We emit just half the amount of CO₂ per tonne of corrugated board compared with our competitors and the industry average. This means we have already beaten Switzerland’s CO₂ emissions target for 2030.
We always use recycled fibre wherever possible, playing our part in protecting our forests. If we cannot avoid the use of virgin fibre, we purchase it from FSC-certified sources. Illegal logging does not occur at any point in our supply chain, and damaging chemicals are not used at any stage.
In terms of logistics, we avoid journeys with empty lorries. We use water in a circular fashion and our paper factories have their own wastewater treatment plants. We collect used packaging from our customers, recycle it and turn it into new packaging.
But as much as necessary. Unlike other materials such as plastic, our board and corrugated card mean that goods can be wrapped in eco-friendly packaging. There is no doubt that the manufacture of cardboard is a high energy and water-intensive process.
That’s why we focus on the areas where we can be sustainable. Our paper mills draw district heat from waste incineration plants and use solely Swiss electricity, both of which are almost carbon-neutral. Plus, our mills use recycled fibre wherever possible.
We handle resources carefully and efficiently – and not just in terms of energy, the climate, waste and water. We investigate issues such as deforestation, soil erosion and illegal logging when procuring raw materials.
Our products are resource-intensive, by their very nature. That’s why recycling and energy-efficient manufacturing are at the top of our agenda, from both an environmental and economic perspective.
We analyse, anticipate and reduce the negative effects on the environment as soon as we start development of a product. We optimise our logistics on an ongoing basis, whether with route planning and innovations, or by using return trips to bring back waste paper and cardboard.
We purify wastewater, use recycled fibre where possible and buy only certified virgin fibre, where we need it.
Model Recover offers simple solutions for the collection and recycling of waste paper and cardboard. Whenever our lorries deliver new products, they bring back used items from our customers. This enables everyone involved to save valuable time, logistics expenses and CO₂. Plus, it means we avoid empty trips.
Since 2015, we have obtained wheat starch from our nearby supplier Meyerhans Mühlen AG. This helps us to save 400,000 km in lorry journeys every year and more than 380 tonnes of CO₂.
But what’s unique about it is that we emit only half as much CO₂ as our competitors and the industry average. By and large, Model had replaced fossil fuels with heat from waste incineration plants as far back as the turn of the millennium, with this heat being practically carbon-neutral. Plus, we like to stand by Swiss electricity, which is almost carbon-neutral as well, thanks to hydropower and nuclear power. By 2030, Switzerland wants its CO₂ emissions to be half of what they were in 1990 – and we have already exceeded this goal.
We have also worked with Switzerland’s Federal Office of Energy (BFE) and the Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU) to agree on additional goals for our manufacturing plants. By 2030, for example, we want to reduce our energy usage and CO₂ output by an additional 15% compared with our 2017 figures.
To reach these goals, we are making optimisations both large and small. We are constructing efficient manufacturing buildings, such as our logistics hall in Moudon, Switzerland, which does not require energy for heating. We are replacing old lighting systems with LEDs and insulating existing halls with modern thermal insulation panels. We are replacing compressors that have energy-guzzling air coolers with new, water-cooled compressors. We use the hot water produced there to heat buildings or our service water.
These are just some of our actions that have seen us save a total of 1,273 tonnes of CO₂ compared with last year. 102,000 beech trees would have to grow for 80 years to soak up this much CO₂.
We are continually improving and modernising our paper factories. Part of this involves using less fresh water so that we create less wastewater. The less fresh water we use, the more concentrated the wastewater, which according to the best available technology is associated with an increased use of chemicals. That’s why our Weinfelden and Niedergösgen sites feature wastewater treatment plants to repurify the water.
Our waste is composed primarily of paper fibre that is recycled in our factories as a raw material. Our packaging consists largely of recycled fibre because recycled paper reduces emissions by more than 20% compared with paper made from virgin fibre.
The waste paper we use as a raw material contains impurities, such as scrap wood, metal and plastic, which must be sifted out during the manufacturing process. We have our own incineration plant to thermally treat this material and use the heat captured from it to dry the new paper within the paper mill.
We use paper fibre up to seven times, until it cannot be recycled any more. If white cardboard coating is required, we make sure we use virgin fibre from sustainable sources. We offer packaging made from FSC-certified materials across all our plants, ensuring that our suppliers meet the most stringent management criteria for eco-friendly forest use.
...if you do it only to assuage a guilty conscience. However, we offer packaging that is carbon-neutral thanks to emissions offsetting. Some CO₂ emissions can be avoided only at exorbitant cost, if at all, and our customers can offset them by funding projects to protect the climate. In collaboration with the climate protection consultancy Climate Partner, we have developed a CO₂ calculator that creates transparency from one end of the value chain to the other.
To reach these goals, we will optimise our fibre recovery process, improve our logistics and introduce new technology along the value chain.
This report complies with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards and aligns the key aspects of the GRI with the four pillars of the Model Group’s sustainability strategy.