KINGSEY FALLS, QC, May 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Cascades is pleased to publicly reveal the initial results of the actions taken as part of its 2013-2015 Sustainable Development Plan. A year has passed since the Plan's new objectives were presented and results are already beginning to materialize: the actions taken in regard to the nine objectives have yielded positive outcomes. In the coming months, we will continue our efforts with a view to reaching all our targets by the end of 2015.
"Being accountable and communicating our results demonstrates how important this process is to us. We have been taking concrete action in regard to sustainable development for a long time. We have made extraordinary progress in a multitude of areas, including environmental and social and, now, having made clear commitments to quantified objectives, our stakeholders know what our targets are in terms of corporate social responsibility," explained Mario Plourde, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cascades.
Here are the results of the nine targeted objectives at the end of the first year of implementation:
2015 Target: Reduce the amount of energy purchased per tonne of saleable product to 10.6 gigajoules
2013 Results: 10.74
Our energy performance has improved by 2%, in particular thanks to the efforts of the Cascades GIE Inc. team (Cascades' energy efficiency specialists). The projects carried out in 2013 resulted in savings of 171 105 gigajoules, or the equivalent of the energy used annually by 1 587 Canadian households.
2015 Target: Recover 71% of waste generated
2013 Results: 72.8%
Cascades generated less waste and increased the amount of waste recovered in 2013. It has thus already exceeded its 2015 target. Two special projects contributed to these results: reusing de-inking sludge at the Tissue Group - Memphis plant, and recovering pulping waste at Norampac - Mississauga.
2015 Target: Reduce the amount of water used per tonne of saleable product to 10.6 cubic metres
2013 Results: 12.5
Our effluent flow increased slightly in 2013. This increase was due to the inclusion of the Tissue Group - Oregon reports in our calculations. Previously, this unit was not included in our calculations, since Cascades was renting a machine in an industrial complex belonging to a third party. A second paper machine was acquired in 2013, which led us to consolidate the environmental performance reports. The global portrait remains, however, close to five times better than the Canadian pulp and paper industry average. Improvement projects for the plant are scheduled for the coming months.
2015 Target: Make 40% of our purchases from suppliers evaluated and found to be responsible
2013 Results: 35%
In 2013, we continued to assess suppliers' business practices, in partnership with independent firm EcoVadis. We evaluated 36 businesses in the goods and services and chemicals categories: 34 of them obtained results that meet Cascades' expectations, while two suppliers will be re-assessed within two years. As with past supplier evaluations based on the same standards, each business now has access to its file, which indicates opportunities for improvement in areas such as the environment, fair business practices, labor practices and the supply chain.
2015 Target: Reach 6% in sales of new products
2013 Results: 4.8%
At Cascades, growth depends on innovation. The Company continues to invest tens of millions of dollars a year in research and development to remain at the forefront of the industry. Some of the innovative products recently launched include the EVOK® recycled Polystyrene foam tray, the Cascades® Moka® line of tissue products, antibacterial paper towels and Cascades Enviro Jet fine paper. A number of new innovations are currently in the design process.
2015 Target: Optimize our return on capital employed to 6%
2013 Results: 4%
In 2013, our operating income before amortization (OIBA) excluding specific items was $352 million, a 16% increase compared with 2012. We took advantage of favourable market conditions, including higher sales prices in the containerboard sector, stable prices in regard to recycled fibres, and favourable exchange rates with the Canadian dollar. Shipments also increased by 4%. All of these factors helped increase our return on capital employed to 4% in 2013, compared with 2.8% in 2012.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
2015 Target: Reduce the OSHA frequency rate to 2.5
2013 Results: 3.2
The health and safety of employees continues to be a priority at Cascades. Thanks to ongoing efforts to raise awareness and the heightened vigilance of our employees, the Company's accident rate reached an all-time low in 2013, with an OSHA frequency rate of 3.2. This represents a 15% improvement compared with 2012. A fact worth mentioning: 19 of our units were accident-free.
2015 Target: Increase the employee commitment rate to 65%
2013 Results: 55%
Based on the results of a survey conducted in 2012, our units have identified priorities for action. In accordance with the targeted themes, sub-committees were created with the aim of establishing practices to strengthen employee commitment.
2015 Target: Have 85% of our units carry out at least three initiatives in their communities
2013 Results: 50%
Last year, close to $3 million was invested in a variety of worthwhile causes in the communities in which Cascades operates. Half of our 97 North American units reached the target of three initiatives over the course of the year. In addition, we continue to highlight employee dedication through internal initiatives, including the Socio-Heroes Contest, which celebrated two Cascaders who showed extraordinary dedication to their communities.
For more information about the 2013-2015 Sustainable Development Plan, and for the most recent results, visit www.cascades.com/sustainable-development.
Founded in 1964, Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products that are composed mainly of recycled fibres. The Company employs more than 12,000 employees, who work in over 100 production units located in North America and Europe. With its management philosophy, half a century of experience in recycling, and continuous efforts in research and development as driving forces, Cascades continues to deliver the innovative products that customers have come to rely on. Cascades' shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol CAS.
SOURCE Cascades Inc.