Operating five mills affords us the opportunity to capitalize on the unique expertise at each mill. By measuring each mill's performance in key areas, we are able to identify sources of excellence and share those best practices with our other locations. One of the best examples of this best practice sharing is illustrated in the innovative safety and environment initiatives, which involves management teams, union representatives and all levels of employees.
The health, safety and security of our workers are fundamental core values of Mercer. We make resources available for both training and updating of employees' skills to ensure every worker has the knowledge and expertise to do their job safely and effectively.
As part of Mercer's Safety Program, measurements of key health and safety factors are taken at each mill via our Health and Safety Process Coordinator Network. In addition, reporting of workplace incidents, as well as near misses (incidents that almost occurred), allows our mills to identify problems and make necessary changes. This helps prevent future incidents and creates greater awareness for workplace safety.
All of Mercer's employees continue to work collectively and co-operatively towards improving our Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR).
"The main principles of our Mercer vision for safety are: that we are committed to a "zero harm" environment; that safety needs to be and is our overriding priority in everything we do, at work and at home; that all injuries can be prevented."- David Gandossi -- Mercer's President and CEO
Mercer is committed to sound environmental stewardship and minimizing the environmental impact of our operations. Environmental compliance is therefore a top priority for our operations.
Our mills are subject to a wide range of environmental laws and regulations for water, air and land pollution control. We devote management time and financial resources to this task, to ensure that we comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. Periodic environmental audits of our operations identify opportunities for improvement and allow us to take proactive measures at the mills.
Examples of our strong environmental stewardship include our modern and efficient effluent systems. In addition, we have state-of-the-art chemical recycling equipment to recover, re-concentrate and reprocess these valuable elements used in the pulping process. This allows us to reduce the amount of chemicals consumed in our mills and reuse the materials over and over again. Mercer has invested millions of dollars to make our mills more efficient and reduce our environmental footprint.
Certification of Mercer's 2.9 million hectares of forest is considered a best practice in forest operations and sustainable forest management, and an important tool for market access. Domestic and international market interest in buying wood products from certified forests has increased steadily in the past number of years. While each certification system has unique requirements, they all have one common objective; to provide customers with assurance that the forest products they buy have been produced with environmentally responsible practice.
Forest Certification systems are voluntary and are not regulated by governments. Mercer has chosen to pursue the Sustainable Forestry Initiative 2015-2019 for its Forest Management Agreement area with an ISO 14001:2004 certified Environmental Management System providing the foundation and direction. Our certification achievements confirm that we are meeting the highest environmental standards and ultimately, results in higher levels of environmental performance and provides a framework for continued improvement.