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How buying Color Copy can change the world - literally

This is the story of how Mondi invested in a hydro power plant in the South of Brazil, why this matters to everyone all over the world and how even buying a single sheet of Color Copy might change the world to the better.
There's a river in the South of Brazil called the Jaguariaíva River. Before it joins the Itarare River, which meanders through Sao Paolo, it runs through and fuels an area called the Cerrado state park, a lush tropical savannah covering large parts of the state of Paraná. But that's not all: local farmers living along the Jaguariaíva River depend on its waters to keep their businesses afloat. Some sixteen years ago, these farmers took another step to secure their future: organised in three agricultural cooperatives, they joined forces and built a power plant. Although the area is rich in coal, they decided to go with hydropower, harnessing the power of the Jaguariaíva River, and created the Pesqueiro power plant.

Even though hydropower plants can be a strain on the environment, the farmers of the area have a vested interest in keeping natural destruction to a minimum. Therefore the power plant is minimally invasive into the local ecosystem, but simultaneously provides power for the farmers of the area. So where do we come in? For us, supporting this initiative is a vital part of one of our most important goals: to offer paper that is CO₂ neutral.


All creations use resources, and using resources in turn has an impact on the environment. We quantify that impact by calculating the CO₂-footprint, which, simply put, is the amount of CO₂-emissions caused by using up these resources. In our efforts to minimise that footprint, we look at all the different areas that might allow us to cut back on the resources used.
In the process, we significantly reduced CO₂-emissions at our paper mills. This includes initiatives like the reduction of water consumption during production, switching from fossil fuels to biomass or taking iterative steps to simply use all the resources needed more efficiently. And while these efforts have had a great impact on CO₂-reduction, a certain baseline of CO₂-emissions can never be undercut.
Which is where the Pesqueiro power plant comes in. The fact that the plant is run by three cooperatives, means that it's not driven by profit, but instead by a desire to improve their members' lives, especially the smaller farmers in the region.
And yes, hydropower comes with a caveat: while it is almost void of any emissions, building hydropower plants can be a corrosive process, both for society and nature. Resettling whole swathes of villages or altering the course of a river, simply to make room for a new plant.
In the case of Pesqueiro, none of these things happened. Only a small portion of the Jaguariaíva River was redirected and trees that had to make room for the construction efforts were re-planted afterwards. As for the eco-system, over time it has even improved: As the turbines of the plant enrich the river's water with additional oxygen, the result is improved water-quality downriver, where the fish stock is now as healthy as before the plant was built.
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Now, even though Pesqueiro is an exemplary hydropower plant, you might be wondering how investing into a powerplant in Brazil could have any impact on a CO₂-footprint that is mostly the result of paper-production in Europe. It's a good question, but unlike most good questions, this one is easily answered: Pesqueiro is a climate protection project. This is not just a label slapped onto by someone wishing it were that way, it is in fact a label given to projects that fulfil a number of goals defined by the UN for sustainable development. Without investements into the power-plant as a CO2-emissions offsetting scheme, production and maintenance of the plant would not have been possible.
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If that still doesn't make sense, think about it this way:
Pesqueiro saves around 20.000 tonnes of CO₂-emissions a year, because given the current mix of electrical power produced in Brazil, 20.000 tons of CO₂ would be released into the air.
Investing in this plant is therefore like investing in cleaner air, at the same time offsetting the amount of CO₂ released in the air when producing our paper. The result: paper that's CO₂ neutral.
To make sure that our investment is indeed being used correctly, we have partnered with an organisation called ClimatePartner, who have decades of experience working with climate protection projects like the Pesqueiro plant.


At first glance, it might seem counter-intuitive to offset CO₂-emissions from production in Europe, by investing in a small hydro power plant in the South of Brazil. At second glance, the benefit is apparent: no man's an island, and when it comes to global climate, no country is an island either. We all depend on the same planet, we all depend on forests cleaning up our air, we all depend on an atmosphere that will allow us to breathe ten, twenty, fifty, hundreds of years from now. Whether it's chimneys blasting CO₂ in the air somewhere in Brazil or chimneys doing the same somewhere in Europe, the end-result is the same: Save 20.000 tons of CO₂ a year, regardless of where you're at, and you'll have impacted the whole planet.
And we're glad that with every ream of our CO₂-neutral Color Copy sold, we're contributing to a better world.

Watch the video to learn even more


Listen to the podcast

We recorded an episode for our Print and Paper podcast with founder and CEO of ClimatePartner Moritz Lehmkuhl (in German). Listen to it right here (or subscribe to our podcast right here).


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