Environmental impact assessment and environmental auditing in the pulp and paper industry


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

ISBN 92-5-103794-9

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director, Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.


Along with many industrial activities, pulp and paper is an industry with potentially serious impact on air and water quality, resource consumption, and worker safety. As world-wide experience has shown, inadequate consideration of the environmental impact of pulp and paper production can lead to severe damage. On the other hand, major progress has been made by the industry in recent years, and modern technologies for the treatment of effluents have greatly reduced their volume and toxicity.

In addition to treatment measures, it is most important to assess the potential impacts of new mills at the very beginning of project planning, as well as to establish the procedures to monitor the level of preparedness of a company to deal with environmental emergencies. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Auditing (EA) are two tools to answer these questions.

This publication is directed toward people in charge of EIA or EA in the pulp and paper industry. It is intended as an overview of the different factors that must be addressed in an EIA and as general guidance for people planning, designing or assessing pulp and paper projects or operating sites. It provides background information about both the paper industry and the methods used for undertaking an EIA and an EA. It is addressed to persons responsible for environmental matters in government or in industry, either at the project or at the production level. To assist them in their duties, this document provides numerous tables and check-lists specifically adapted to the needs of the pulp and paper industry

This Forestry Paper has been prepared by Oreade, a environmental consulting firm, under the direct supervision of the Forest Products Division of FAO. Since the objective is not only to provide information, but also to establish dialogue with industry experts, readers are invited to communicate their comments or suggestions to FAO so they can be taken into account in future environment-related publications.

David A. Harcharik
Assistant Director-General
Forestry Department

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Rome, 1996

Hyperlinks to non-FAO Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to non-FAO sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.



1.1 - Production/consumption
1.2 - Main steps for papermaking
1.3 - Raw material production and exploitation
1.4 - Industrial processes

1.4.1 - Raw material storage and preparation
1.4.2 - Pulping
1.4.3 - Bleaching
1.4.4 - Papermaking

1.5 - Transport


2.1 - Goals of EIA and EA
2.2 - Contents of an EIA
2.3 - Contents of an Environmental Auditing
2.4 - Place of the EIA and EA in the Project Cycle
2.5 - The EIA Cycle
2.6 - Methodologies for Predicting Impact in an EIA

2.6.1 - Check-lists or EIA type methods
2.6.2 - Matrix method
2.6.3 - The Batelle method
2.6.4 - Software

2.7 - The Environmental Auditing Cycle


3.1 - Preamble
3.2 - Pre-environmental Impact Assessment

3.2.1 - Site selection
3.2.2 - Raw material production and exploitation
3.2.3 - Industrial processes - Raw material storage and preparation - Storage - Raw material preparation - Pulping - Mechanical pulping - Chemi-mechanical and semi-chemical pulping - Chemical pulping - Non-wood fibrous material processes - The particular case of recycled paper - Synthesis of pulping analysis - Bleaching - Mechanical pulp bleaching - Chemical pulp bleaching - Dioxins emissions - Papermaking - Energy consumption

3.2.4 Check-list for industrial process
3.2.5 - Transportation facilities and constraints
3.2.6 - Project justifications

3.3 - Environmental Impact Assessment

3.3.1 - The steering committee
3.3.2 - Project description
3.3.3 - Site description
3.3.4 - Environmental and social effects of the project - Impacts resulting from the production and exploitation of the raw material - Impacts of the industrial activity - Impact on water - Impact on air quality, noise and odours - Impact on soil and topology - Impact on fauna, flora and biodiversity - Impact on land uses and activities - Hazards generated by the project - Impacts of transportation - The actual phase of project construction

3.3.5 - Mitigating measures - Measures related to raw material production and exploitation - Measures related to plant operation - Measures to avoid or limit water consumption and pollution - Measures to avoid air pollution - Measures to avoid land pollution - Other measures

3.3.6 - Monitoring, management and training plans


4.1 - Preamble
4.2 Pre-audit Activities
4.3 Activities at the Site

4.3.1 Identifying and understanding management control systems
4.3.2 Assessing management control systems
4.3.3 Gathering audit evidence
4.3.4 Evaluating audit findings
4.3.5 Reporting audit findings

4.4 Post-audit Activities


5.1 - Institutional Strategy
5.2 - Industrial Strategy
5.3 - Information and Training




Figure 1: Main kinds of activities to be studied during the EIA or the EA of a pulp and paper project
Figure 2: Project cycle and timing of the EIA and EA (Source: Brèche)
Figure 3: Environmental Impact Assessment cycle (Source BRECHE)
Figure 4: Example of matrix for the pulp and paper industry (Leopold method).
Figure 5: Industry and environmental relationship. (Source: Environmental auditing at Ciba Geigy)
Figure 6: Basic steps of an EA (Source: International Chamber of Commerce in UNEP/IEO Technical report).
Figure 7: Environmental management system (Source: method European Union, drawing Brèche)
Figure 8: Simplified diagram of a typical pulp and paper process
Figure 9: Parameters likely to be addressed in the site description of an EIA
Figure 10: Various inputs and outputs to be studied in the plant during an EA
Figure 11: Simplified diagram of a material balance (Source: UNEP)


Table 1: Integrated kraft mill wastewater, TSS waste load and BOD5 waste load
Table 2: Evolution of TSS, BOD5, COD and OM waste loads in pulp mill and paper mill, from 1970 to 1987
Table 3: Oxydizable matter in water effluents of various processes.
Table 4: Comparison of debarking processes
Table 5: Typical pulp yields
Table 6: Dissolved organic substances, BOD, COD and suspended solid discharges from mechanical pulping.
Table 7: By-products of a typical sulphite cook
Table 8: Characteristics of ultra high yield sulphite spruce pulps for various processes
Table 9: Concentrations of important chemical constituents in various fibre sources
Table 10: Examples of fresh water consumption, BOD7, COD and TDS in secondary fibre processing according to different processes
Table 11: Typical newsprint pulp and effluent characteristics
Table 12: Bleaching processes for mechanical pulps
Table 13: Sources of bleach plant effluent colour in American Public Health Association (APHA) chloroplatinate Units.
Table 14: Chemicals used in bleaching
Table 15: Water consumption and discharges of suspended solids and BOD7 in modern paper mills
Table 16: Typical process energy requirements before and after internal energy-efficiency improvement (heat in GJ and power in k Wh/t)
Table 17: Example of impact synthesis
Table 18: Typical characteristics of pulp and paper mill untreated effluents
Table 19: Mill effluents from different processes (before out-plant treatment)
Table 20: Typical bleached kraft mill effluent characteristics
Table 21: Typical guideline values of allowable suspended solids losses and typical value of allowable BOD5 discharges from new pulp and paper mills (in kg/air dry ton of product)
Table 22: Typical guideline values of allowable suspended solids losses and typical value of allowable BOD5 discharges from new pulp and paper mills (in kg/air dry ton of product)
Table 23: Characteristics of kraft mill reduced sulphur gas (Source Handbook of pulp and paper technology, TAPPI)
Table 24: Typical emissions of particle matter from older and modern mills (Source World Bank)
Table 25: Typical Total Reduced Sulphur (TRS) emissions from older and modern mills
Table 26: Typical emissions rates for SOX and NOX from kraft pulp mill combustion sources (before control devices)
Table 27: Typical modern emissions limits (monthly average)
Table 28: Solid wastes in pulp and paper mills
Table 29: Compounds toxic to fish in pulp mill effluents
Table 30: Example of matrix to analyze the interference between pulp and paper operations and land uses and riches
Table 31: Classification of effects in relation to ecological significance
Table 32: Solid wastes characterization
Table 33: Example of audit records
Table 34: Example of audit records
Table 35: Example of matrix to organize the findings


Check-List 1: Pre-Environmental Site Selection
Check-List 2: Raw Material Production
Check-List 3: Impacts Of Industrial Process During Pre-Eia Phase
Check-List 4: Impacts Of Transportation
Check-List 5: Quality Of Forest Management Plan And Forecasted Works
Check-List 6: Impact Of The Plant On Water
Check-List 7: Impact Of The Plant On Air Quality
Check-List 8: Solid Wastes Management Impacts
Check-List 9: Impacts On Fauna, Flora And Ecosystems
Check-List 10: Simple Assessment Of Raw Material Production And Exploitation Environmental Management
Check-List 11: Simple Assessment Of The Industrial Environmental Management. Inputs Check-List
Check-List 12: Simple Assessment Of The Industrial Environmental Management. Outputs Check-List
Check-List 13: Simple Assessment Of The Impacts Of Transportation
Check-List 14: Assessment Of Environmental Management
Check-List 15: Reviewing An Eia
Check-List 16: Reviewing An Ea