Climate Change

Climate Change

Our Carbon Footprint: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

While there are numerous forms of greenhouse gases, by far, the largest source of human-induced carbon emissions is the burning of fossil fuels. Overall, paper and print products make up 1% or less of our human carbon footprint.  As a comparison, the following numbers are reported for other sectors:

  • Transportation: 15%
  • Land-use change (incl. agriculture and forest loss): 15%[vi]
  • Energy supply (incl. coal mining, fossil fuel extraction, refining and processing): 13%

The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from our facilities is the acceleration of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere from the combustion of wood and other organic compounds of wood. This emission is generally distinguished from other sources as an alternative to the natural degradation of organic wood material that would have occurred over time in the forest if not for the recovery of that wood for use in solid wood products or pulp products. 

Our commitment to sustainable harvesting, as well as implementing global advancements in technologies to reduce our energy use and GHG emissions, will help us ensure our operations are sustainable and appreciated by society. The following are aspects of our commitment to a sustainable future.

  • Lower Carbon Footprint: We strive to improve our carbon footprint by minimizing our fossil fuel consumption.
  • Benchmarking: We continuously benchmark our operations against industry-leading performance to ensure we continue with our strong performance.
  • Our Working Forests: While often misunderstood, old forests are not necessarily healthy forests as they are large carbon emitters susceptible to pests and fire risks. Sustainably managed working forests, on the other hand, contribute to a healthier climate through the sequestration of carbon and the reduction of fire risks. Working forests provide low-carbon solutions and play a key role in providing climate change solutions for a better world.


  • Decarbonization Strategy

    At Mercer, we are ambitiously working towards a future beyond fossil fuels and are proud to be the first in Canada, and one of the first companies in North America, to have our emission reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). We are committed to reducing our Scope 1 GHG emissions by 35% per tonne of pulp by 2030 and reduce absolute Scope 2 and 3 emissions by 35% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. These targets are consistent with reductions required to keep warming to well below 2°C. We look forward to continued collaboration with our customers and supply chain with a common goal to reduce emissions and our carbon footprint.

Our Performance

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures

Mercer supports the TCFD framework and welcomes the initiative to enhance transparency regarding climate-related financial risk. In 2020, Mercer conducted a climate change scenario analysis as part of our adoption of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure recommendations. In doing so, we partnered with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), a global non-profit organization focused on sustainability, to develop a series of climate change scenarios for 2050. This scenario analysis involved three steps: understanding context, scenario development, and strategic implications. The process facilitates collaboration between internal and external experts across disciplines and enables Mercer to manage and monitor risks and opportunities from a multidimensional perspective.

Research into stakeholders and industry trends, with extensive input from the climate community and their climate projections, was used to develop the models used. To develop and provide accurate scenario information, key trends were integrated into the scenarios, enhancing those with the most impact on Mercer operations by 2030, such as global climate politics and the changing role of business in society. Additional trends based on stakeholder research were also integrated, including the impact on wood supply, shifting end-use markets for pulp demand, and the social license to operate. Using this understanding, three scenarios were developed.

2023 TCFD Context Disclosure Index

  • mercer-sustainability-climate-change-automation-acceleration

    Automation Acceleration

    A geopolitically fragmented world, a slow global economy and ramping-up climate impacts.

    Aligned to a +3°C trajectory

    Slowly declining emissions

  • mercer-sustainability-climate-change-walled-world

    Walled World

    A geopolitically fragmented world, a challenging economic situation and scaled environmental shocks.

    Aligned to a +4°C trajectory

    Rising emissions

  • mercer-sustainability-climate-change-resillient-rebirth-circle

    Resilient Rebirth

    A recovering economy fully embracing the low-carbon transition in a cooperative way, still subject to environmental shocks.

    Aligned to a +1.5°C trajectory

    Very strongly declining emissions

The scenarios were then analyzed and used to identify and assess the potential impacts of climate change-related risks and opportunities on Mercer. As a result of this process, we identified three primary areas of our strategy that may incur risks and opportunities across the scenarios: 

  1. shifting market demand; 
  2. wood and fibre supply; and 
  3. stakeholder perceptions. 

Scope 3 GHG Emissions

Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions that occur along the value chain, including both upstream and downstream emissions. We have measured our Scope 3 emissions to understand the carbon footprint of our upstream and downstream value chain and to assess where emission hotspots are to prioritize reduction strategies. In measuring our Scope 3 emissions, we aim to work collaboratively with our supply chain partners to identify opportunities that bring us closer to achieving our emission reduction targets and advance towards a net zero future.

The figure below shows the breakdown of the carbon emission sources from our supply chain:

The check mark in the graphic denotes third party limited assurance of our Scope 3 emissions by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC).



Low Carbon Solutions for a Sustainable Society

Full-cycle wood utilization not only makes sense from a cost perspective but from a sustainability one as well. Mercer operations focus on increasing the utilization of the raw materials in our process while minimizing waste, reducing emissions, and exporting green energy.

Our mills produce pulp but they also produce other environmentally-friendly biomass-based byproducts like green chemicals (from the hemicellulose, lignin, and extractives). As well, we are working to advance other biomaterials, like cellulose filaments, lignin, biomethanol, crude tall oil, and turpentine – all with high potential of replacing carbon-intensive products. We focus on new technologies and processes in our strategy to optimize byproduct values, eliminate waste, and provide alternatives for carbon-intensive products.

In addition to pulp, green energy, green chemicals, and bioproducts, we produce a diverse range of lumber products to serve the needs of our customers around the world and pursue the same zero-waste objective as our pulp operations. Our acquisition of Katerra’s plant in Spokane Valley, now known as Mercer Mass Timber, provides another opportunity for us in the wood space to manufacture sustainable materials for the construction industry.

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