Reducing greenhouse gases
We share the view that collectively, greenhouse gases (GHGs), most notably carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4), are responsible for climate change. It makes sense for us to focus on reducing GHG emissions not only because it helps us achieve our aim of treading more lightly on the Planet but also in the light of impending carbon taxes in many countries around the world. Unfortunately, there was a slight increase in direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions in 2018, due to the reasons outlined in the commentary underneath the graph. However, there was a slight decrease in indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions.
In terms of carbon taxes, we continue to monitor the situation in each region where we operate. In North America and Europe, carbon taxes do not appear to be an imminent risk. In South Africa, the Department of Environmental Affairs has accepted our proposed carbon budget which is valid until 2020. As highlighted in the 2018 medium-term budget, the carbon budgeting system and the proposed carbon tax, now due to come into effect in June 2019, will be aligned, with a higher tax rate imposed as a penalty for emissions exceeding the carbon budget.
Specific direct emissions (Scope 1) (tCO2e/adt)1
1 Scope 1 emission calculations are based on the GHG Protocol, using IPCC (2006) emission factors and 5th Assessment GWP factors.
Across the group, there was a slight increase. In SEU, the slight increase was caused by the reduction of pulp production at Alfeld and Stockstadt Mills due to technical reasons; in integrated sulphite pulp mills the recovery boiler generates excess energy which is used by the paper mill. When pulp production is reduced, there is less steam from the recovery process, which has to be provided by other boilers, which are fired with fossil fuels at both Alfeld and Stockstadt Mills. At Gratkorn Mill, Scope 1 emissions went up because of increased consumption of natural gas for power and heat generation, as well as the cold winter. Scope 1 emissions at Maastricht Mill increased due to the start-up after the rebuild of PM6, while Stockstadt Mill increased Scope 1 emissions due to trials on new product development. In SNA, there was a slight increase, with additional coal firing at Westbrook Mill for economic reasons. Somerset Mill also burned less renewable energy (black liquor and biomass) with the balance coming from fossil fuels (natural gas and #6 oil). In SSA, there was a slight decrease, the result of less fossil fuel combustion, good performance of the recovery boilers which led to increased use of black liquor and greater combustion of bark at Ngodwana Mill. In addition, at Stanger Mill, there were coal savings attributable to the optimisation of airflow, grate speeds and guillotine heights on boilers, together with improved lagging.
Specific indirect emissions (Scope 2) (tCO2e/adt)2
2 Scope 2 emissions are calculated based on the market-based method as defined by the GHG Protocol. Eight of our mills use market-based emission factors, the other seven mills use location-based (country-specific) emission factors.
Indirect (Scope 2) emissions showed a slight decrease in global terms. Efficiency improvements in SEU led to a slight decrease. The slight decrease in SNA was driven by a decrease in the purchased power carbon emission factor. This offset slight purchased power increases in at both Cloquet and Somerset Mills. In SSA, the decrease was the results of higher levels of energy self sufficiency at Saiccor Mill; optimisation projects at Stanger Mill which led to reduced power purchases and improved peak demand management. Tugela Mill decreased due to higher turbine power generation and an energy saving initiative which stopped one refiner at PM2 for most of Q3.
Absolute direct emissions (Scope 1) and indirect emissions (Scope 2) (tCO2e million)
Specific NOx air emissions (kg/adt)
There was a slight decrease across the group. In SEU, the decrease was due to quality variation of coal at Gratkorn Mill and reduced pulp production at Alfeld and Stockstadt Mills. Emissions also decreased in SNA, where non-condensable gas (NCG) firing contribution in power boilers #7 and #9 at Cloquet Mill was down. In addition, emissions decreased at Somerset Mill due to lower sulphur content in the fuel oil. The decreases were partially offset by increases at Westbrook Mill’s power boiler #21 due to increased coal firing for economic reasons. In SSA, emissions were stable.
Specific SOx air emissions (kg/adt)
Across the group, there was in increase. However, SOx emissions decreased in SEU due to optimisation in the liquor boiler at Gratkorn Mill and reduced pulp production at Stockstadt Mill. Overall, emissions were down in SNA, due to the use of oil with lower sulphur content at Somerset Mill and decreased NCG firing contribution in power boilers #7 and #9 at Cloquet Mill. The decreases were partially offset by increases at the Westbrook Mill’s power boiler #21 due to increased coal firing. The increase in SSA was due largely to a change in coal supply at Ngodwana Mill which led to decreased coal quality. At Stanger Mill, coal quality was also an issue and there were problems with the Copeland reactor at the same mill which resulted in increased use of heavy fuel oil.
Specific particulate matter air emissions (kg/adt)
Particulate emissions decreased slightly in group-wide terms. In SEU, the decrease was due to reduction of coal firing at Stockstadt Mill. In SNA, emissions declined due to recovery boiler precipitator optimisation including upgrades to the rapper controls at Cloquet Mill. This led to an overall reduction in particulate emissions despite increases at Somerset and Westbrook Mills. Emissions in SSA were stable.