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Environment

Carbon footprint: Swedish cardboard maker Iggesund prides itself on exemplarity

Environmental pressure is constantly increasing at every level of the packaging industry. Major user brands seek increasingly more accountability from their suppliers. For cardboard producers, the stakes are high. Especially as the false stories on their responsibilities as polluters die hard. One does not draw a line so easily on decades of allegations of forest destruction and of rivers or coastlines pollution. Iggesund, the paper manufacturer of Swedish origin who was in the past, more discreet about its environmental actions has decided to speak up. Guy Mallinson, Marketing Director, tells us more.

Premium Beauty News - From cradle to grave! An image that you are claiming?

Guy Mallinson - Yes, absolutely! The Holmen group which includes Iggesund is one of the few groups in the world in the paper industry to have its own forests. They are superior in size to the entire forest of the Landes Region in France. Forests consisting of more than 70% of pine trees and birch trees and ranging in age from 0 to 90 years depending of planting times and exploitation times. The Holmen Group is not only one of the largest Swedish forest owners but produces more than 30 million seedlings annually from managed forests which are, of course, FSC and PEFC certified. And when I say “managed”, I should add “carefully managed” with a yield that hasn’t stopped increasing in sixty years from 50 m3 to 115 m3 per hectare.

Guy Mallinson, Marketing Director, Iggesund

Guy Mallinson, Marketing Director, Iggesund

Premium Beauty News - Reducing the carbon footprint has become a major issue both vital and global. A recent survey has shown that there was virtually no articles on this subject in the world press in 2005 and that more than 35,000 of them were identified last year!

Guy Mallinson - And in the paper industry, I think we are now clearly among the best placed to talk about it. I would like to recall the definition of this concept of carbon footprint: “It is the measurement of the impact of human activities on the increase of the production of greenhouse gases, that is to say of carbon dioxide, these emissions being primarily due to the use of fossil fuels.

At Iggesund, I can tell you that this awareness did not start just yesterday, but that on the contrary, it is almost part of the company’s genes and that we have long since integrated and constantly adjusted the main constraints of our business which are namely the production of greenhouse gases, originating mainly from our industrial tool implemented to process wood and its bi-products, because of the use of fuels and of other raw materials, not to mention the impact represented by the production of steam, of heat or cold, as well as transportation.

Premium Beauty News - Can you give us a figure that illustrates the progress your made in this area?

Guy Mallinson - Yes of course! If I take, for example, as a reference, Invercote, our range of cardboard, its carbon footprint measured five years ago was of 485 kg/t. This year, we are at 258 kg/t, i.e. half what it was in 2006. The major gains were achieved upstream at the level of our forests exploitation and, downstream, at the end of life level of our products.

Premium Beauty News - In this area, is this pro-active and consistent policy going to gain momentum?
Guy Mallinson - To further reduce our CO2 emissions, we are currently investing 240 million and 120 million euros respectively in our plants in Sweden and in the UK, which is the equivalent of two thirds of our turnover. I recall that our industrial flexibility is always the same on these topics: Produce without using fossil fuels, be self-sufficient in terms of energy production, zero discharge of waste in the environment, use products that can be recycled or re-used for bio-energy, only discharge water that won’t affect in any possible way the fragile ecosystems of the Baltic.

Premium Beauty News - Efforts that also involve a continuous improvement of your industrial tool in terms of productivity!

Guy Mallinson - That’s right! The productivity of our factories is steadily increasing and we are reducing as much as possible the impact of our activities on the environment.

Jean-Yves Bourgeois

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