Management of greenhouse gas emissions

Some important studies on the global effects of climate-changing emissions were published at the end of 2018.

The World Meteorological Organization’s analysis, published on 22 November 2018, showed that the level of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has reached a new high, reaching 405 parts per million5, after breaking the psychological barrier of 400 p.p.m. the previous year.

On 8 October 2018, the “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C”, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after being commissioned in 2015 during the 21st Conference on Climate Change in Paris (COP21), was made available to provide authoritative scientific guidance to the governments involved: the results obtained from the study show that, even if the action plans of the Paris Agreement are implemented, the temperature in 2100 will be 3 °C higher than levels before the industrial revolution. Policymakers must therefore set more ambitious targets, reducing CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030, compared to 2010, and achieving zero emissions by 2050.

Furthermore, from 2 to 15 December 2018, the COP24 was held in Katowice (Poland): although the information contained in these two publications was already available, collaboration between all the parties involved was complicated by conflicting economic interests that led, first, to the duration of the event being extended and, finally, to only some of the expected results being obtained. The COP21 (Paris Agreement), which will come into force in 2020, was ratified, but only a few countries (European Community, Argentina, Mexico, India, Canada, Ukraine, Jamaica and China) have committed themselves to revising the goals for 2020 and making them more ambitious.

As regards the results achieved in terms of reducing emissions, this last year was a period of intense production expansion, with 4 paper machines going into operation between the end of 2017 and 2018. This increased the Group’s production capacity by more than 25%, however, starting up such complex machines inevitably requires a period of fine-tuning, characterised by low productivity and therefore low efficiency. This affected the Group’s specific emissions, leading to poorer performance compared to 2017, despite the investments made to increase efficiency in the other production plants.

CO2 emissions – scope 1 and 2

For all the years shown, from 2016 to 2018, the emissions deriving from the purchase of grid electricity and heat (Scope 2) were calculated with an approach based on the geographic location of the production sites, using the relevant average national emission coefficients for 2012-2014, 2013-2015 and 2014-2016 respectively.6

Direct emissions from combustion in the production sites (Scope 1) are instead calculated in accordance with the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which regulates CO2 emissions in Europe for industrial sectors with higher emissions.7

As far as indirect CO2 emissions are concerned, i.e. those not under Sofidel management control (e.g. those relating to the production of raw materials and accessories to production and transport), it was possible to include the most significant downstream components for 2018 in the report. Thus the emissions arising from the distribution of both semi-finished and finished products were calculated, totalling 144,853 t CO2, corresponding to 147 kgCO2 /t paper.8

In addition, the impact of the use of the packaging (paper and plastic packaging) was assessed, and amounted to 141,154 t CO2, corresponding to 144 kgCO2 /t paper.9

5. WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (GHG Bulletin), “The State of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere Based on Global Observations through 2017”, No. 14, 22 November 2018.
6. International Energy Agency, “Statistics 2018 Edition – CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion.”
7. Scope 1 emissions from non-ETS plants were estimated using the UNFCCC 2017 coefficient of the Italian national inventory. The same coefficient has been applied for the calculation of other less significant emissions not regulated by the ETS, such as those related to the use of forklifts and heating of work environments.
8. The emission factors used were obtained using the DEFRA “2008 Guideline to DEFRA’s GHG conversion Factors: Methodology paper for transport emission factors”). The configuration adopted for the calculation includes the outward journey with a full load and the return journey empty.
9. The emission factors used are taken from the Ecoinvent 3.4 database.

Other emissions into air

In addition to CO2, other significant emissions from production are nitrogen oxides (NOx): this group of emissions comes from combustion processes, in the presence of air, that occur in the paper production process, i.e. boilers and sheet drying systems.

The calculation of nitrogen oxide is normally based on measurements made at chimneys in accordance with the methods required by current legislation in individual countries, while performance in other factories (Sofidel Benelux, SofidelAmerica Haines City, Sofidel America Circleville, Sofidel France Roanne, Sofidel Germany, Sofidel Sweden, Sofidel Greece, Sofidel UK Hamilton, Sofidel UK Lancaster, Intertissue Baglan and Sofidel Poland) have been estimated using the Group average.

The specific data in the Table relates to consumption of the fuel that generates the emission (mainly natural gas).

Total and specific nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions of Sofidel Group plants

In addition, 320 kg of SOx were emitted in connection with the use of biomass in boilers at the Sofidel France Frouard plant. Emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as leaks of fluorinated refrigerating gases equivalent to emissions of about 28310 tonnes of CO2, were negligible, being extraneous to the Group’s typical business.

10. Equivalent emissions calculated using the GWP (Global Warming Potential) coefficients described in European Regulation No 517/2014.

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