Water Stewardship

We recognize that healthy, sustainable watersheds are essential to communities, the environment and manufacturing our products, and that we have an important role to play. That’s why we’re focused on both water use and water quality in our operations, as well as engaging locally with other water users and stakeholders. We are evolving our strategy towards context-based water stewardship.

We take seriously our role as a water steward in the basins where we operate, and we establish processes and targets accordingly. We have continuously improved our overall water footprint since 2010. This includes significant improvements in the quality of treated water we return to the environment, and in total water use per ton of production.


Water Stewardship

Vision 2020 Goal

Progress: Updated water risk framework and continued annual facility assessments; 70% of mills engaging local stakeholders on water

Stated Goal*: Integrate water management into regular facility assessment and proactively engage with stakeholders in communities to address water-related issues within the watershed

*Restated in 2016


Water Quality

Vision 2020 Goal

Progress: 28% decrease in oxygen-depleting substances

Stated Goal: Reduce mill water discharges of oxygen-depleting substances to receiving streams by 15%

Across our global footprint we return more than 90 percent of the water we use back to waterways, and across our industry water is re-used up to ten times. We conduct a robust facilities water risk assessment to guide our approach and we engage with communities, regulators and other users to address watershed-level concerns. All of our sites across our global enterprise are held to the same high standards in achieving optimal wastewater treatment system performance, as part of our management system. Periodic regulatory and systems audits ensure sites are in compliance with permits, regulatory rules and company-specific standards. Beyond our manufacturing operations, we recognize that about three-quarters of all available freshwater in the world originates in forests, so by promoting responsible forestry practices we are also supporting healthy watersheds.

Water Influent Sources*

Influent water sources circle chart

Water Infographic
More than 90% of water used in our mill manufacturing is returned to the environment

As we work to build a better future beyond 2020, we are committed to improving the long-term sustainability of shared water resources where we live and work. We believe that stewardship means striving to leave everything in better shape for future generations — and we are extending this approach to water, both within our operations and beyond. It’s important that we understand the characteristics of each watershed in which we operate, and that we address the most important local water issues for our company and for local communities, other water users and the environment. Our forthcoming water stewardship strategy will reflect this reorientation towards context-based water stewardship.

*All water use data includes pulp and paper mills