Asaleo Care, a New Zealand tissue paper manufacturer and producer of Tork products has become the first in its field in Australasia to achieve certification for unprecedented transparency of a product’s life cycle.
Tork Professional Hygiene toilet paper and hand towel are the first hygiene products with Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) in Australasia. They are made at the flagship Kawerau plant, using energy harvested from the Kawerau geothermal field.
Asaleo Care is committed to being a sustainable business with transparency around its environmental practices.
“We were attracted to EPDs because of their transparency, credibility and ability to speak to the product’s entire life cycle,” Asaleo Care Executive General Manager B2B, Sid Takla, says.
“EPDs for tissue products are unique in the New Zealand and Australian markets, and allow us to identify ‘hot spots’ within our value chain – areas where improvements can be made to reduce environmental impact and carbon footprint.”
Anecdotally comparable to a nutritional chart for food, EPDs document the life cycle from raw material extraction to final disposal. Products are evaluated on energy, global warming potential, use of natural resources, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.
“We value being the only tissue manufacturer in Australiasia to have both quantified our environmental impacts and disclosed this information publicly for a range of products,” Takla says.
Tork Conventional Toilet Paper and Jumbo Toilet Roll have been identified as having been produced with 70 percent renewable energy, the result of the direct use of Bay of Plenty geothermal steam in the paper making process and also of New Zealand’s high proportion of renewable energy within the grid.
In 2010 the Kawerau operation replaced most of its natural gas consumption with geothermal steam in an ongoing partnership with Ngati Tuwharetoa Geothermal Assets. In addition, the sites electricity comes from the New Zealand grid, comprised of 80 percent renewable energy. Consequently, since 2009 the site has more than halved the greenhouse gas emissions generated from their operations. Coupled with sourcing raw materials from 100 percent responsibly-managed forests, the data in the Tork EPD provides an attractive platform for green procurement.
Adam Beaumont, Forest Stewardship Council Australia CEO, applauded Tork’s EPD certification.
“Tork have been early adopters of FSC, ensuring their pulp comes from responsibly managed sources. While the FSC system covers risk, the EPD is another great way to look at the lifecycle of a product,” Beaumont says. “Our understanding from research is that consumers think it is a company’s responsibility to prioritise sustainability, so credentials are paramount.”
Internationally, EPDs are becoming commonplace, often specified during procurement processes. One benefit for businesses is the reduction of risk. EPDs provide transparent information about the origin and impact of the product being procured, reducing the risk of unexpected surprises and protecting the reputation of their brand.
Tork’s CSR credentials are often sought out by businesses with similar sustainability goals. Global chain Accor Hotels favours products and services that contribute to the reduction of environmental impact, and contracts Tork to supply its 4,445 hotel rooms in New Zealand and Fiji.
“We have worked with Tork for more than 10 years, and our CSR values are very much aligned,” Murray Davison, Director of Procurement – New Zealand and Fiji, says.
“This supply chain accreditation is important to us. Purchasing plays an essential role in the implementation of our Ethical and CSR Charter, a commitment that our suppliers must commit to. It’s also important to our customers, often corporates’ and government RFPs [requests for proposal] will include not only our sustainability objectives but those of our suppliers too, so we expect them to uphold ethical principles.”
These include Accor’s mandate to conduct initiatives to reduce the impact of water and air pollution and CO2 emissions, as well as energy consumption.
“We continue to review and innovate as part of our Planet 21 Programme, and applaud Tork for striving to achieve strong CSR results, we are proud to be working with them.”
The EPDs for Asaleo Care were produced by thinkstep Australasia, who work with approximately 40 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies. Barbara Nebel, Managing Director of thinkstep Australasia, commended Tork for being a front-runner in its industry: “It shows their commitment to fact-based disclosure of environmental information in a concise and substantiated way.”
Asaleo Care has also recently been named a finalist in the 2016 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards, in its Ricoh Mega Efficiency Innovation Award category. The winners will be announced in November.
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