DS Smith boosts its sustainable development efforts by investing €90 million in its Rouen paper mill

DS Smith, a world leader in sustainable packaging solutions, today unveiled a major investment aimed at transforming the energy supply of the paper mill at its site in Normandy, near Rouen. The project involves replacing the existing coal-fired boiler with a new biomass boiler that will reduce the site’s emissions by  99 000 tonnes of CO2 per year*.

The high-tech 56 MW Valmet boiler, operated by Engie Solutions, will supply at least 80% of the site’s heat demand and will be fully operational by the first quarter of 2025. It will be fuelled by 94,000 tonnes of biofuel, 30% of which will come from by-products (pulper waste) and 70% from wood waste such as furniture and demolition waste.

The project has been approved by the Regional Biomass Scheme in 2022 and is supported by the local authority, including  €15 million grant from the Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie (ADEME).

DS Smith is also studying the future installation of a steam turbine capable of producing around 10 MW of electricity with a maximum steam supply of 65 t/h.

Niels Flierman, Head of Paper and Recycling at DS Smith, said: “The Rouen paper mill is a central part of our European operations and an important producer of recycled corrugated base paper in France, playing a key role in the supply of board packaging to replace to  problematic plastics. As with all our activities, the implementation of large-scale carbon reduction initiatives is a priority for DS Smith as we seek to meet our immediate and long-term sustainability goals. Thanks to the move away from coal and the installation of a new biomass boiler, we will be making significant CO2 savings, which will contribute not only to our own activities, but also to those of our customers through their Type 3 emissions**”.

In addition to the biomass boiler, two new gas boilers (2 x 34 t/h of steam) will be added to the existing back-up boiler fleet, which already include an existing gas boiler (34 t/h of steam).

This project, costing almost 90 million euros, is one of a number of initiatives in Europe and North contribute to DS Smith’s objective of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46% in absolute terms by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, and to achieve zero net emissions by 2050. DS Smith is also participating in the Science-Based Targets (SBTi) initiative with our science-based target of 1.5°C in line with the Paris Agreement objectives. DS Smith is also a member of the United Nations Race to Zero campaign.

*Compared to FY22/23
**Scope 3 covers emissions that are not produced by the company itself and do not result from the activities of assets it owns or controls, but from those for which it is indirectly responsible upstream and downstream of its production chain.