More than 18 billion rubles will be spent on environmental transformation of Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill

17 june 2021
Today, many of the largest companies in our country pay careful attention to ESG standards — environmental, social and corporate management. The Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill is among them. Vladimir Krupchak, member of the Board of Directors of Arkhangelsk PPMJSC and Investment Director of Pulp Mill Holding, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta about why the timber industry, especially the pulp and paper industry, simply cannot ignore these standards and about the program of increasing the environmental efficiency of the company, approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia in February.

Today, many of the largest companies in our country pay careful attention to ESG standards — environmental, social and corporate management. The Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill is among them. Vladimir Krupchak, member of the Board of Directors of Arkhangelsk PPMJSC and Investment Director of Pulp Mill Holding, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta about why the timber industry, especially the pulp and paper industry, simply cannot ignore these standards and about the program of increasing the environmental efficiency of the company, approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia in February:

— The pandemic has led to long-term changes in the way we think, work and live. Three trends have already become clear: climate change and the associated de-carbonization of economy, responsible consumption, and the need for technological innovation.

The Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill — the anchor enterprise of the Austrian Pulp Mill Holding group — provides an example of investments to a company that makes the most effective contribution to the transition to a decarbonized economy. Today APPM is a national leader of the international climate rating CDP (The Carbon Disclosure Project — international project on disclosure of GHG emissions). The company is also at the forefront in supporting the responsible consumption trend.

Today, the company’s level of success is measured not only by profits, but also by following the ESG standards. In other words, the social obligations and principles of sustainable development become one of the main components for business. In April, the independent credit rating agency RAEX-Europe included Arkhangelsk PPM JSC in the updated integral ESG ranking: the company took 59th place out of 110 Russian business structures in 20 industries.

Today ESG indices are an assessment of the company’s credit rating. The timber industry, especially the pulp and paper industry, are simply doomed to work according to them: all our projects are extremely capital intensive. In order to count on investments, an enterprise must control GHG emissions, recycle waste, reforest, not deplete natural resources, and so on

There are now 17 positions in the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, nine of which relate to the environment. Without an environmental issue, it is difficult for us to compete in the global market: APPM supplies products to environmentally sensitive European markets.

An important indicator is also the issue of gleam, the legality of our resource base — timber supply, the fundamental basis of business, which requires new approaches to environmental management and serious investments. First of all, in order to renew the forests, which is more than 1.3 million hectares, leased by the mill and handed over under the management of GC Titan — our general supplier of timber raw materials

We stepped up our work with the supplier of raw materials in the direction of GHG monitoring: for the first time among Russian logging companies, Titan carried out an inventory and quantification of direct and indirect GHG emissions in accordance with the requirements of the international standard GHG Protocol (Greenhouse Gas Protocol). As a responsible forest user, the holding carries out various activities aimed at the protection and conservation of forests, reforestation, and so on.

The result is the removal (absorption) of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and its deposition in different biomass pools. According to the results of the research, the GHG emissions from the logging operations of the enterprises in 2019 (163,548 t СО2e) were fully offset by the absorption of GHGs during the timber exploitation (−216,700 t СО2e).

In accordance with the accepted Climate Strategy until 2030, Sawmill 25 CJSC, an enterprise of the Titan GC, will also continue to work on strategic planning and management of GHG emissions, assessment and management of climate risks and opportunities.

APPM started the environmental upgrading of its production facilities 20 years ago. The idea was to reduce the formation of harmful emissions and discharges through a more complete and efficient use of resources (raw materials, chemicals, fuel and energy), instead of spending energy and money on treatment and detoxication.

The first “double-purpose” project for the rebuild of the Board Production Line in order to reduce fuel consumption was designed in 1995 and implemented in 1997–1998 through the loan from the World Bank. The experience proved to be successful; such investments have a double and sometimes triple effect. Now any new project is considered and evaluated by us from an economic and environmental point of view.

As a result of the planned re-equipment, the mill plans to reduce the specific discharge of pollutants into the Northern Dvina River by 45–55 %.

Over the past decade, APPM has spent about 15 billion rubles for environmental solutions and implementation of the best available technologies.

We implemented a number of innovative projects that had the greatest impact on the process development of the mill. In biotechnology — it is the production of the whole volume of bleached kraft pulp using ECF technology (Elemental Chlorine Free — bleaching without the use of chlorine).

Since 2015, the mill has carried out large-scale activities with a high degree of environmental efficiency. The construction and commissioning of a new high-pressure multi-fuel boiler, which uses biomass waste as fuel — mixture of bark and wood waste and sewage sludge. The commissioning of effective decanters for dewatering a mixture of sewage sludge and excess activated sludge at the Biological Treatment Plant. The commissioning of a new semi-chemical pulp cooking plant with the introduction of modern technologies and the installation of highly efficient gas treatment equipment — with its commissioning, the operation of the older similar workshop was stopped.

Among the activities aimed on the ecological efficiency are reconstruction of board machines, the construction of a new evaporation station for Board Production Shop with decommissioning of the former station, the installation of a new power boiler using low-emission burners and highly effective gas treatment equipment with decommissioning of the outmoded digester, the rebuild of waste disposal site — the ash dump and many others.

As a result of the mill rebuild, a clear decoupling effect is recorded, which confirms a decrease of load on the environment with an increase in production output, which corresponds to the targets of APPM. Over the past five years, with an increase in productivity by an average of 17 % by 2021, the intake of fresh (river) water from a water body was decreased by 8 %, specific discharge of pollutants into the reservoir was decreased by 6 %, and specific emissions of pollutants into the atmospheric air were decreased by 30 %.

With the growth of production, the company intends to significantly reduce the negative impact on the environment. The BAT list provides for both the presence of an environmental management system and the implementation of large-scale re-equipment projects.

An integrated management system has been created and is functioning at the mill, including, among other things, an environmental management system. From the ecological and process production structure point of view, APPM has carried out a professional assessment of its current impact on the environment. In order to further improve the environmental friendliness of mill and achieve a level of environmental impact that complies with the BAT for all process indicators, a decision has already been made to introduce the Environmental Efficiency Improvement Program, which was approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The implementation of all measures of the Program will lead to a new “environmental transformation” of APPM by 2030. As a result of the planned re-equipment, the mill plans to reduce the specific discharge of pollutants into the Northern Dvina River by 45–55 %.

The program includes more than 20 environmental protection measures. The preliminary financing costs amount to 18.2 billion rubles.

The mill continues to reduce sulfur-containing compounds emissions into the atmosphere, which are of greatest concern to residents of the nearest settlements of the Arkhangelsk region. The mill plans to complete the work by 2023.