Verso Paper reveals in 2013 sustainability report that its Bucksport and Quinnesec paper mills realized for first time full-year benefits from completing renewable energy projects, notes 72% of on-site energy it generated in 2013 came from biomass
April 30, 2014
– Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE: VRS) today announced the publication of its 2013 Sustainability Report titled "Our Sustainable Identity." The report details Verso's progress against its commitment to respect a sustainable balance among environmental, social and economic needs.
"After being on the job for two years, I've seen consistently remarkable performance on the part of Verso's management and employees and we've continued to nurture excellence," said Verso President and CEO Dave Paterson. "We've charted a successful course built on our sustainable identity and will continue advancing toward a future energized by innovation, the support of our stakeholders and our unflagging commitment to paper and energy."
2013 Sustainability Report Highlights
At our Quinnesec Mill, 2013 was a record safety year, demonstrating what can happen when every employee is committed to and engaged in safe behavior. Quinnesec's Total Incidence Rate (TIR) was down an impressive 50 percent from 2012, and it represents the best annual safety performance in both mill and Verso history. Quinnesec's 2013 TIR was lower than any American Forest & Paper Association member company.
Verso remained committed to the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings, Better Plants goal to reduce our energy intensity by 25 percent over 10 years, and by late 2013 we were significantly ahead of our 2019 deadline.
2013 was the first full year we were able to experience the benefits realized through the completion of renewable energy projects at both our Bucksport Mill in 2012 and Quinnesec Mill in 2011. After investing $92 million in the two projects, we saw a decrease in our operating costs and an increase in our renewable energy generating capacities.
72 percent of total on-site energy generated by Verso in 2013 came from renewable, greenhouse gas-neutral biomass.
67 percent of the wood fiber Verso used was third-party certified to a credible forest management certification standard and all three Verso mills maintained compliance with the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (BV-PEFCCOC-US005202-2) and Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC® License Code FSC®-C019085) chain-of-custody standards.
33% of our total sales were chain-of-custody certified in 2013.
We continued with a second year of the Verso Forest Certification Grant Program, an initiative aimed at increasing certified fiber and certified acreage on lands near our three paper mills. The program provides start-up funding to encourage and assist landowners, consulting foresters and other stakeholders in developing innovative new projects that will help expand and maintain certification in Verso's wood procurement zones. A third grant was awarded in 2013.
We led the effort to form a collaborative project to identify and map vernal pools -- classified as small, temporary water bodies providing essential habitats to a variety of plants and animals -- in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Along with the Michigan Forest Products Council, the Michigan Natural Features Inventory and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Verso has begun a targeted effort to locate, manage and conserve vernal pools where we secure wood for pulp and paper production.
Each of Verso's three mills maintained certification to the ISO 14001:2004 environmental management system standard.
Verso again had a perfect environmental compliance record in 2013 with no environmental compliance notices from regulatory agencies.
Verso's employees raised a record total of $377,522 for United Way in 2013, a three percent increase from the 2012 total pledged by our employees.
For more information, download a full copy of the Verso 2013 Sustainability Report from the company's website at www.versopaper.com/sustainability.
Verso Paper Corp. is a leading North American producer of coated papers, including coated groundwood and coated freesheet, and specialty products. Verso is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, and owns three paper mills located in Maine and Michigan. Verso's paper products are used primarily in media and marketing applications, including magazines, catalogs and commercial printing applications such as high-end advertising brochures, annual reports and direct-mail advertising. Additional information about Verso is available on its website at www.versopaper.com.
In this press release, all statements that are not purely historical facts are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "plan," "estimate," "intend" and other similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on currently available business, economic, financial and other information and reflect management's current beliefs, expectations and views with respect to future developments and their potential effects on Verso. Actual results could vary materially depending on risks and uncertainties that may affect Verso and its business. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, please refer to Verso's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Verso assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement made in this press release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances or actual outcomes.