Making Indian Pulp & Paper Industry World Class
An energy and water intensive sector, the Indian pulp and paper sector has unlimited scope for improvement in its environmental performance. Pulp and paper manufacturers are therefore increasingly on the lookout for appropriate technologies and best practices for improving their performance and reducing their ecological footprint.
With the support of all the stakeholders of the Indian pulp and paper sector, CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre has started a movement under the banner “Make Indian Pulp & Paper Industry World Class”.
In connection with this movement, CII Godrej GBC has partnered with Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA) and instituted an annual event called PaperTech. The 8th edition of PaperTech took place on 20 and 21 June 2014 at HICC, Hyderabad.
The main objectives of this conference were dissemination of the latest trends and technologies related to energy, water and environmental performance improvement; facilitation of sharing of best practices amongst Indian pulp and paper plants; involvement of more paper plants, including small and medium plants, in activities related to making the Indian pulp and paper industry world class; and sharing the progress made and the benefits achieved through world-class paper plant activities
The two-day conference focused on areas such as world class initiatives in the Indian pulp and paper sector; preparedness towards mandatory programmes like Performance, Achieve & Trade Scheme, Renewable Purchase Obligation and Solar Purchase Obligation; pulp and paper making; recovery island, power block and utilities; small and medium-sized mills including agro- and recycled fibre-based mills; water and waste water management; and waste to energy opportunities.
The event was targeted at integrated, medium and small scale pulp and paper manufacturers; technology developers and equipment suppliers; consultants; R & D institutes; and government and multilateral agencies.
Delivering the welcome speech, Mr. Suresh R Chitturi, Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry, said, “We are sure that the new industrial policy, which would be announced soon, will attract increasing investments from both within and outside the country… . The new industrial policy should focus on power, manufacturing, green buildings, food processing, pharmaceuticals and IT among others. This indeed would be beneficial to the state of Telangana. The need of the hour is to work more closely with all the stakeholders to ensure the holistic development of the state. We at CII would be pleased and honoured in taking this development agenda forward with the state… . We are sure that the state of Telangana will set new benchmarks in global standards in promoting and pursuing ecologically sustainable business growth models.” Mr. Chitturi also briefed the audience and participants on the activities of CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre.
Speaking at the conference, Mr. Sanjay Singh, Co-chair of PaperTech 2014 and Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Limited, said, “The paper industry is currently going through a lean patch. Difficult situations prevail on the raw material front – all created by us. We didn’t plant enough trees. We thought they would grow by themselves. But the truth is that you need to plant trees after you cut some of them. Assuming that there was no need to plant trees, we started setting up pulp and paper mills…we put up big paper machines without doing the plantation job. And we all paid the price for it. I hope paper industry’s leaders would learn from this mistake and start doing something better… . Fortunately, a lot of improvement has been achieved on the energy and water fronts. Almost 30 years ago, water consumption per ton of paper/paper board produced was 250 cubic meters. If you tell a youngster today that 250 cubic meters of water is used to manufacture 1 ton of paper, he or she may shudder at the wastage of water and decide never to join paper industry. This industry used to waste a lot of water. But over a period of time we have been able to reduce our consumption of water – through hard work and special efforts – to somewhere around 40-50 cubic meters per ton of paper. And in times to come, water consumption will be reduced to around 30 cubic meters. A paper machine based on recycled material consumes much less water – 7-8 cubic meters. So, we as an industry are on our way to becoming a world-class industry.
“A lot is happening on the energy front as well. An integrated pulp and paper mill now practically produces about 50 per cent of its energy from the black liquor that it generates. And our energy consumption has come down considerably. So we are currently a very sustainable industry. We are growing our raw material – a tree grows in four years’ time; we cut some trees, but we plant a good number of trees as well. Yes, we are slowly becoming a world-class industry. We are facing a few industry-related issues, but if we share our knowledge and experiences with one another, we would be able to address them. Current trends suggest that paper consumption worldwide is falling. But something in me tells me that at some stage, this trend will reverse. Use of electronic media has become very fashionable, but electronic media consume more energy — right from programming to streaming to viewing – than print medium. In times to come – let’s say 25 years from now – people will begin to realise the negative impact of electronic media on power consumption. And many would say that paper is much better than electronic media. This is the feeling I have. I cannot substantiate it with data, but deep down in my heart I know it’s true.”
Delivering the keynote address at the conference, Mr. KS Kasi Viswanathan, Chairman, PaperTech 2014, and Managing Director, Seshasayee Paper and Boards Limited, said, “PaperTech focuses on efficient use of raw material, energy and water… . The quality of power is also important: A pump tripping at a paper mill can cause a major monetary loss… . Our key focus areas include energy and water efficiency, generation of wealth from waste, increasing renewable power generation, meeting PAT and RPO requirements and improving process operations to become environment friendly. We have to learn to conserve water and energy and use raw material judiciously – it’s a matter of survival now.”
Mr. Viswanathan also highlighted the good work being done by CII: “So far we have released six manuals. We went to some of the paper mills in the country and after identifying and understanding the best practices they follow, presented adequate information on the practices through our manuals and website. Our focus areas include energy efficiency, waste to energy, renewable energy, water conservation and environmental improvement. Obviously, these practices have been actually implemented; they are not theoretical. All of them are technically feasible and financially viable, and their replication potential is quite high. We just need to fine tune them and explore the possibility of implementing them at our plants. And I sincerely thank these paper mills for sharing their best practice case studies with us.”
Giving his special address at the conference, Mr. W. Michael Amick Jr., President, International Paper India, said, “International Paper has been part of my life. I am a third-generation employee. As a matter of fact, my youngest son is now fourth generation employee at International Paper at one of our mills in southern Alabama. We are a 116-year-old company and I’ve been around since 1998. We have a global footprint, operating in over 25 countries around the world – in places such as China, Brazil, North America, Europe, Russia and most recently, a couple of years ago, up here in India. About 75 per cent of our company has a packaging footprint and paper remains at 25 per cent. We are primarily a North America-based company, and 70 per cent of our earnings come out of North America and the other 30 per cent come out of the rest of the world. It’s really been a transformation for us over the last 30 years…
“I will talk about what I see as global trends that are developing in our industry. First and foremost, on a worldwide basis, we see this industry as a growth industry, especially when we focus on the emerging markets. India is clearly posted for a very dramatic and vibrant growth. When we look at what it’s going to take, what we really do is look at our history in the areas we’ve operated and have evolved over the many decades. It’s disciplined focused approach on the operations that you have. It’s arming your people with the best technology that’s available, costively upgrading and improving in technology… . The very important thing we do at International Paper is to make sure that we are investing in the best practices, state-of-the-art assets, to generate world-class, efficient and environmental-friendly operations around the world. We are especially bullish when you think about the packaging side. Overall, if you look at the worldwide demand for paper, it is growing; but in a lot of areas, we have started seeing some stabilisations. Some of our success factors…one is that we have focused on customers. In order to be successful, we should keep in mind that negligence with regards to customers is devilish. In the paper industry, it is particularly important. We are committed to continuously delivering high-quality products with the right service. That’s not just about investing in paper machines. It’s also about investing in those processes that generate a reliable dependable partner in International Paper. Over the last 15 years, we have spent over $1 billion in International Paper to improve our supply chain…focusing on areas of customer service, transportation, scheduling and planning to make sure that we have processes in place and tools in the hands of our employees that will deliver reliable service and reliable products – meaning you know the travails that you can get into if you’ve got a system that can’t bridge the gap between your various locations in terms of planning, logistics and so forth.
“The other area that we focus on quite heavily at International Paper is the area of people. Our team members and employees at International Paper are the most valuable asset we have. It’s from them that the innovations, ideas, discretional efforts come from in order to serve our customer and to serve each other. So we are constantly looking for the best talent, putting in place again the right processes, the right systems, to create an innovative, inclusive environment where all people from all walks of life have an opportunity to express their opinions. We want to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable, sharing what’s on their mind – that’s where the best ideas come from. That’s something we take very seriously at International Paper. It’s very important to us.
“The other area we focus on is operational excellence. This is really about putting in best practice processes. There is a famous coach in the US who says, ‘Look, you focus on your job; you focus on the process of doing your job, the score will take care of itself.’ If we create an environment where the best people focus on their job with the right tools and follow the processes, earning the money, generating returns and giving quality and services to customers will take care of itself – that’s the score. All of this needs to be done in a way that makes us good neighbours in the community we operate in. We need to focus on the right processes, not just on earning money.
“We also focus on the environment. APPM-IP has had a very vibrant farm forestry programme since the late 1980s. In 2012, we planted the billionth tree. We plant far more trees than we consume. We have done all this because it’s the right thing to do. We have aimed at creating a healthy forestry environment where we operate – it’s the right thing to do.”
Addressing the audience at the conference, Dr. K Pradeep Chandra, IAS, Special Chief Secretary & Commissioner for Industrial Promotion, Government of Telangana, said, “It would not be wrong to say that pollution is a serious problem for pulp and paper industry. This industry pollutes water, air and soil. And this industry is also acknowledged to be the largest and the most polluting industry in the world… . This industry is a large consumer of water, power and natural resources by way of pulping requirement, which is trees and green wood. However, people in the country need paper and paper products. We cannot say that it is an industry that is not required. Paper industry plays an important role in the social and economic development of our country – as well as our state. And from the revenue perspective, the industry country-wide generates about Rs 30,000 crore and provides employment to about 15 million people – directly and indirectly.
“We need to find out how we can grow this industry along with sustainable environment. How should they go hand in hand? I think that is the main question. Such issues are addressed on an annual basis by paper industry through conferences like PaperTech. It is heartening to know that it is a continuing process and that each year has been a substantial increment in how these environmental and energy issues are tackled by the industry. We know that paper and pulp mills use a mix of hundreds of chemicals that harm the environment, and actually nobody knows how the sludge or effluents at the mills are discharged. But discharge of these effluents into the soil is harmful to the land. And generic damage and toxicity to fish and essential microorganisms in our water bodies still occur. Chlorine, which is used as a bleaching agent, is also a big pollutant. I think CII should come up with a mark or certificate for the Indian paper industry: A paper mill that has obtained this mark or certificate would be considered as safe and environment friendly.
“Paper companies in India have implemented many strategies to become world-class green companies. One of the problems faced by Indian paper mills concerns replanting of trees. Some of the paper mills have access to some kind of genetically modified or fast-growing hybrid pulping species that can have a three to four years’ cycle of harvesting. If this know-how is transferred to village self-help groups or organisations of small farmers and if there is a long-term deal or long-term commercial arrangement where farmers raise these varieties under the supervision of paper mills and harvesting is done on a scientific and technical basis, I am sure that there will be a sustainable source of material for paper industry and, at the same time, there will be some income generation at the level of villages.
“Over a period of time, the environmental impact of paper mills has definitely lessened. We’ve heard about what paper mills are currently doing in this area. And several paper mills in Telangana are also in the forefront in adopting sustainable business practices. I must mention that green technologies offer huge investment opportunities and given the green mandates in a number of countries including India, the state of Telangana has identified green technologies as one of the future growth sectors and thrust areas. Green technologies offer large investment and entrepreneurial opportunities to national and international markets. These opportunities include manufacture and installation of nuclear energy equipment, developmental technologies for industry, transport, buildings, automotive sectors, service industry, recycling companies, waste management treatment companies as well as companies that are transport-based – these sectors have a huge potential. So, we need to focus on green technologies and encourage these sectors. Other examples would include engineering companies, waste water treatment, water treatment, air pollution control and waste treatment equipment as well as companies that provide monitoring, measuring and analysis services – the range is huge. We invite investors and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the enormous potential that the green industry sector offers. Opportunities in the green industry sector prove that it is possible to realise green industry in tandem with income and job creation as well as economic growth. And there is immense market potential across all green initiatives waiting to be tapped. And Government of Telangana has to offer possible support in this direction. “
Speaking about industry-related issues, he said, “One of the issues revolves around solar energy. We know that the state of Telangana offers a huge potential for generation and distribution of solar energy. Entrepreneurs in the field of installation management and operation of solar power systems will definitely benefit from this new thrust. Through the Telangana Industrial Infrastructure Corporation, we are in the process of setting up 6,000 acres of solar power at Ghattu Mandal, Mahabubnagar, with a potential of generating about 1,000 MW of power. This will give a boost to the generation of solar energy.
“The other industry that is of interest to us is the packaging industry. We have the unique advantage of having nationally reputed institute of packaging right here in Hyderabad. All those who have branched into packaging – the manufacturers – should partner with this institute of packaging so that we can raise the standard of this institute more.
“Everybody has been talking about the new industrial policy. We do intend to work on our new policy. We do strongly believe in our new consultative process. We work very closely with CII, FICCI and other small industry associations. We will talk with you all too. We have some ideas in mind that we will discuss with you all as representatives of paper industry. We will take inputs from you all so that we make the best industry-friendly policy for the country – not only for large industry but also for small industry; not only for second- or third-generation entrepreneurs but also first-generation women and dalit entrepreneurs. We hope to have a very comprehensive policy very soon.”
Soon after concluding his speech, Mr. Chandra released CII’s “Best Practices Manual.”
Giving the vote of thanks, Mr. S Raghupathy, Executive Director, CII – Godrej GBC said, “Pulp and paper industry currently faces the issue of availability of water. It is difficult to find a place in India that does not face water scarcity. The industry faces a bigger challenge. Industry leaders must keep in mind that if society gets the impression that the industry is competing with it for water, the industry will be in deep trouble. The industry must not let this perception grow. So, it should reduce its consumption of water as much as possible. Also, pulp and paper companies must strategically invest in all water resources around them. Many companies have started investing in water harvesting structures at nearby locations so that society is fully taken care of. The image that the industry must project of itself is that of an industry that does not compete with society for water. This is very important.
“Also, there are many opportunities outside a typical paper factory to save energy, cost and material. For example, a company can invest in improving its supply chain. So, we need to carefully look at the issue of water scarcity and concentrate fully on logistics on the supply side.”