Portuguese Paper Maker Targets U.S. Printers, Contributes to Portugal's Green Initiatives
gPS manages 296,000 acres of forest, with 74 percent of the forest yielding Eucalyptus trees. The company uses vegetative propagation of selected trees, and it is those cuttings that give origin to modern plantations. During its growth, the tree will naturally debark and lose the lower-level branches. After the first fell, at the age of 12, the tree is kept alive and reshoots from the coppice. Three fells are done using the reshooting ability of the species. The average time between each fell is 12 years and, subsequent to the third fell, the land is replanted.
“A Eucalyptus tree that is between 10 to 12 years old is the best to produce paper because, at that age, it has more productivity,” explains Carmen Correia, forest engineer at Viveiros Aliança, which has nurseries that produce forestry and ornamental plants for the company and for the external market. “But, it is very important, when making the cut, not to touch the leaf because it can die,” she adds.
Besides the production of Eucalyptus, gPS also engages in a wide range of other activities, from game reserves to production of cork, wine, honey and ornamental plants. The company’s Herdade de Espirra (Espirra Estate) winery produces 200,000 bottles of Herdade de Espirra wines a year, and invites many groups, from young to old, to participate in the “stomping” of the grapes.
gPS has undertaken many eco-friendly initiatives across the organization. Since 2000, the company has invested more than US$288 million in environmental projects on its industrial sites. Its three mills are chain-of-custody certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), as well as ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 9001.
By 2007, the company produced 74 percent of its electrical power consumption needs. That same year, forest certification (FSC-FM) was concluded for gPS’ own managed forests, and the company is working towards PEFC-FM (SFI-FM) for Q4 2008/Q1 2009. The company’s managed forests store an amount of carbon that is equivalent to the CO2 emissions generated by 1.5 million cars driving around the globe, and each year is fixing more than twice the fossil CO2 produced in its pulp and paper mills.