Reducing GHGs, a constant concern
Energy consumption is the biggest source of GHGs in North America. GHGs come from natural sources; however, humans also contribute, especially through activities such as the burning of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum and gas for transportation, industrial activities and electricity production), deforestation and the release of methane (e.g. emissions from ruminants and decaying agricultural waste). Every energy source has energy value and consequently, causes pollution.
GHGs in North America have greatly increased in the past decade. Even though hydroelectricity generates fewer GHG emissions than electricity produced using fossil fuels, most energy produced in North America comes from fossil fuels.
The trend among paper companies is to continually reduce the use of fossil fuels by replacing them with renewable energy sources such as biomass.
Energy Consumption at Cascades
Various activities at Cascades require the use of energy. The Corporation established measures to reduce its energy consumption, GHG emissions and costs. These efforts have intensified since the creation of Cascades GIE Inc. in 1997.
Cascades and Greenhouse Gases
Production plants are the major energy-consuming entities at Cascades, and are also the main producers of greenhouse gases. Processing plants, offices and transportation activities produce a minimal amount of GHGs in comparison. Within the production plants, the biggest energy consumers are the machines (more than 95% of the total energy). The types of energy consumed by Cascades' North American plants are: natural gas, electricity, steam, several types of oil, wood residues, biogas and propane.
Although Cascades reduced the intensity of its greenhouse gas emissions by 7.1% from 2010 to 2011, it also experienced a drop in production. Overall, since 1990, Cascades has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% in absolute terms, and by 60% in regard to the intensity of its emissions (emissions per metric ton of saleable products).
Compared with the North American Industry
Cascades' performance in respect of energy efficiency is superior to the North American industry average. However, in terms of greenhouse gases, Cascades' profile is very similar to that of the industry average.