As with many industries, water stress is pushing the pulp and paper industry to improve its water and wastewater treatment processes. According to a 2013 market study by research firm Frost and Sullivan, the industry’s high reliance on water makes it vulnerable to water risks. “Pulp and paper manufacturing is characterized by a high water footprint,” says the study, which adds, “water stress in particular regions may increase the cost of water as well as result in supply limitations.”
The industry “has high volume and concentration of chemicals in wastewater streams,” resulting in regulatory and reputational risks for firms in this sector, as well as financial risks around fines and cleanup costs in case of polluted discharge. Read more
Decision-makers in industrial firms might be tempted to think of water management in terms of inputs, processes, and outputs. You take in water from an outside source like a river or reservoir; you move it around your facility for cooling, cleaning, flushing toilets, and so on; then you treat the wastewater and discharge it out the back end.
But the emerging global water situation is forcing companies to look at their water more as an ecosystem service and as a scarce resource that has to be managed in cooperation with the larger community and across sectors. Read more
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