Sofidel: an Eco-sustainable Group

The EC presently defines CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) as the "commitment of businesses to contribute to sustainable economic development by working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their lives in ways that are good for business and for development."

This definition fits very well with the policy of Sofidel Group, the Italian multinational that stands out clearly and visibly in the field of paper, but also for the attention it pays to environmental issues of worldwide pertinence.


Maura Leonardi

Respect for the environment, the use of renewable energy sources, the constant research for technological solutions that reduce CO2 emissions, the attention towards the preservation of the areas where the company carries out its activities, and a special regard for the working environment of its staff are just some of the focus points of the sustainability policy adopted by Sofidel.

Today, the environment and eco-sustainability are very often the object of seminars, books and articles, all aimed at promoting behaviors that help preserve Planet Earth.


AND SOFIDEL HAS ALWAYS BEEN AT THE LEADING EDGE WHEN SPEAKING ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT,adopting since the beginning of the 1970s an approach aimed at energy and water savings.

"At the beginning of the '70s, we instituted the first paper production process quality control system and in 1985 we installed the DCS (Distributed Control System), that ensures careful management of the paper production process, favoring enhanced operator safety while at the same time reducing wastes," states Libio Vannucci, Chief Technical Officer of the Group. "Since its very beginning, the company has adopted a farsighted strategy aimed at seizing the technological opportunities that arise and turning them into instruments for the attainment of positive results, obtaining as far back as 1998 certifications of an international valence (ISO 14001 Certificate; EMAS Certificate; Ecolabel; OHSAS 18001 Certificate) at most of its production sites. Since 2008, it is part of the WWF's international Climate Savers project, finalized at the reduction of CO2 emissions."


THE WWF'S CLIMATE SAVERS PROJECT, IS STARTED UP IN 1999, as of today counts 21 international companies (among them: Sony, IBM, Nokia, Nike, Johnson&Johnson, Catalyst, Hewlett Packard, Xanterrra). The program asks these giant industrial entities to voluntarily adopt reduction plans for the emission of greenhouse gas through innovative strategies and technologies that allow them to assume the role of leader in the reduction of CO2 emissions in a given realm. In Italy, the Climate Savers program was launched in 2006.


AS OF TODAY, THE SOFIDEL GROUP REPRESENTS THE FIRST ITALIAN COMPANY TAKING PART IN THE PROGRAM: an ambitious and important target that rewards the attention that the group places on environmental policy.

The Group's admission to the program is fruit of an assessment made by the WWF, together with the Ecofys research institute, analyzing the historical data of CO2 emissions and energy consumption. Participating at the Climate Savers program entails the attainment of objectives established by the WWF, which provide for an 11% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2010 compared to 2007, and constant, periodic monitoring of Sofidel's results by the WWF.

"In a paper mill, the item "energy costs" (consumption of electricity and gas) covers about 20% of that company's budget. For this reason we have always invested in qualified, competent people, capable of efficiently managing the plant and carefully monitoring these costs.


OUR MANAGING DIRECTORS LUIGI LAZZARESCHI AND EMI STEFANI HAVE ALWAYS HAD FARSIGHTED VISION FOR WHAT CONCERNS ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, and today they believe even more strongly and passionately in the attainment of the targets set by the Climate Savers project. With this spirit, it is easy to foresee that by 2020 we will attain performance levels that are in line with those requested by the WWF's program. Already at the end of 2008 we had reduced CO2 emissions by 2% with respect to 2007. Electricity and gas are responsible for about 80% of total CO2 emissions. Hence, the reduction of emissions is closely tied also to a reduction in energy consumption, a benefit that is not to be underestimated for our balance sheet, too. In order to obtain these results, we place great attention also on the choice of a new plant, and not just on the choice of qualified personnel. And the former is made by following not only criteria of cost, efficiency and productivity, but also based on its capability to ensure a reduction in CO2 emission. All this as concrete proof of how the companies acting in favor of the climate can also seize substantial opportunities for development. The fight to prevent climate change, in other words, translates for the company into efficiency and energy savings, innovation and competitiveness."


"TO ATTAIN THE AMBITIOUS RESULTS OF THIS IMPORTANT PROGRAM, and consequently to obtain worldwide credibility, we must work on the optimization of the machines. An example is the Performance Improvement project, undertaken in collaboration with Metso and presented at the Tissue Making 2008 event that is yielding tangible results. Of the total CO2 emissions by the Sofidel Group (100%), 94% is emitted by paper mill plants and the remaining 6% by papermaking plants. This project, which began in 2007, has allowed us to intervene on our 18 PMs, modifying or replacing the less efficient parts of the machine, optimizing the production performances and reducing energy waste. Basically, in our case, "energy efficiency" means producing the same quality paper with less energy use."


"BEING A PARTNER OF CLIMATE SAVERS ALSO TRANSLATES INTO THE EXPLOITATION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES and in the strengthening of the combined generation of electricity and heat (cogeneration). In 1991 we adopted cogeneration plants and today these supply 47% of the electricity necessary to run the Italian mills of the Sofidel group, avoiding the emission of 15,000 tons/year of CO2. And speaking about cogeneration, a very interesting option is given by biomass-fed plants whose CO2 emission is zero. For this reason, the adoption of cogeneration plants from biomass is among our objectives for the future. Another initiative that we have started up with a view to enhancing renewable energy resources was the installation of a photovoltaic system on a 10,000-square meter of covered area that supplies about 500 kW of power. This quantity is not sufficient to satisfy our average consumption of about 12,000 kW, but it allows us to decrease CO2 emissions and attain a savings in energy that corresponds to the annual consumption of about 250 homes. In a few months, at our Delicarta Cartotecnica plant we will install another photovoltaic plant with a poly-crystalline array that will produce 800 kW of electricity, in this case covering a good portion of our facility's need, which is on the average 1200 kW. During pauses in production, the system emits this extra energy directly into the national electrical supply network."


NOT ONLY PHOTOVOLTAIC BUT ALSO HYDRO-ELECTRIC ENERGY, as testified by the work done last August on the small hydro-electric power station at the Fibrocellulosa facilities. The plant will supply about 6% of the facility's energy requirement.

"The investments made for the implementation of these renewable energy sources are high and have long-term ROIs, but we believe that our commitment to reduce environmental impact is a social responsibility," concludes engineer Libio Vannucci. If "our present is the history of tomorrow" Sofidel's attention towards the environment constitutes an example of a company perfectly integrated in the territory is also focusing on building a bridge with the future. •


Business sustainability

Presentation Conference, Lucca, 26th June 2009


The environment seen as an opportunity for innovation, competitiveness and development.

This is the theme of the conference organized by Sofidel on June 26th at the Auditorium in San Romano (Lucca) to announce the company's adhesion to the Climate Savers project. Over 500 national ad international guests participated at the event, confirming the leadership status of the Sofidel Group. With a turnover of 1.1 billion euro and 3100 employees, it is the fourth largest European producer of tissue.

Economic growth and sustainable development are today two sides of the same coin, and we must interpret the Green Revolution that is presently under way as an opportunity. Since its foundation, Sofidel has constituted an example of respect for the environment. "Our Group today is an icon of production excellence that has always invested in process and product innovations, looking for new technologies in full respect of the environment. Sustainability is a challenge as well as a business model to be followed," Sofidel's CEO Luigi Lazzareschi said in his speech.

"Sofidel is the first Italian company that participates at the Climate Savers program and has received positive assessment of the targets set by the program. Our participation at this program confirms the vision and innovation trend of this important Lucca entity that makes a difficult product for the environment. This Group represents today a concrete example of commitment towards the environment, and the results obtained confirm this," underscored Michele Candotti, CEO of WWF Italia. The interesting round table organized during the conference was also attended by Dr. Paolo Culicchi, President of Assocarta (Italian trade association for the paper industry), Dr. Teresa Presas, managing director of Cepi (Confederation of European Paper Industry), Dr. Guido Morin, member of the Business Environment Europe Committee, and highlighted how innovation is today no longer a luxury but a necessity, just like a business' sustainability must be a sustainable business, because without a biosphere, the economy suffers, too.

Login or Register to publish a comment