Georgia Pacific LLC is one of the leading manufacturers and marketers of packaging, tissue, packer, pulp and building products. Georgia Pacific has long since had a history of being a very sustainable company – making products that improve the lives of many people in a responsible manner, balancing economic, social and environmental interests. Georgia Pacific understands that the biggest renewable source available is trees and realizes the importance of sustainability and using items efficiently. Here are top ten highlights of Georgia Pacific’s sustainability and clean technology highlights.
1) In 2009, Georgia Pacific was named the Winner of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Smartway Excellence Award. This award recognizes Georgia Pacific for its amazing environmental performance. The award is a partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency and the freight industry and is designed to boost energy efficiency while reducing total air pollution. Some of the highlights achieved by Georgia Pacific in the areas of fuel savings, energy efficiency and environmental impact include increasing intermodal shipping thereby reducing fuel consumption, reducing the total number of miles traveled between manufacturing points and customer delivery, and utilizing specialized software to assist in better packing loads, ensuring maximum space is used and reducing the total number of transport trucks on the road.
2) All of Georgia Pacific’s Wood Products are procured according to the Sustainable Forest Initiative standards. Georgia Pacific does not believe in wasting when it comes to trees. All manufacturing facilities utilize the most advanced technologies in an effort to identify the best and most effective route to cutting each log to optimize full product yield. Even the wood and bark residuals are reused to run all operations by turning it into biomass fuels. Their biomass fuels have reduced the company’s overall dependence on fossil fuels as well as purchased electricity.
3) All Georgia Pacific engineered lumber as well as their structural panel products have been Green Approved by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center. For consumers of Georgia Pacific products, this means that all plywood, lumber and OSB comply strictly with all green practice criteria listed in the National Green Building Standard.
4) In January of 2010, Georgia Pacific Demonstrated its Sustainability Commitment with the Achievement of Sustainable Forest Initiative Certifications. Obtaining these SFI certifications is an important part of our ongoing commitment to the responsible use of natural resources,” said Caryn King, director of marketing, Georgia-Pacific Wood Products. “We are confident that the certifications will help us service the increasing market demand for forest products from responsible sources and will provide our customers with additional support as they make sustainable choices about the building products they use,” stated King. “That’s a win for our business, our customers, and our forests.” The Sustainable Forest Initiative certification program is one of the most widely recognized ones around the world and is based on measures and principles aimed at promoting sound forest management.
5) The Georgia Pacific Clean Bus Program works alongside the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that students in 11 public schools throughout Georgia have a much healthier and cleaner ride every day. The goal of the program is to hinder air pollution as well as reduce the exposure children have to diesel exhaust. Georgia Pacific invested over $3.5 million to assist in jump starting the retrofit program. Currently, over one-thousand buses have received retrofit treatments, with 706 coming from Georgia Pacific Funds. “School systems are reporting the buses are much cleaner, operate as well or better than prior to the retrofit installations, and have eliminated most of the diesel smell inside and outside the bus,” said Lawrence Otwell, senior environmental consultant
6) Georgia Pacific is known for using a number of Energy Sources to run all the mills and plants. Aside from fossil fuels, Georgia Pacific is known for using biomass and co-generation. The company selected fuel sources that will aid them in operating their facilities in an efficient and effective manner. Biomass accounts for approximately 55 percent of the company’s total energy use, including bark, wood residues and tree by-products from pulping in order to produce renewable energy for all paper and wood manufacturing facilities. All emissions created during the biomass production are carbon neutral and do not contribute to additional carbon dioxide gasses.
7) When it comes to Energy Metrics, Georgia pacific self-generates a majority of its electricity from on-site electrical turbines via co-generation. Self generated electricity rose from 172,900 to 176,900 billion of Btus from 2006 to 2009. Total purchased energy, on the other hand, went down by over 600 billion of Btus from 2006 to 2009. The purchased energy is minimal fossil fuels and electricity from the grid as well as purchased biofuels.
8 ) Georgia Pacific’s tissue mill in The Netherlands has an Updated Wastewater Treatment System to Meet all Environmental Standards. Using some smart planning, The Netherlands-based mill not only improved the efficiency of the treatment system to comply with all new regulations but it also optimized the utilization of biogas as a main energy source for all steam boilers. “The wastewater treatment system upgrade included new controls to better manage the flow of water through the system. A steady flow of wastewater helps ensure that it is cleaned to the proper levels before being released. The mill also installed a recirculation system to clean the water even more thoroughly. This resulted in fewer pollutants being discharged to the local municipal treatment system.”
9) There are many ways that Georgia Pacific practices Sustainable Forestry. Aside from having all wood fiber procured under the certified requirements of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Georgia Pacific states that over 80 percent of all the wood purchased comes directly from family forest landowners. A majority of Georgia Pacific products have the SFI fiber sourcing on-product label. Numerous boxes carry these labels, ensuring customers of Georgia Pacific’s commitment to sustainable packaging. In a last example, Georgia Pacific has been working with a number of environmental non-profit organizations to better understand endangered forests and how to not source from these forests.
10) Georgia Pacific is involved in a number of Sustainable Building Products because they known that sustainable (green) building provides environmental and economic benefits by being durable and energy efficient. This saves on costs and increases the efficiency of resources, thereby encouraging conservation. For example, Nautilus Wall Sheathing combines building wrap and oriented strand board structural sheathing into one great product.
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org