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Kruger’s pulp mill in New Westminster, B.C., introduced the first biomass gasification system in Canada, leading to a nearly 60 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions.

Wood residue that would otherwise end up in a landfill site has become a significant energy source at Kruger Products' paper mill in New Westminster, British Columbia. Replacing carbon-dioxide emitting natural gas, this waste material is converted into a clean-burning synthesis gas, which becomes the steam powering the mill.

The environmental benefits of this biomass gasification system – a first of its kind in the Canadian pulp and paper industry – have exceeded the company's expectations.

"Our goal was to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent a year and we have actually achieved a 58 per cent reduction, so it's very significant," says Steven Sage, the company's vice president, sustainability and innovation and 2016 Clean50 award winner. The annual decline in emissions is equivalent to the impact of planting three million trees or removing 5,500 cars from the roadways, he says.

The system at the New Westminster mill was the first major project under Kruger Products' five-year sustainable development plan, Sustainability 2015. The plan called for actions to reduce the firm's environmental footprint related to emissions, use of energy and water, logistics, packaging and more. Across the board, Kruger Products has reduced its energy consumption in Canada by more than eight per cent and its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by more than 22 per cent.

Kruger Products believes it has a responsibility to show industry leadership in fighting climate change and achieving other environmental gains. The company is the leading manufacturer of tissue products in Canada for both home and business use. On the consumer side, it produces such market-leading brands as Cashmere, Sponge Towels and Scotties.

"In making these products, we are a natural resources-based company; we need forests, energy and water to make paper. We are very aware of those components and our responsibility to manage them as responsibly as possible," Mr. Sage says.

"We also recognize that sustainability is good business sense. Reducing our energy consumption not only supports our climate change mission but cuts costs and allows us to meet stakeholder expectations. Many of
our key customers are holding us accountable for environmental

Other flagship projects that have reduced energy use and GHG emissions are heat-recovery systems in two plants near Montreal. The systems capture hot, humid air from the plants' machinery and reuse it to heat processing water and the facilities themselves in winter.

The company is now developing its new plan, Sustainability 2020. "We will set more ambitious goals for energy, water and emissions reductions, as well as social responsibility objectives," says Mr. Sage. "We are excited about continuing on this journey of sustainability leadership."

This content was produced by Randall Anthony Communications, in partnership with The Globe and Mail's advertising department. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.