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Green Mill Index helps Propapier become forerunners in sustainability

(Editor's Note: The following is based on a January 4, 2012 Pöyry press release, plus additional information from Pöyry.)

The environmental sustainability of Progroup AG's Propapier´s PM2 mill site, located in Germany, has been successfully analyzed using the new Green Mill Index, developed by Pöyry for pulp and paper mills. The index is an analysis and benchmarking tool that represents the relationship of different indicators and overall environmental performance of a mill.

Progroup AG produces corrugated board formats as its core business. The Propapier PM2 produces high-quality corrugated board base papers exclusively on the basis of waste paper. The special technology of PM2 makes it possible to produce lightweight, fiber-saving new papers for lighter and at the same time more efficient corrugated boards of the "next generation."

According to Mr. Resvanis from Propapier, "Although our performance was excellent, there is always room for some improvement and we know now where to concentrate."

THE INDEX
According to Pöyry technology specialist Päivi Käki, the Green Mill Index was designed using eight main indicators which are compounded from approximately 50 sub-indices, "so it really takes a broad view of the environmental impacts of production."

Kaki explains that the Index combines the different factors that go into a mill's operation--raw material use, efficiency, water emissions, air emissions, solid waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and the effects of location and transport. The end product for a customer is an easy to understand chart and summary of how the mill is performing.

Many of the indicators in the Index are based on European Commission standards called best available technique (BAT) levels so that customers can see how they are performing against this well known guideline.

In designing the Index, Pöyry targeted the measurements that have specific relevance to mills. "In recent research by the Water Footprint Network, it was shown that some 99 per cent of the water footprint for paper originates from trees and other raw materials," says Oskari Frösén, a process engineer at Pöyry. "Only around 1 per cent of the water impacts come from paper-making."

Raw material use is another element that is often overlooked in other environmental assessments. "The Index takes into account not just fibers but also the chemicals and fillers used in processes. Additionally, it calculates any fuel that is used," says Käki. She mentions that to capture the full picture for mills that use waste paper, the Index considers the history of the mill's waste paper production in calculating raw material use.

According to Käki, BAT levels do not take into account transport, which is an important part of the environmental impact. To meet this need, the Index looks at the distance for the main raw materials to the mill, along with the distance to transport the end product. It also reviews the emissions and energy use for the transport modes that are used, be they trucks, rail or ships.

Unlike other tools that only provide information on a single sustainability indicator, the Green Mill Index represents the relations of different indicators and overall sustainability performance. As a result, it brings together all pertinent information in a manner that is easy to understand and input into operations. This makes it valuable for benchmarking operations by comparing different mills or different process solutions within a single mill, and improving a mill's sustainability performance by pinpointing strengths and weaknesses.

The Index can also be used to assess proposed investments by verifying that designs are based on sustainable solutions and technology, for environmental due diligence, and for external communications as a tool for annual and sustainability reports.

Concludes Mr. Resvanis from Propapier, "We want to be forerunners concerning environmental sustainability issues. Pöyry's Green Mill Index gave us a complete overview of our production and mill site performance."

For more information contact Ms Päivi Käki, Technology specialist at: [email protected].

 

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