Environmental Footprint Comparison Tool

Background

The Environmental Footprint Comparison Tool (EFCT) is a website that can help stakeholders understand the challenges that forest products companies face in simultaneously meeting a broad array of environmental objectives. It is currently available to the public at www.paperenvironment.org.

Minimizing the environmental footprint of the forest products industry requires understanding the interactions between various parameters. There are a number of releases to the environment associated with manufacturing, recycling, and disposing of paper products. When a company explores ways to minimize one of these releases, it may find that other types of environmental releases are minimized at the same time (co-benefits) – or it may find that other types of environmental releases become larger (trade-offs). Environmental decisions therefore become something of a balancing act, seeking to maximize co-benefits while minimizing trade-offs. This tool will help NCASI member companies, their stakeholders, and the general public understand these sometimes complex interactions that become the scientific backbone of decisions related to minimizing a company’s or a facility’s environmental footprint.

What EFCT covers

Eight subjects are covered by the tool: Recycled Fiber, Water, SOx and NOx, Energy, Greenhouse Gases, Chlorinated Compounds, Non-Wood Fiber, and BOD/COD/TSS.

Each subject is explored by looking at increasing its use (Recycled Fiber) or decreasing its use/release (all other subjects) in relation to associated environmental co-benefits and trade-offs in the following nine categories: Water, Energy, Greenhouse Gases, Chlorinated Compounds, Wood Use, Odor, Emissions to Air, Discharge to Water, and Solid Waste.

The site incorporates three levels of detail. The first level includes video content, quick facts, and a grid that provides short statements on the environmental trade-offs and co-benefits for a given subject area. The second level provides an overview of the subject (including a definition of the given subject area, the current industry performance, opportunities for improvement, and limitations to future reductions). The third level drills deeper into the co-benefits and trade-offs for each of the nine categories--for each given subject area.

For more information about the Environmental Footprint Comparison Tool, contact Kirsten Vice, Vice President, Sustainable Manufacturing and Canadian Operations. The resources listed below offer an overview and introduction to the tool.

Resources