Carbon Footprint

Measuring and analyzing our carbon footprint is an essential step toward reducing the environmental impact of Resolute Forest Products’ operations. We have tracked and reported our carbon footprint since 2006, beginning with scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and adding public disclosure of our scope 3 (supply chain) emissions in 2016. Our reporting commitments include disclosing our annual environmental performance to CDP, a globally-recognized, non-profit framework that has long championed environmental disclosure as standard business practice. For detailed information on all three scopes, please consult our CDP Climate Change disclosure.  

In 2021, we took two important steps toward further integrating sustainability practices in our supply chain: committing to work with our suppliers and related stakeholders to develop scope 3 GHG emission reduction commitments; and signing on to the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi)Our science-based target – in addition to encompassing goals for reducing scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions – will apply to all of our mills operations, as we delivered on our 2021 commitment to integrating our wood products facilities into our emissions reporting.

We also achieved our 2025 GHG reduction target ahead of schedule by reducing our scope 1 and 2 absolute GHG emissions by 33.6% compared to 2015 levels, building on our 85.6% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions at our pulp, paper and tissue mills since 2000. That is the equivalent of removing close to two million cars from the road, or more than 8.6 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents per year. 

bar graphs showing Resolute's greenhouse gas emissions since 2000 at its pulp and paper mills  

Here is a snapshot of the emission-reduction initiatives we have undertaken since 2015:
GHG Emission Reduction Initiatives
Operations Projects GHG Emission Reductions
Thunder Bay (Ontario)
Pulp and Paper Mill
C$29 million project, including $15 million to reduce the mill’s overall annual GHG emissions by more than 20% Approximately 43,000 mt* of CO2 equivalents per year
Saint-Félicien (Quebec)
Pulp Mill
C$61 million strategic investment plan, including $22 million to reduce GHG emissions by 20% Approximately 35,000 mt of CO2 equivalents per year

Project to be completed in 2022; already achieved reduction of 15,000 mt per year
Coosa Pines (Alabama)
Pulp Mill
Modernized the cogeneration turbine for a 30% reduction in purchased electricity use between 2015 and 2020 Approximately 30,000 mt of CO2 equivalents per year
Clermont (Quebec)
Newsprint Mill
Replaced bunker C oil with an electrical boiler powered by hydroelectricity 1,800 mt of CO2 equivalents per year
Dolbeau (Quebec)
Paper Mill
Reduced the use of the auxiliary boiler fueled with bunker C oil 1,600 mt of CO2 equivalents per year
Sanford and Hialeah (Florida)
Tissue Mills
Participating in SolarTogether™, a shared solar program offered by Florida Power & Lighting Approximately 8,000 mt of CO2 equivalents per year

*metric tonnes


Greenhouse Gas Emissions

GHG emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), are mostly generated by the combustion of fossil fuels at various stages in the pulp, paper and tissue making process. Methane is also produced when process waste decomposes in landfills. However, in 2021, we redirected 71% of pulp, paper and tissue mill residues and waste toward beneficial uses.

Resolute relies on the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for global warming potential (GWP) rates over a 100-year horizon in order to convert non-carbon dioxide emissions into the standard measure of carbon accounting: carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). 

In addition to our internal continuous improvement process, the company reports GHG emissions according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and follows the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, depending on the jurisdiction in which our facilities are located. 

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a tool used widely by governments and businesses to calculate and manage GHG emissions. It provides standardized methods and industry-specific calculation tools for corporate accounting and reporting. The long-standing partnership of the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) works with a variety of global stakeholders to tackle climate change with GHG inventories and management tools. Visit www.ghgprotocol.org for more information.

To standardize and provide transparency in reporting, operational boundaries are set GHG emissions are tracked under three scopes defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol:

  • SCOPE 1 includes direct emissions from controlled and/or owned sources by the company
  • SCOPE 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, such as electricity and steam consumed by the company
  • SCOPE 3 optional reporting category that includes all other indirect emissions that are not covered in scope 2, and occur in the company’s supply chain

The Carbon Cycle, Carbon Sinks and Avoided Emissions

Forests both store and release significant amounts of carbon as part of a natural cycle. Responsible forest management not only reduces a forest’s potential as a carbon source, it can also increase the effect of its carbon storage capacity. Carbon moves in and out of the atmosphere through a natural process called the carbon cycle. Some years, forests hold more carbon than they release. When they capture more CO2, they are called carbon sinks.

The process of capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it over time is called sequestration. Trees store carbon by converting CO2 into plant material through photosynthesis, which uses the energy from the sun and releases oxygen. When a tree is harvested and milled into lumber, a small amount of that carbon escapes, but most of it remains trapped within the cellular structure of the wood, effectively prolonging the effect of sequestration.

Wood products, as well as books, magazines and other durable pulp and paper products, store the carbon that began in the forest, and the recycling of paper avoids the methane emissions that occur at the landfill. These carbon sinks and avoided emissions can be subtracted from the emissions generated in the life cycle of wood products. 

Forest Carbon Cycle

diagram illustrating the forest carbon cycle

For more information, check out our blog post on Avoiding Carbon Emissions by Building with Wood.

"Cradle-to-Grave" Carbon Footprint

The carbon footprint of a product is the sum of the GHG emissions associated with its entire life cycle. For pulp, paper and other forest products, this life cycle spans the forest and manufacturing process through to the recycling center and landfill — minus sequestered or avoided emissions.

The diagram below illustrates the operational boundaries of the GHG emissions and carbon sinks attributed to the manufacture, delivery and end--use of our products.

diagram of operational boundaries