a life cycle approach
For paper, a Life Cycle Assessment includes 8 principal measurement areas:
- Timber harvesting
- Production and transportation of pulp
- Production and transportation of other raw materials
- Paper manufacture
- Transportation of paper to the printer
- Transportation of printed pieces to users
- The end of the paper’s lifecycle (storage, incineration, disposal, recycling)
In the Life Cycle Assessment of paper, a number of factors are reviewed and reported across these measurement areas, creating information which Bolloré Thin Papers uses to advance our environmental stance::
Measurement: Virgin timber used The creation of paper pulp by necessity involves the use of trees. Forests grown and certified to be sustainable are essential.
Primary energy consumption
Measurement: Total renewable or non-renewable energy use Renewable energy includes water power and biomass energy (power produced from organic matter). Non-renewable energy is energy generated using the planet’s natural resources (natural gas, oil, coal, uranium, etc.)
Exhaustion of non-renewable resources
Measurement: Depletion of non-renewable resources An inventory of non-renewable resources is developed and a calculation to quantify the consumption of a given resource in relation to available reserves is applied. The lifespan of these reserves is integrated into the measurement.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Measurement: Contribution to the greenhouse effect over 100 years Greenhouse gases cause climate change and are measured as a carbon equivalent. The measurement takes account fossil fuel bases - CO2 and N2O emission - generated by the combustion of fuel oil, natural gas and CH4 emissions from such processes as the fermentation of waste paper. (Method developed by the IPCC in 2008)
Acidifying gas emissions
Measurement: Particles of sulfuric, nitric and other acids in the air This indicator quantifies the amount of acidic substances in the lower atmosphere causing acid rain, and the subsequent deterioration of certain areas of forest. (Method developed by the CML in 2000)
Water pumping and consumption
Measurement: Gallons of water used This relates to actual consumption during a process (i.e.: water collected but not returned to its original aquatic environment)
Discharge contributing to water eutrophication
Measurement: Dissolved oxygen in the water system When organic matter and nutrients are discharged into water in excessive quantities, algae builds up, consuming large quantities of oxygen - eutrophication - thus choking the aquatic environment. The phenomenon is partly responsible for decreasing levels of animal and plant biodiversity. (Method devised by CML in 2000)
Chemical oxygen demand (COD)
Measurement: the mass of oxygen consumed per liter of solution in milligrams per liter COD determines the amount of organic compounds found in surface water (e.g. lakes and rivers), making it a useful measure of water quality.
Absorbable halogenated organic compounds (AOX)
Measurement: the quantity of chlorinated organic compounds in mill wastes. Producing the bright whiteness of paper often requires “bleaching” the paper pulp, a process that can include halogens. AOX is an indirect indicator of the quantity of elemental chlorine used in the bleaching process and the amount of black liquor (chemical residue containing lignin) in the unbleached pulp before it enters the bleaching stage.
Production of ultimate waste
Measurement: tons of matter The Life Cycle Assessment takes account of end waste (i.e.: products at the end of their lifecycle) which cannot be used or recycled and allows for the elimination of waste generated throughout the life cycle.