Tiia Finér, Development Manager at Joutseno pulp mill, logs into the system that the mill’s employees use to record environmental observations, potential risks and deviations.

“There are different kinds of environmental observations. A chemicals container in a risky location is one example of such an environmental observation. The observation enables us to react before any accident occurs,” says Finér.

The system records not only deviations but also positive environmental observations. Tried and tested practices can be of use to other mills.

All employees conduct proactive environmental work

Making observations about the environment is part of every employee’s tasks. Mill employees compare observations, in their morning meetings for example, and if necessary decide who will follow up the matter.

“The system motivates our employees to observe their environment and pay attention to environmental matters.”

Regular training for employees ensures that environmental matters remain part of daily routines.

Thousands of waterway analyses annually

In Joutseno, Metsä Fibre has been cooperating with Saimaan Vesi- ja Ympäristötutkimus Oy, a research provider, since the 1980s.

“We analyse Metsä Fibre’s wastewater, groundwater and other waters that end up in waterbodies in their production areas,” says Mikael Kraft, a limnologist at Saimaan Vesi- ja Ympäristötutkimus.

The waters of the southern end of Lake Saimaa are monitored by Metsä Fibre and seven other parties. Water samples are taken eight times a year, and the number of analyses based on them runs into the thousands.

The quality of water in Joutseno has remained stable since the introduction of biological treatment plants. Since the volume and quality of wastewater have a direct impact on the quality of water and the living organisms in Lake Saimaa, they also contribute to the quality of water.

“This tells that the measures adopted in wastewater treatment have been the right kind”, says Kraft.

Minimizing the environmental impact

The aim of proactive environmental work is to minimise the environmental impact of our operations. We proactively improve our environmental performance by assessing environmental risks and drawing up precautionary plans to manage them, and by addressing unusual situations before they cause unusual burdens.

Any deviations in our environmental performance are investigated and corrective measures are defined for future reference. Our good environmental performance also provides our customers with added value and a competitive edge.

This article was originally published in Fibre Magazine issue 2022-2023.