance with water-effluent regulations.
Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain Management
Pulp and paper products companies source wood and wood fiber from forestry management companies, paper fiber recyclers, and forests that the companies themselves manage. Supply-chain risks include decreased productivity of forestlands due to management practices or climate change, regulations addressing sustainable forest management, and reputational impacts. To mitigate such risks and satisfy growing customer demand for sustainably sourced fiber and paper products, manufacturers implement forest certification and fiber chain-of-custody standards which verify that virgin and recycled fiber originate from sustainably managed forests. In addition, pulp and paper manufacturers face trade-offs from the use of recovered fiber. Products with recycled content are increasingly in demand , providing a possible avenue for product differentiation, while using recycled fiber can minimize the need for virgin fiber. Conversely, manufacturing products with a greater recycled content can increase waste generation and energy consumption, while recycled fiber can be costlier, given demand-supply gaps. Therefore, companies can benefit by optimizing recycled fiber use to balance its environmental and economic trade-offs.
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