Sofidel is particularly careful to the sources of energy used in the production process, the energy efficiency of its plants and the correct management of the water resource.
The paper production process is defined as a high energy consuming activity, which requires great amounts of energy. To achieve it in an increasingly sustainable manner, Sofidel focuses great attention on the employed energy sources, as well as the energy efficiency of its production plants and processes.
Since 2008 Sofidel has made public commitments for the reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions, certifying its inventory of emissions by third-party and independent bodies annually.
Sofidel invested in ten years (2009 – 2018) about 100 million euros in cogeneration plants and energy production from renewable sources (photovoltaic and hydroelectric), biomass power plants and energy efficiency.
As of today, the Group has reduced direct emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere by 17.9% (reduction in carbon intensity, 2009-2019).
Sofidel’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets to 2030 have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as consistent with reductions required to keep warming to well-below 2°C, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Sofidel’s commitment toward the SBTi milestone is pursued through a significant use of renewable electricity and the increasing introduction of systems for optimizing energy consumption at its production sites. The Group has a long collaboration with the most important paper and energy technology developers, ready to experiment innovative low-carbon solutions.
Sofidel’s attention to technological innovation and asset quality – with the consequent availability of production plants that are on average younger and better performing than those in the industry – also helps the Group pursue its objectives in the areas of energy efficiency, clean energy and reduction of climate-altering emissions.
Water is a fundamental resource in the paper industry: it’s the substance in which the raw material (the cellulose) is dissolved. The tissue paper production process requires a great quantity of water, a great proportion of which is reintroduced to the environment.
Sofidel tackles the issue of safeguarding water resources from several points of view. The commitment to responsible management of the resource, is pursued through management measures, specific investments in innovation, as well as policies of reduction of water consumption and reuse of waste water.
Among the main management measures adopted in the Sofidel plants are use of recycled water for operations that originally involved the use of fresh water, pumping systems with dry seals, use of rainwater and use of alarm and monitoring systems that inform staff of anomalous consumption.
Among the most significant investments are the Waste Water Reuse plant at the paper mill Soffass via Giuseppe Lazzareschi in Porcari (Lucca, Italy), for reusing waste water for production purposes. An investment that permits, at full capacity, a saving of about 230,000 m3 of water per year. The plant features three different purification phases (biological process; use of ultrafiltration membrane batteries; reverse osmosis system treatment). Thanks to this technology, the water used per kilogram of paper produced in this production site reaches – at maximum system efficiency conditions – the value of 3.9 l/kg, an exceptional figure.
Another investment worthy of mention is the one at the Intertissue Baglan plant in the United Kingdom, where a system for recovering rainwater has been activated, employing an area of 82,000 m2 and permitting a reduction in water consumption of more than 47,000 m3 per year.
Today, all waste water from Sofidel paper mills is treated by biological purification systems. Many of them are integrated within the mill, whereas others are external and managed by third parties.
As a whole, this commitment has led Sofidel to achieve significant results, with an average use of water per kilogram of paper produced decidedly lower than that considered good practice for the sector (7.3 l/kg vs. 15–25 l/kg in 2019).