As our business is dependent on this natural resource, both water availability and the impact of our water usage are of paramount importance to us.
The global availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation is a pressing sustainability issue, and lies at the heart of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. It is also essential for Smurfit Kappa because our business success depends on ample water availability and the natural raw materials on which we rely need water to maintain the ecosystems where they grow.
For the vast majority of our operations, availability of ‘fresh’ water is not a concern for the foreseeable future, and of the water we take in, over 90% is returned to nature in good condition. Nevertheless we believe that a responsible approach to water is crucial.
We focus our efforts on further improving the quality of water we discharge and understanding the risks associated with water availability and use in the areas where we operate.
Between 2005 and 2017 we invested €62 million in water treatment plants. This investment is on-going alongside water assessments of our paper and board mills. Assessment findings will guide us as we reduce our impact on the water balance in each region.
At the end of 2017, we had reduced our COD discharge by 37.5%. 15 of our 34 paper and board mills have been assessed by end of April 2018 based on significance against water related risk according to a global assessment of risk conducted in 2014.
Our 2020 goals are:
- Reduce the organic content of water returned to the environment from our mill plants (COD) by one-third compared to 2005 levels by 2020
- Perform environmental impact assessments of the water risk of our sites and develop water usage management.
At the end of 2016, we had reduced discharge by 30%. Nine of our paper and board mills located in areas designated as most critical by experts had been assessed.
Beyond 2020 our investments will deliver a water management system whose discharge quality is industry leading and uses best available technology. Our operations will balance their water use according to the regions where they are operating.