It is daily practice for ACE members to monitor water use at their paper mills, the consequent effluents and their effects on the recipient water bodies. Their strict environmental performance objectives include targets for process water discharges. The progress towards these targets is also monitored and transparently reported every year. This expertise allows ACE members to be well prepared to support the development of more comprehensive tools.
ACE members are proactively engaged in assessing and addressing water-related risks. They are as well advising and are actively involved in the development of a paperboard specific industry add-on to the WWF Water Risk Filter (WRF). This tool, developed by the WWF (the Global Conservation Organization) and DEG (the German Development Finance Institution), is designed to help companies and investors to ask the right questions about water - to assess and mitigate potential risks. The WRF is designed to be easy to use, yet robust in the results that are generated. The aim of the development is to help companies globally in formulating mitigation strategies to drive down hazards and to better respond to water issues - and by doing so, become better water stewards.
ACE launched a pilot study in collaboration with WWF, Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the Water Footprint Network (WFN) to better understand the water footprint concept, and to identify the potential impacts of water use at a mill producing liquid packaging board.
Completed in September 2011, the pilot study measures the water footprint of liquid packaging board at Stora Enso's Skoghall paperboard mill on the shore of Lake Vänern, Sweden.
The report estimates the water footprint of liquid packaging board as indicators to address resource management in a broader perspective. It further estimates the impact of this water footprint based on the Water Exploitation Index.
The study has significantly increased understanding of water footprinting for fibre based materials. It raised important questions for the application of water footprint as an indicator for the forest product industry. Applying current methodology raised questions for discussion in several key areas (e.g. regional differences in forestry, data availability). ACE believes that this pilot study will contribute to the debate within the LCA community and to improve the international water footprint methodology for forest based industries.