FEDERAL WAY, Wash., June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- In what amounts to a win-win for shareholders and the environment, Weyerhaeuser (NYSE:WY) today pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2020 while reducing its reliance on high-priced fossil fuels.
A 40 percent reduction in annual greenhouse gases is the equivalent of taking 700,000 vehicles off the road for one year.
"We will do this by harnessing the benefits of a renewable, natural resource -- biomass -- as fuel in the boilers that generate steam and electrical energy in our mills," said Ernesta Ballard, senior vice president, Corporate Affairs.
According to Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, "What Weyerhaeuser has done is exemplary, and it deserves to be recognized. Not only is the reduction of 40 percent one of the largest in the private sector, it is global in scope. As important, Weyerhaeuser is doing this in a way that makes a permanent difference -- making changes in how their facilities operate."
Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, said: "Weyerhaeuser's pledge is a dramatic goal by any measure. This is a very real target from a company that has the ability to make a very big difference. Reducing emissions that contribute to climate change and the bottom line are both critical to every company, and Weyerhaeuser is showing that the two objectives are not mutually exclusive."
Biomass fuel consists of bark, lignin (the substance that binds wood fibers) and other organics in spent pulping chemicals. When biomass comes from sustainably managed forests, burning it has a neutral effect on greenhouse gas emissions. The regenerating forest absorbs the carbon dioxide released by burning the fuel. By contrast, the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuel is not offset.
Weyerhaeuser's pulp and paper mills already generate 72 percent of their energy from biomass. This new initiative will raise this percentage, further moderating the effects of volatile oil and gas prices. Pulp mills, in particular, have the potential to become energy self-sufficient.
In addition to substituting biomass fuel for fossil fuels, Weyerhaeuser will improve energy efficiency and install cleaner-burning boilers.
"This is a win-win for shareholders and the environment," says Ballard. "Shareholders benefit from lower energy costs, and the environment benefits from lower emissions of greenhouse gas."
The greenhouse gas reductions will be measured relative to Weyerhaeuser's emissions in 2000 and assume a comparable portfolio and regulations. Progress toward the commitment will be reported in the company's annual sustainability report.
Weyerhaeuser's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are described in more detail in its 2005 sustainability report, which was released today. The report describes the company's environmental, social and economic performance in 2005. For example, the company:
o Sequestered 2.6 times more carbon, primarily in wood products, than it
emitted last year.
o Reduced air and water emissions, measured per ton of production that
are tracked by the U.S. and Canadian governments.
o Recovered 6.7 million tons of used paper, or 13 percent of the total
recycled in the United States.
o Has obtained independent certification that:
o All of the forests it manages or owns in North America meet the
Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard or the Canadian Standards
Association sustainable forest management standard.
o All of its primary mills in the United States meet the procurement
provisions of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard.
The full report is available online at http://www.wy.com/environment/sustainability.
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2005, sales were $22.6 billion. It has offices or operations in 18 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at www.weyerhaeuser.com/ .
Media - Frank Mendizabal, +1-253-924-3357
Analysts - Kathryn McAuley, +1-253-924-2058
Source: Weyerhaeuser Company
CONTACT: media, Frank Mendizabal, +1-253-924-3357, or investors,
Kathryn McAuley, +1-253-924-2058, both of Weyerhaeuser Company
Web site: http://www.wy.com/environment/sustainability
Web site: www.weyerhaeuser.com/