The forest industry reports on its environmental impact annually. The pulp and paper industry’s environmental statistics illustrate how environmental impacts have developed over the years.
New circular economy opportunities increase processing of side streams
For the forest industry, material efficiency and the comprehensive utilisation of raw materials are routine. The volume of pulp and paper industry waste that ends up at landfill continued to decline in 2016. Last year, the volume of landfill waste dropped by 11 per cent compared to 2015. Over the past five years, the volume of landfill waste has been halved. Approximately 95 per cent of production side streams are further refined via industrial symbioses into fertiliser products, or are used in earthworks or in the production of renewable energy.
In 2016, the utilisation of ash as fertiliser and lime by-products as a neutralisation chemical increased compared to the year before. The favourable development can continue via cross-sectoral co-operation and via streamlining regulation.
Environmental investments bear fruit
In recent years, the forest industry has put great focus on environmental protection. Environmental investments and other environmental protection expenses have amounted to about EUR 120 million per year over the past six years. In 2016, environmental investments grew by over 15 per cent compared to the previous year. The results translate into, for example, reductions in wastewater as well as a decrease in suspended solids and phosphorus loading into waterways. Chemical oxygen demand emissions into water grew a little due to increased pulp production. Of emissions into the air, especially sulphur emissions have continued to decline.
The Finnish Forest Industries Federation published the industry’s environmental and responsibility commitments in 2013. The industry’s objectives continue to be to further reduce emissions into the environment and to develop its operations so that they place less of a burden on the environment. The next progress report concerning the environmental and responsibility commitments will be published in autumn 2017.