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  • Management of water and effluents in industrial operations

    Related Material Issues

    Context:

    In 2019, Suzano disclosed its Long-Term Goals that include a goal on water use: reduce specific water withdrawal by 15% by 2030.

    After this commitment was announced, the company established governance to manage this topic: annual and monthly targets were established for each industrial unit, and the results are monitored on a monthly basis by the Pulp, Engineering, and Energy Department. The company also has an Industrial Environment Working Group (GTMAI), which evaluates the results on a monthly basis.

    Each industrial operation monitors the water management indicators on a weekly basis along with the Executive Board and Industrial Management and the executives. The results are disclosed in monthly results meetings to all the unit’s employees in order to engage everyone in the topic.

    In some of the industrial operations, targets were defined by consumer sector (a consumption limit for each stage of the production process). Sector performance is monitored at routine production meetings.

    Also in 2020, improvement projects were mapped to be implemented in each industrial unit in order to reach the target by 2030. To develop this material, a survey of best practices adopted at Suzano was conducted, such as water balances, management tools (such as Six Sigma and PDCA), and innovation projects, stemming from the “i9 focus on water” program. This is an innovation incentive program, where a topic and several associated challenges are established, and recognition is given to the people who present the most innovative ideas. The goal is to encourage the operational team to contribute to the reduction of water consumption.

     

    Water management risks associated with water withdrawal, consumption and disposal

    Management of water resources is a material topic for Suzano and includes risk analysis and scenarios for mitigating impacts caused by the use of water in industrial operations.

    In recent years, the company has been experiencing periods of severe drought in the states of São Paulo, Espírito Santo, Bahia, and Maranhão, where it has four mills. This prompted a review of the strategic actions to mitigate possible water withdrawal problems and, above all, the discharge of effluents into bodies of water with restricted flow, such as the Paraíba do Sul River, whose flow was reduced by more than 57%.

    As a result, Suzano seeks to raise awareness on the topic among its partners and achieve positive results for the environment, considering that the solution, especially for the water crisis, involves several fronts of action, from the efficient use and management of natural resources to rational use and practices to mitigate potential risks.

    Therefore, Suzano’s participation in the watershed committees where its industrial units are located is considered strategic, and its objective is to keep its operations in line with the management plans of each watershed, as well as to contribute to the generation of positive results for all stakeholders. To this end, through local teams and leadership, Suzano participates in the following committees:

     

    • Alto Tietê Watershed Committee
    • Rio Doce Watershed Committee (CBH-Doce)
    • Litoral Centro Norte Watershed Committee
    • Rio Paraíba do Sul Watershed Committee (CEIVAP)
    • Piracicaba, Capivari, and Jundiaí Watersheds Committee(CPJ);
    • Crisis Committee of the National Water and Sanitation Agency (ANA) for the Tocantins River.

     

    As an example of results, in 2020 Suzano actively collaborated in defining the minimum effluent flow rates that can be used in the Paraíba do Sul River Basin, in order to guarantee minimum reserve levels.

    The company also contributed to defining the operating rules for the Hydroelectric Plants (UHEs) of the Tocantins River Basin, whose goal is to maximize water supply in the reservoir of the Serra da Mesa Hydroelectric Plant, which is the largest water supply in the world, in terms of capacity. The water stored in this reservoir will increase the resilience of the basin during long periods of drought. Besides, still concerning the Imperatriz Mill, we have developed a plan for the installation of a floating water withdrawal system in the Tocantins River, which, in an extreme drought scenario, would allow access to the water depth to capture water and continue our operation. We’ve adopted a similar system at the Jacarei Mill, which helped us go through the 2015 drought in São Paulo state, without impacting materially our operations. In both cases, the continuity of mill operations would not affect the other uses of water in the watershed.

    In 2020, also as a result of the risk analyses performed, Suzano made a strategic decision to acquire the Small Hydroelectric Plant (PCH) and to build a new Effluent Treatment Station at the Mucuri Unit.

    With the implementation of all these preventive and adaptation actions in all Suzano’s industrial units, there were no episodes involving reduction or shutdown of production due to a lack of water resources.