Green spot of the Arctic

21 may 2021
Arkhangelsk Pulp & Paper Mill operates in the Russian Arctic. Today, the environment of this territory is a sensitive topic. In 2020, the Company earned the official status of ‘green spot’ of the Barents Euro-Arctic.

The Mill has significantly reduced its impact on the environment.

Arkhangelsk Pulp & Paper Mill operates in the Russian Arctic. Today, the environment of this territory is a sensitive topic. In 2020, the Company earned the official status of ‘green spot’ of the Barents Euro-Arctic. The actual efforts and plans of the company show that it intends to remain a role model of conservation. “Parlamentskaia” newspaper discussed the new eco-friendly profile of the mill with the member of the mill’s Board of Directors, Chief Investment Officer of Pulp Mill Holding, Vladimir KRUPCHAK.

— In February, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade officially approved the Environmental Efficiency Improvement Program of JSC Arkhangelsk PPM. The Company has often declared that along with production growth it intends to significantly reduce environmental pressure through implementation of the best available technologies (BAT). How are the results?

— The BAT call for both introduction of environmental management system and implementation of major modernization projects. In total, the program consists of more than 20 conservation efforts. By 2030, with implementation of all efforts included in the program, we will see Arkhangelsk PPM transform into a new eco-friendly version of itself. After the planned upgrade, the mill plans to reduce the specific discharge of pollutants into the Northern Dvina River by 45–55  % (measured in characteristic aggregated indicators).

Preliminary figures show that budgeting of the program will require 18.2 billion Rubles.

— What are the main results of conservation efforts in the last year?

— In 2020, the mill invested 1.1 billion Rubles in BAT-driven environmental efforts .

Over the 10 years (2011–2020), the mill allocated nearly 15 billion Rubles to environmental agenda and implementation of BAT.

An important indicator of the conservation effort of Arkhangelsk PPM is the significant reduction in methylmercaptan and hydrogen sulphide emissions: by 49  % and 80  % respectively compared to 2016 values. According to Roshydromet, currently the concentration of these substances in the air of Novodvinsk is within maximum allowable concentration (MAC) values.

Still, the work towards reduction of emissions of sulphur-containing compounds goes on.

— What figures did you achieve through conservation efforts that you mentioned?

Are you managing to achieve target values? — Post modernization of production facilities we clearly observe the decoupling effect, which confirms a simultaneous decrease of environmental pressure and increase in productivity, which, in turn, is an ultimate goal of Arkhangelsk PPM.

In particular, during the last five years, by 2021 the productivity increased by 17  % on average, while at the same time raw (river) water intake decreased by 8  %, specific pollutant discharge to water bodies decreased by 6  %, and specific pollutant emissions to atmosphere dropped by 30  %.

Starting from 2015, as part of the mill’s retrofitting program, we’ve been taking some large-scale action in keeping with high level of environmental performance. We switched to the production of the entire volume of bleached kraft pulp using the ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free) process.

— Today, eco-standard is the key to profitability and competitive ability in the global market. What is APPM doing in this regard?

— The mill is the national leader of the international climate ranking CDP, The Carbon Disclosure Project — an international project for disclosure of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Every year, starting from 2014, the company discloses the information about its environmental efforts within the frame of CDP reporting system. Two years in a row the mill manages to get a high “A-” rating.

The company implemented the joint project in accordance with Article 6 of Kyoto Protocol, which consisted in modernization of two power-generating boilers and fuel feed system at the CHP. The modernization allowed us to use bark waste and sludge of biological treatment of wastewater with more efficiently and in bigger quantities.

In 2003, at the 9th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Milan, Italy, Arkhangelsk PPM announced for the first time that it would voluntary commit to reduction of GHG emissions while increasing productivity. Today, the company follows the Low-Carbon Development Strategy 2030. To achieve the above goals, the company will take economically reasonable actions aimed at reducing the energy intensity of production; increasing the efficiency of utilization of all types of fuel when generating energy using own energy sources; increasing biomass share in the fuel composition; substituting fossil fuel, which is known for higher specific GHG emissions, with less carbon intensive fuels; reduction of methane emissions from waste disposal sites.

— Waste management issues are particularly sensitive in the country. How does Arkhangelsk PPM handle the production waste management?

— The mill owns and operates three waste disposal facilities, which are included in the state register. For over five years, the company stopped landfilling of the main bulk pulp and paper production waste (wastewater sludge and bark waste); the largest share in composition of the disposed waste accounts for waste generated by combustion of coal, the main fuel used by the mill’s CHP 1. After the transition to natural gas, there will be no more generation and disposal of this type of waste, the volume of landfilling will decrease by 85  % compared to the current period.

In 2019–2020, APPM together with a specialized company inspected the condition of the mill’s dump sites. In accordance with the results of this inspection, we prepared regulations for operation of dump sites, which included, among others, procedures for monitoring of environmental impact of those sites. — The mill is based on land in the Arctic territory of Russia. Does this affect the environmental agenda of the company, if any?

— We understand our responsibility, that’s why we opt for solutions, which not only ensure certain standards, but also minimize our impact on the Arctic territory in which we operate. Here I have to mention, first and foremost, the implementation of “green solutions”. The main source of emissions of soot and GHG particles into the atmosphere is CHP-1 plant, which supplies power to the production facilities of Arkhangelsk PPM, as well as organizations and the households of Novodvinsk. The priority target for us is to change the plant’s fuel composition through substitution of coal with natural gas, as well as to increase the overall energy efficiency of the enterprise. To date, there has already been some major changes to the company’s fuel composition as pertains to increasing the share of less carbon-intensive fuel. According to the verified 2019 report on GHG emissions, the share of biofuels accounted for 43.5  %.

— What’s the status of integrated environmental permit?

— APPM prepared an application for integrated environmental permit. It was accepted for review by the authorized governmental body. We think it’s important to concern ourselves with the ongoing BAT-driven reform of environmental pressure regulation in order to ensure sustainable development of the production process.

Vladimir Krupchak:

By 2030, with implementation of all efforts included in the Environmental Efficiency Improvement Program, we will see Arkhangelsk PPM transform into a new eco-friendly version of itself.

Over the 10 years (2011–2020), the mill allocated nearly 15 billion Rubles to environmental agenda and implementation of BAT.