UPM is the first, and only, company to obtain the highest recognition in Jiangsu Province. “Located next to Shanghai, Jiangsu is an important industrial base; with an economy of 7.6 trillion Chinese Yuan the province has second highest GDP in China, right after Guangdong. Jiangsu also has the strictest water and air emission permit limits in China”, says Lisheng Jin, Environmental Manager, UPM Changshu Mill. “When putting this recognition in this context, we can be extremely proud of our achievement,” he continues.
Water Efficiency Frontrunners were identified through a strict audit process
The qualification process, including on-site audits and a review of all relevant documentation, was very stringent. The auditors from the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Ministry of Water Resources commended UPM for its systematic three level water management system, which aims to conserve water on the mill, machine, and equipment level. UPM’s control systems were also considered highly accurate and reliable. The auditors further noted that over the years UPM has invested in several technologies and processes that have significantly improved water efficiency at the mill.
“Over the past 10 years we have reduced water consumption at the Changshu mill by 60%. While many small improvements have contributed to this achievement, we made major progress with the renewal of the waste water treatment plant in 2015,” Lisheng Jin says.
Environmental performance and energy efficiency in the focus of “More with Biofore in China” programme
The “More with Biofore in China” programme aims to significantly improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of the Changshu mill. The two to three year R&D programme will actively seek out cutting-edge technology to reduce water consumption and air emissions, improve energy efficiency, and to comprehensively utilise solid waste in the papermaking process.
“In terms of water consumption, the ultimate goal is to have no direct waste water discharge from the Changshu mill," says Lisheng Jin. “This means that we aim to reduce consumption to 3 m3 per ton of paper and to comprehensively utilise deep treated waste water by closing the water cycle in the paper making process” he continues.
Environmental protection in China is being driven by Chinese governmental authorities
Over the past few years, the Chinese government has made environmental protection – including the reduction of water, air, and soil pollution– a top priority. The government recognises that companies play a key role protecting and efficiently utilising key raw materials, especially water. Therefore, several leading Chinese ministries that are responsible for stimulating Chinese industrial upgrading and development are working together, and with leading businesses, to promote sustainable economic and industrial growth.
The Water Efficiency Frontrunner is one of the key initiatives launched by the government to reduce industrial emissions. It was launched by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR), together with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) in 2016. In January 2017, these ministries at the State-level released an implementation plan, requiring their subsidiaries at the provincial level to recommend the first batch of candidate enterprises with outstanding water efficiency performance to compete for national recognition as benchmarks, and thus help promote water conservation among other Chinese enterprises by sharing best-practices.