Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill leads the way in climate action

Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill (APPM) is the town-forming enterprise of Novodvinsk, a town located at the Severnaya Dvina river upstream from the city of Arkhangelsk. APPM is a major European producer of cardboard, bleached pulp, and paper. The company also provides the 40 000 town dwellers of Novodvinsk with heating, water supply, and wastewater treatment. The reason for the inclusion of the plant in the list of Barents Hot Spots was for the significant amounts of air and water pollutants it releases into the environment.

During the past ten years, the pulp and paper mill has increased its production volumes. At the same time, the company has been able to report a decrease in both air emissions and wastewater discharges thanks to investments in more environmentally friendly technologies. The original list of Barents Hot Spot concentrates on direct environmental and health effects, such as emissions of acidifying sulphur dioxide and odorous gases. In accordance with the Barents Action Plan on Climate Change, the BEAC Subgroup on Hot Spot Exclusion is also paying more attention to the climate impact of the Hot Spots. Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill has taken steps to decrease its climate effect among the pioneering companies in this field in Russia.

The Chief Engineer of APPM, Mr. Viktor Zhitnukhin tells that the work to address the greenhouse gas emissions in the company started in the year 2000. The company’s leadership and main shareholders recognized the seriousness of the problem as well as the business potential provided by the emissions trading mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. Moreover, they realized that the looming struggle over climate change would eventually have implications for the businesses and their competitiveness.

In 2002, the company set for itself emissions reduction goals, which it managed to meet as planned during the following ten-year period. In 2013, a new climate strategy with an action plan for emission reductions up to 2020 was adopted. The work done has been positively received by the investors and the customers. The company has been awarded for its actions: it was the first company in Russia to receive ISO 14064-1:2006 standard on greenhouse gas management and was nominated as the best performing Russian company in the international Carbon Disclosure Project in 2014.

Inventories of emissions

Mr. Zhitnukhin tells that the first inventory of greenhouse gases was performed at the plant in 2003, concerning the period of 1990-2002. From 2003 onwards, a yearly inventory has been published and can be accessed on the company’s website. Inventory results from 2014 show a 37 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in comparison with the baseline of 1990. The reduction has not taken place only due to the fact that the production vоlumes decreased after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but also because the emission intensity (relative to a produced tonne of pulp) has been lowered by almost 30 %.

The lowering of emission intensity with regards to greenhouse gases is an example of ecological-economic decoupling: although the pulp and paper mill is again reaching the same production volumes as in the 1990’s, it is doing so without the emissions rising in tandem. These figures are interesting also from the point of view of Russia’s recent climate change pledge for the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, since Russia has announced its national target to be 25-30 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the 1990 levels – but only by the year 2030.

Investments for emission reductions

According to Mr. Zhitnukhin, the company’s most significant investment project to mitigate climate change is the biomass utilization project at the power generating station № 3. It included the replacement of two boilers and the modernization of the fuel-feeding system allowing increased and more efficient use of bark waste and sewage sludge in the power generation. The project worth 20.2 million USD was partly financed by a loan from the World Bank. The verified reductions were sold at the international carbon market, in 2001-2007 as voluntary carbon trade and in 2008-2011 under the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, creating revenues worth some two million euros. The reported emission reduction is 2.1 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents between 2001 and 2014.

In 2014, APPM completed two more projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The first one increased the use of biomass and improved the efficiency at the power generating station № 1 with the installation of a new boiler for bark waste and sludge combustion. The other project focused on lowering the energy intensity of the production by reconstructing the pulp washing system. The total cost of these projects was 61.3 million USD, covered partly by loans, and the company’s own funds. According to the company, emission reductions amounting to 13,200 tonnes of CO2-equivalents were achieved during November-December 2014.

Viktor Zhitnukhin informs that the company’s current strategy for greenhouse gases aims at fixing the intensity of emissions at the level of 2.2 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents relative to 1 million tonne of produced pulp. The company intends to reach this goal by lowering the energy intensity of the production as well as increasing the share of biomass and less carbon-intense fuels in the energy mix of the production. Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill foresees several concrete projects and ways to monitor the expected results. Mr. Zhitnukhin also notes that the practice of inventories is to be continued as well as the work with Russian and international consulting companies that provide services for greenhouse gas accounting and management, climate risk assessment, and strategy development.

Text: Tuuli Ojala


A view of APPM's renewed part. Photo by APPM.

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Viktor Zhitnutkin, the Chief Engineer of APPM. Photo by APPM.












Barents Environmental Hot Spots

  • The list of 42 Barents Environmental Hot Spots was published in 2003 based on an earlier NEFCO and AMAP report for environmentally sound investment projects in the Russian part of the Barents region
  • The Hot Spots are objects of special environmental and human health concern, such as industrial pollution and waste management issues
  • Subgroup on Hot Spots Exclusion of the BEAC Working Group on Environment coordinates the work and aims to facilitate relevant investment projects resulting in improvements at the Hot Spots
  • An update report from 2013 shows progress at many of the Hot Spots, but also many development needs
  • So far, six Hot Spots have been excluded from the list and during 2014 several more proposals for exclusion were received
  • NEFCO’s Barents Hot Spot Facility finances feasibility studies, management plans and demonstration projects at the Hot Spots as well as supports the general work on Hot Spots exclusion
  • Investment projects have been financed by the companies themselves, by bilateral project funds as well as by international financing institutions

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