A Hallmark of Excellence
The Navigator Company’s 2016-2017 Sustainability Report reflects our responsible management and commitment to sustainable development.
Navigator’s sustainability strategy covers challenges in the areas of Circular Economy, Climate Change, Biodiversity Conservation and Innovation, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations.
Navigator has a sustainable business model based on the use of renewable raw materials and biodegradable, recyclable products, which contribute to people’s well-being. We invest in staff training and in social responsibility programs in the community.
Areas of Business
At The Navigator Company, the R&D function (Research & Development) is assigned to RAIZ—the Institute of Forest and Paper, which focuses on know-how for the eucalyptus pulp and paper industries, alongside the academic community.
In 2017, this relationship was strengthened with funding from the Inpactus Program, enabling the production of paper with better printing properties and new functional coatings, as well as biofuels and biocomposites made from biomass.
As the largest private owner of Portuguese woodland, Navigator, a vertically integrated company, manages close to 112 thousand certified hectares in continental Portugal and the Azores—over 1,400 management units in 173 communities.
Through its subsidiary Viveiros Aliança, the company also runs one of the largest forest nurseries in Europe, which cultivated over 12 million plants of more than 100 species in 2017 alone.
With sustainability part of our DNA, and the forest one of our most valuable assets, we led a range of awareness raising campaigns in 2017, highlighting the importance of the forest, as well as the benefits and sustainability of Eucalyptus globulus, our raw material.
The Group’s connection to the forest is also reflected in its social responsibility policy. In 2017, Navigator invested €3.4 million in forest fire protection, of which €1.35 million in prevention.
For Navigator, 2017 was a highly dynamic year in the pulp market, with 7% growth in sales volume and close to 4% consumption growth in the market, largely driven by the Chinese market and by growth in the tissue market.
As a result, we began expanding our pulp production capacity at the Figueira da Foz factory complex, set to increase from the current level of 580 thousand to 650 thousand tons (metric) per year. This growth in production will allow Navigator to maintain its current position in the pulp market, given that the Cacia facility will be integrating part of its pulp production into tissue production from the beginning of 2018.
While maintaining its leading position in the European printing and writing paper market (UWF, Uncoated Woodfree), reflected in a 19% UWF market share and almost 50% in the premium segment, Navigator continues to expand into new markets, which are proving highly attractive and dynamic. In 2017, the company achieved 1,578 thousand tons (metric) in sales volume as well as improving its product mix, both in terms of quality and in relation to own brands (which increased by over 7% compared to 2016 and now represent 62% of total sales).
Sales volume in Europe reached 64%, with Europe remaining our main market. Faced with constant challenges, we continuously identify new business opportunities. Proof of this can be seen in new products developed in 2017, including Navigator Premium Inkjet, produced by Navigator and Soporset Digital, and paper bags, which offer considerable growth opportunities.
At the Navigator Company, we believe we can continue to grow and further diversify our business, as evidenced by our new investment and leadership strategy in the tissue sector, which is growing annually by 2 to 3%. We are convinced we can develop an innovative business model for this sector, based on direct integration of high-quality pulp so as to benefit from the intrinsic qualities of eucalyptus. This business model, which will allow us to develop significant advantages over our main European competitors, grew significantly in 2017 (by 10% in business volume).
As part of this strategic initiative, we began investing in the Cacia facility in 2017, so as to double production volumes and make our operation fully integrated, from pulp production to the production of paper rolls to transformation into final products.
Energy, Water and Environment
The Navigator Company is a pioneer in and major national producer of electricity from biomass. In 2017, we achieved a 6% year-on-year increase in this specific area, while our overall sales of electricity increased by 3.6%, to the value of €5.7 million. We aim to reinforce this position through continued investment in new activities. In this context, use of renewable energy sources and our energy efficiency program are key.
Consumption of natural resources is another major concern for us. We plan to reduce water withdrawal requirements in our Setúbal plant by almost 20% over the next five years, and we run an advanced program for improving environmental conditions in our plants—including, for example, our oxygen bleaching process, which aims to reduce our use of chemicals and improve net emissions.