The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) presented Thilmany Papers with one of its inaugural Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Awards at the association’s annual meeting on Friday, Nov. 9 in Scottsdale, AZ, USA.
Designed to recognize exemplary sustainability programs and initiatives, awards are given based on the merit of entries received across multiple categories. This year, Thilmany was honored with the “Leaders in Sustainability” award for Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction for its “Energy and Water Restructuring Program.”
“Thilmany is a shining example of what our industry is achieving by focusing on sustainability,” says AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. “Not only did Thilmany accomplish its short term energy efficiency goal, the company also realized several secondary benefits as a result of the improvements, showing us that sustainability as a driver of business decisions has multiple positive effects – economic, environmental and social.”
In 2009, Thilmany made an aggressive commitment to improve its energy and economic efficiency and environmental impact. Throughout a two-year period, the company completed more than 35 energy-efficiency projects, and its Kaukauna, WI mill joined the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) “Better Buildings Better Plants” program, resulting in a 19 percent reduction in purchased energy intensity. The company plans to reach its commitment to the DOE program to reduce purchased energy intensity by 25 percent over 10 years by the end of this year - seven years ahead of schedule. Mill data also showed that use of process water has been decreased by more than 2 million gallons per day.
“We are honored to be among the first to receive AF&PA’s ‘Leaders in Sustainability’ Award for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions,” says Thilmany Vice President and General Manager Russ Wanke. “Our employees accomplish wonderful things. In this case, by completing nearly three dozen different projects, they’ve achieved astounding energy and water conservation results. We plan to achieve our initial goal well ahead of time, but our work will not end there. Thilmany has a long history of moving forward - developing innovative new products for our customers, finding new ways to support our local communities, and improving our environment. Where improvements can be made, we will work to achieve them.”
Released earlier this year, AF&PA’s 2012 Sustainability Report highlights the significant, measurable progress the U.S. paper, pulp, and wood products industry has made toward achieving its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals. This is one of the most extensive collections of quantifiable sustainability goals for a major US manufacturing industry, and the new awards program recognizes projects and efforts that contribute to reaching those goals and furthering innovation in sustainability.
Each year, AF&PA member company applicants are considered in two categories – “Innovation in Sustainability” and “Leaders in Sustainability” – with six “Leaders” subcategories: Paper Recovery for Recycling, Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction, Certified Fiber, Illegal Logging, Safety, and Water. Projects that support progress toward the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals qualify for recognition in the “Leaders” category; projects that merit recognition for their contribution to sustainable business practices but that do not specifically address one of these goals may be recognized in the “Innovation” category.