For the first time, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA) has calculated and reported the effects of the company's operation on the climate. The effect is positive and amounts to an offset of eight million tonnes of CO2, roughly equalling the combined emissions of fossil carbon dioxide of all truck and domestic air traffic in Sweden.
SCA is Europe's largest private forest owner with 2.6 million hectares in northern Sweden. Based on this unique resource, SCA has built an industry designed to create the highest possible value. Responsibly managed forests produce renewable raw material for wood products, pulp, paper and bioenergy in various forms. The whole harvested tree is put to the best possible use.
Growing trees use CO2 as building material. SCA's large forests are managed to grow well. In the harsh northern climate, it takes almost a century for a tree to reach maturity. The annual growth outstrips harvesting and natural losses with a substantial margin. The net growth amounts to three million cubic metres of wood per annum and for this the forests remove four million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.
The share of the growth that does not remain in the forest, but is harvested, is used to produce products that can replace those with a heavier carbon footprint. Wood can be used instead of concrete, paper instead of plastic, biofuels instead of fossil fuels. By replacing fossil materials with renewable alternatives, coal and oil can remain below ground and not add further CO2 to the atmosphere.
A very conservative calculation of the climate effect of this reduction of fossil materials amounts to five million tonnes of CO2.
SCA's operations, from the planting of trees to the delivery of products to the customer, generates emissions of fossil CO2 in spite of the fact that SCA's mills are among those with the smallest carbon footprint in the world. These emissions amount to 900,000t of CO2 - the large share comes from the transport of the products.
All in all, SCA's effect on the climate is positive and amounts to eight million tonnes of offset CO2 per annum, an amount as large as the combined emissions of fossil CO2 from all truck and air traffic in Sweden.
"The positive effects of forests and forest products have been highlighted by the Paris summit on climate change," says Ulf Larsson, president and CEO of SCA. "We can now confirm that these effects are a fact and are of a considerable magnitude. Our forests play an important role in mitigating climate change and in managing one of humankind's largest challenges."