As a global industry leader, Resolute Forest Products manufactures and markets a diverse range of products, including specialty papers, newsprint, market pulp and wood products. Resolute is fortunate that our primary input – wood – is a renewable resource, and that our paper products are recyclable. Yet this alone does not make our products sustainable.
To further improve our environmental performance, the company has implemented sustainable forestry practices and responsible fiber sourcing. We have also made significant investments in improving the environmental performance of our manufacturing processes, including the development of innovative products that maximize our use of fiber. In 2012, we launched a strategy to promote our Align™ brand of eco-efficient grades of paper produced with mechanical pulp, further supporting product stewardship by building awareness of these grades in the marketplace. Among other environmental benefits, these papers help our customers reduce their carbon footprint. In 2014, we expanded our Align brand of papers by adding two more grades: Hybrid and Alternative. For more information on our two new grades, read this post on our blog.
Papers Aligned with Today’s Environmental Needs
Our Align portfolio of super-brite specialty papers uses up to 50% less wood fiber than offset papers, such as uncoated freesheet (UFS), as a result of a fiber-efficient thermomechanical pulping (TMP) process. Because mechanical papers deliver better opacity and bulk than UFS at equivalent basis weights, a lower basis weight can be used, saving the end-user money. These papers, in addition to using less wood fiber than UFS, generally need less energy and fewer chemicals to produce and are more eco-efficient than UFS papers.
To evaluate the environmental benefits of our Align brands, Resolute commissioned a life cycle assessment (LCA) comparing the Align grades with the North American freesheet market.
This cradle-to-grave analysis compared the environmental impacts of the production, transportation, usage and disposal of Align coated and uncoated grades to the average for North American freesheet paper. The analysis found that the Align uncoated grades have a smaller environmental impact than UFS over the product lifecycle in 14 of the 15 categories examined. Our Align coated grade was found to have a smaller environmental impact than the North American coated freesheet average in 13 of the 15 categories.
Ultimately, Align helps us reduce our carbon footprint and gives our customers access to a quality supply of environmentally responsible paper without paying a premium.
These products also support Resolute's commitment to develop and offer products that help our customers reduce their environmental footprint as well.
Tracing our Products to Their Source
Increasingly, customers are asking for assurance that the pulp, paper and wood products they buy from Resolute originate from responsible sources. All of our North American pulp and paper mills and wood products facilities have fiber-tracking systems that enable the company to follow the flow of wood from origin, through manufacturing processes, to the customer. All of these tracking systems are certified by independent third-party audit firms to one or more internationally recognized chain of custody (CoC) standards and this provides assurance that our wood comes from acceptable sources.
A CoC-certified tracking system allows us to track and document exactly how much wood and wood fiber comes from forests certified to a sustainable forest management (SFM) standard. Under CoC standards, minimum due diligence requirements must also be met for the uncertified content; these requirements relate to risks of illegal logging, wood harvested in violation of human rights, and other important sustainability issues. This practice enables manufacturers and traders to avoid timber and timber products from unacceptable sources. Depending on the specific CoC standard, additional requirements may relate to such issues as high conservation values (HCV), conversion of forests to non-forest uses, genetically modified tree planting, corruption, indigenous rights and/or workers’ rights.
Additional information on certification and fiber sourcing can be found on the Forest Certification page.
Another crucial consideration in terms of stewardship is what happens to a product at the end of its useful life. Resolute transforms recycled fiber into more than 30 different grades of brand-new paper ranging from book grades, hi-brites and super-brites to supercalendered grades and, of course, newsprint and directory grades.
The company operates two 100% recycled pulp mills in Menominee (Michigan) and Fairmont (West Virginia). In 2015, Resolute used over 920 000 metric tons of recovered paper. To learn more about the environmental tradeoffs and benefits, visit our Recycled Content page.