Water is essential to International Paper’s manufacturing and operating facilities around the world, but we recognize that its value goes far beyond its use in papermaking.
Reducing our water footprint, especially in strategic watershed areas, is important for International Paper and our sustainability agenda. We have therefore set goals to map our water use and evaluate opportunities to align our water use with local supplies, and to further improve the quality of the water we return to local release environments.
Water is a primary input into our manufacturing process. In fact, we could not make our product without it. Approximately 93 percent of the water in our process goes back to the aquatic environment after treatment. Much of the remaining 7 percent is returned to the environment via evaporation.
We have analyzed our water risk by mapping it facility by facility. This analysis included four factors: the World Resources Institute (WRI) risk mapping tool, perceived community and regional risk, manufacturing risk and customer sensitivity. This analysis resulted in a composite score for each mill. We are using this ranked list to focus on our highest-risk mills, identifying projects to reduce water risk. This analysis and ranking puts us on track with our goal to develop site-specific plans by 2015. We will continue to further identify water conservation opportunities and risks.
Water is essential to International Paper's manufacturing and operating facilities around the world. Reducing our water footprint, especially in strategic watershed areas, is important for International Paper and our sustainability agenda.
Water Quality & Monitoring
Wastewater treatment operations at our integrated papers mills face unique challenges associated with both the scale of our operations and individual facility constraints. This means that it is often best to focus on minimizing process material losses, which reduces the amount of oxygen depleting substances that must be treated in the first place. Our existing wastewater treatment systems operate at high levels of removal efficiency. This requires significant investment in both process controls and wastewater treatment facilities to achieve these results.
We are now 17 percent under our baseline level from 2010, but our mill teams remain focused on reducing process losses to our wastewater treatment systems, thereby reducing oxygen-depleting substances and generating cost savings. Wastewater best practices continue to be shared across our manufacturing sites.