Relevant Issues (5 of 26)
Why are some issues greyed out?The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability-related risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to be useful to investors, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the ISSB continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company determines which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are relevant to its business. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability-related risks and opportunities based on their unique business model.
GHG EmissionsThe category addresses direct (Scope 1) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that a company generates through its operations. This includes GHG emissions from stationary (e.g., factories, power plants) and mobile sources (e.g., trucks, delivery vehicles, planes), whether a result of combustion of fuel or non-combusted direct releases during activities such as natural resource extraction, power generation, land use, or biogenic processes. The category further includes management of regulatory risks, environmental compliance, and reputational risks and opportunities, as they related to direct GHG emissions. The seven GHGs covered under the Kyoto Protocol are included within the category—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
Air QualityThe category addresses management of air quality impacts resulting from stationary (e.g., factories, power plants) and mobile sources (e.g., trucks, delivery vehicles, planes) as well as industrial emissions. Relevant airborne pollutants include, but are not limited to, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), oxides of sulfur (SOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, particulate matter, and chlorofluorocarbons. The category does not include GHG emissions, which are addressed in a separate category.
Energy ManagementThe category addresses environmental impacts associated with energy consumption. It addresses the company’s management of energy in manufacturing and/or for provision of products and services derived from utility providers (grid energy) not owned or controlled by the company. More specifically, it includes management of energy efficiency and intensity, energy mix, as well as grid reliance. Upstream (e.g., suppliers) and downstream (e.g., product use) energy use is not included in the scope.
Water & Wastewater ManagementThe category addresses a company’s water use, water consumption, wastewater generation, and other impacts of operations on water resources, which may be influenced by regional differences in the availability and quality of and competition for water resources. More specifically, it addresses management strategies including, but not limited to, water efficiency, intensity, and recycling. Lastly, the category also addresses management of wastewater treatment and discharge, including groundwater and aquifer pollution.
- Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
- Ecological Impacts
- Human Rights & Community Relations
- Customer Privacy
- Data Security
- Access & Affordability
- Product Quality & Safety
- Customer Welfare
- Selling Practices & Product Labeling
- Labour Practices
- Employee Health & Safety
- Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
Business Model and Innovation
- Product Design & Lifecycle Management
- Business Model Resilience
Supply Chain ManagementThe category addresses management of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks within a company’s supply chain. It addresses issues associated with environmental and social externalities created by suppliers through their operational activities. Such issues include, but are not limited to, environmental responsibility, human rights, labour practices, and ethics and corruption. Management may involve screening, selection, monitoring, and engagement with suppliers on their environmental and social impacts. The category does not address the impacts of external factors – such as climate change and other environmental and social factors – on suppliers’ operations and/or on the availability and pricing of key resources, which is covered in a separate category.
- Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
- Physical Impacts of Climate Change
Leadership and Governance
- Business Ethics
- Competitive Behaviour
- Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment
- Critical Incident Risk Management
- Systemic Risk Management
Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: Pulp & Paper Products
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The manufacturing of pulp and paper products generates direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the combustion of fossil fuels and biomass in stationary and mobile engines, cogeneration boilers, and other processing equipment. Entities in this industry also typically use significant amounts of carbon-neutral biomass for their energy needs, the use of which may reduce the costs associated with purchasing fossil fuels, as well as mitigate regulatory risk associated with carbon emissions. Emissions associated with fossil fuel sources may add regulatory compliance costs, depending on the magnitude of emissions and the prevailing emissions regulations. Entities that cost-effectively manage GHG emissions through greater energy efficiency, alternative fuels use or manufacturing process improvements may benefit from improved operating efficiency and reduced regulatory compliance costs.
Pulp and paper products mills generate air emissions including sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The sources of emissions include cogeneration fuel boilers, pulp and paper pressure chambers, wood chip pulping, pulping chemical recovery, and process engines. Although emissions from the industry have declined considerably in recent years, emissions abatement expenditures may be significant, while evolving air-quality regulations can create regulatory uncertainty. Entities that can cost-effectively reduce air emissions may improve operational efficiency, benefit from a lower cost structure and mitigate regulatory risk.
Pulp and paper products manufacturing is energy-intensive. In most facilities, entities generate energy primarily from the combustion of biomass and fossil fuels, although purchased electricity also may be used in some facilities. Decisions regarding on-site electricity generation versus sourcing it from the grid, as well as the use of biomass and other renewable energy, may create trade-offs related to the energy supply’s cost and reliability for operations and the extent of the regulatory risk from Scope 1 or other air emissions. The way an entity manages energy efficiency, its reliance on varied types of energy and the associated sustainability risks, and its access to alternative energy sources, may mitigate the effects of energy cost variability.
Pulp and paper products manufacturing is typically water-intensive in materials processing, process cooling and steam generation at on-site energy plants. Entities require ample, stable water supplies and may produce large volumes of wastewater, the majority of which is treated and returned to the environment. Process water typically contains dissolved organic compounds and other solids, underscoring the importance of water treatment. In addition to water effluents, water availability is an important consideration because water scarcity may result in higher supply costs, supply disruptions or tension with local water users. Entities may adopt various strategies to address water supply and treatment issues, such as cost-effectively enhancing the recycling of process water, improving production techniques to lower water intensity, and ensuring compliance with water-effluent regulations.
Supply Chain Management
Pulp and paper products entities source wood and wood fibre from forestry management entities, paper fibre recyclers and forests that the entities themselves manage. Supply chain risks include decreased productivity of forestlands because of management practices or climate change, regulations addressing sustainable forest management, and reputational effects. To mitigate such risks and satisfy growing customer demand for sustainably sourced fibre and paper products, manufacturers implement forest certification and fibre chain-of-custody standards which verify that virgin and recycled fibre originate from sustainably managed forests. In addition, pulp and paper manufacturers may face trade-offs from the use of recovered fibre. Products with recycled content are increasingly in demand, providing a possible avenue for product differentiation, while using recycled fibre can minimise the need for virgin fibre. Conversely, manufacturing products with a greater recycled content may increase waste generation and energy consumption, while recycled fibre can be costlier, given demand–supply gaps. Therefore, entities may benefit by optimising recycled fibre use to balance its environmental and economic trade-offs.