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AbitibiBowater president and CEO David J. Paterson on June 5 highlighted the company's commitment to sustainability at its first annual general meeting of stockholders. Since its creation in October 2007, AbitibiBowater has been building on the positive momentum of its predecessor companies, focusing on reducing costs and improving efficiency, while continuing to enhance its environmental performance.
In its manufacturing processes, AbitibiBowater is committed to adopting the best practices to reduce its environmental footprint by diminishing waste and ensuring responsible use of resources, particularly fiber, energy and water. To further this approach, the company announced that it has identified additional sustainability objectives in four specific areas:
· Climate Change - strive to operate as a carbon-neutral enterprise;
· Responsible Fiber Sourcing - source from 100 percent third-party certified sustainable fibers;
· Product Stewardship - offer innovative and best-in-class products to support customers' environmental expectations;
· Stakeholder Relations - engage stakeholders to better leverage opportunities and resolve challenges.
"We are committed to continue the growth and diversification of our product mix while positioning the Company as an industry model and the wise choice for the environmentally sensitive customer," said David Paterson. "We want to offer the best sustainable solutions to them and their consumers."
AbitibiBowater will continue to focus on reducing overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral enterprise. Reducing GHGs was a target of the company's predecessor organizations and significant progress has been achieved to date. Since 2000, GHG emissions by AbitibiBowater have been reduced by 34 percent globally, with a 16 percent reduction per metric ton of paper produced. The company intends to continue to implement new initiatives to further reduce emissions through improved processes, energy efficiency and green energy projects.
Responsible Fiber Sourcing
With 95 percent of woodlands operations certified, AbitibiBowater has more third-party certified sustainable forest land than any other company in the world. Currently, 50 million acres – an area approximately half the size of California – are certified using an independent, internationally recognized standard. However, AbitibiBowater is committed to improving this record by certifying 100 percent of its woodlands by the end of 2008. Moreover, the Company intends to partner with its external suppliers to ensure that all the fiber it uses comes from certified sources.
As one of the world's largest recyclers of old newspapers and magazines, the company aims to further enhance the sustainability of its fiber sourcing. AbitibiBowater is intent on continued expansion of the collection and use of recycled fibers, through its AbitibiBowater Paper Retriever and other company recycling programs.
AbitibiBowater is committed to responsible product stewardship and intends to manufacture more innovative products with a lighter environmental impact. The company recently launched two new papers, EcoLaser and Ecopaque, using less water and energy as well as 50 percent less fiber compared with papers traditionally used for the same applications.
AbitibiBowater wants to better reach out to its stakeholders, in particular the communities where the company does business and its employees live. The company believes in being a responsible employer and a good neighbor by engaging meaningfully with local communities, including Aboriginal peoples. As an example, AbitibiBowater sustains partnerships with over 50 First Nations and Native American groups for the cooperative management of sustainable forest licenses, engineering, financing, reforestation, forest road access, harvesting, silviculture and tree planting, transportation and wood remanufacturing.
"While we are proud of the environmental performance of AbitibiBowater's legacy companies, we recognize that we can do more, that we can do better," said David Paterson. "We are open to fresh thinking, new approaches and innovative solutions that will ingrain sustainability as a core value as understood by our customers, our employees, our communities and all company stakeholders."
AbitibiBowater produces a wide range of newsprint, commercial printing papers, market pulp and wood products. It is the eighth largest publicly traded pulp and paper manufacturer in the world. AbitibiBowater owns or operates 27 pulp and paper facilities and 34 wood products facilities located in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Korea. Marketing its products in more than 90 countries, the Company is also among the world's largest recyclers of old newspapers and magazines, and has more third-party certified sustainable forest land than any other company in the world.