Our Production Processes

Forest Management

Planted forests are the starting point of Fibria’s production chain. The wood they produce provides raw material for pulp, fuel for generating electricity in their operations and, increasingly, inputs for developing new products and applications originating from forests. Producing seedlings, planting and caring for trees, harvesting, and transporting wood are operations repeated thousands of times every day in the vast forest areas maintained by Fibria in 261 Brazilian municipalities.

Fibria is involved in the production of wood on 656,000 hectares of planted eucalyptus forests in the states of Espírito Santo, Bahia, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Rio Grande do Sul. In these operations, Fibria combines the techniques of modern forest management to a constant willingness to innovate in management, processes, and technology. The following are some innovative forestry technology projects that were implemented or that yielded results in 2017.

Mosaic in Aracruz (Espírito Santo state)
Photo: Marcio Schimming

AUTOMATED NURSERY

The start of operations of the second pulp production line in Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state) in August 2017 represented an increase of almost 2 million tons of pulp per year to the company’s production capacity. In order to cover the growing demand of the mill for raw materials, Fibria built an automated seedling nursery in that unit to strengthen the production of wood in its forests in the region.

This is an innovative project on a global scale, the first dedicated to eucalyptus seedlings. By applying state-of-the-art automation, the new nursery represents a major advance in technology and production for Fibria’s forestry operation – as important as the new Três Lagoas production line for our industrial base.

With robotic operation and new design concepts, the facility can produce up to 43 million seedlings per year and has become the largest in the company – greatly exceeds the nurseries in Capão Bonito (São Paulo state) and Helvécia (Bahia state), each producing 30 million seedlings annually.

Automated nursery in Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state)
Photo: Marcio Schimming

Hi-tech Nursery

A nursery is where the eucalyptus seedlings young and tender, are initially planted and cared for until they are big enough to be planted in a forest. Fibria’s nursery in Três Lagoas, in this comparison, is a state-of-the-art hi-tech baby tree room.

All the main operations, selection, planting, classification, packing of these seedlings for transport, when leaving the nursery, are made by 19 robots and three servomotors. The irrigation system is automated, as well as climate monitored, which is essential for plant growth – a weather station measures the intensity of the sun and other parameters, and opens or closes the retractable ceilings that control the entry of rain and sunshine.

The nursery was designed to be more sustainable. It consumes surplus energy generated by the neighboring mill and the two facilities share the same water treatment. Because it is denser and more compact, the new nursery is more frugal. With the same water depth as a traditional nursery, it is possible to irrigate more seedlings. The whole operation produces less waste – the plant seedlings are now planted in biodegradable paper tubes instead of plastic tubes.

The technology applied in the installation comes from Holland, where it was created for the cultivation of flowers. Technicians and engineers at Fibria adapted the original concepts to the production of eucalyptus seedlings and developed the project in partnership with the manufacturers of the equipment. The decision to establish a second production line in Três Lagoas in 2015 inspired the idea of building a nursery that was already being worked on by the company’s teams.

The benefits are many. The quality of the seedlings is better, thanks to the control of production data. Each seedling can be traced to the 1st selection and after the lots are formed, they are also mapped up for shipment. Thus, information is constantly collected, allowing for better understanding of the relationships between the plant and the environment. All this results in more stability, reduced losses, and in an expectation of 25% lower cost of each seedling, compared to the traditional process.

Implementation difficulties? Some, as is natural in state-of-the-art technology projects. There is still much work to be done in the evolution, commissioning, and performance of the seedling-selecting machines. In addition, mistakes and failures during the process are to be expected – something that seems obvious when talking about innovation, but challenging for any company. In addition, the automated nursery required more qualified, skilled labor for machine operation, which demanded an extra effort from Fibria when hiring, and especially, when training new professionals.

The positive experience with the automated nursery in Três Lagoas does not necessarily mean that the company will deploy the same technology in all its seedling production units. In Helvetia, in southern Bahia, for example, Fibria is one of the main employers in the region and understands its transformative role in its neighboring community. That is why in this region we opted for a technology that would allow to include as many residents as possible in the production of seedlings.

Planted forests and climate change

Climate change has a direct impact on the productivity of Fibria’s forests. For this reason, Climate Change is part of the company’s strategy, and a number of initiatives such as monitoring, action plans, risk management, budgets, and business plans are undertaken to mitigate impacts on our forestry operations.

Among the initiatives carried out is monitoring six watersheds – from the entry of rainwater to the outflow of the stream. One of the objectives of this analysis is to better understand the interactions between our crops and the climate.

Carbon

Among the main initiatives geared toward carbon* are the inventory of emissions and sequestration and the identification of risks and opportunities generated by the inclusion of this aspect in the Capex processes**, as well as the goal to, by 2025, double the net sequestration of carbon compared with 2011.

Annually, we publish our report on greenhouse gas inventory, with updated results, historical results, and clarifications on our performance. Our inventory is assured according to the standards of ISO 14064 and the Brazilian GHG Protocol Program.

We are currently a carbon positive company – which captures more than it emits(see the chart below)

Internal price of carbon
In 2017, we proceeded with the work for internal carbon pricing (shadow pricing). We determined the price of the ton of CO2 equivalent for different contexts: USD 5 for sequestration (forests), USD 10 for industrial and logistics emissions, and USD 30 for new technologies.

With this, we want to communicate another value of our plantations and conservation areas and create solutions that are aligned to a low-carbon economy.

*Term that collectively represents actions related to management and sequestration of greenhouse gas emissions in a context of measuring, reporting, and pricing in accordance to different economic instruments, such as rates and taxes for CO2 emissions, carbon markets, and other restrictions or financial incentives.
**CAPEX stands for capital expenditure, which refers to the amount of money spent on the acquisition (or improvement) of capital goods by a particular company.

Photo: Araquém Alcântara

Our forests and biodiversity

Fibria seeks to preserve natural habitats and owns several protected areas, in the form of Legal Reserves, Permanent Preservation Areas (PPAs) and three Private Natural Heritage Reserves. The company restores and manages these areas by integrating the Planted Forest into the landscape. The three Private Natural Heritage Reserves are significant remnants of endangered ecosystems that contribute to the conservation strategy of the Central Atlantic Rainforest Corridor established by the Ministry of the Environment. They are also three of our sixteen High Conservation Value Areas (HCVs) recognized for their biodiversity aspects.

In all of these areas, we form ecological corridors and staggered harvesting of our Planted Forests in order to minimize the impact on the local wildlife. This approach takes into account the results of studies and monitoring of wildlife and flora, following the guidelines of the Sustainable Forest Mosaics project, an initiative that brings together forestry and third sector organizations, such as the Instituto BioAtlântica, Conservation International (CI) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). As a result of monitoring, we recorded over 800 bird species, 130 mammal species, and 2,000 plant species in our database.

In addition to monitoring wildlife and flora, we carry out specific work for endangered species. In Vale do Paraíba (São Paulo state), for example, the Woolly Spider Monkey Association has been monitoring the woolly spider monkey since 2006 at Fibria’s São Sebastião farm in Ribeirão Grande, which was identified as a High Conservation Area. This farm was considered one of the most important areas for research and conservation of the woolly spider monkey, according to the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio).

Big Data in Forests

Fibria innovated in 2017 by applying predictive analytics tools and Big Data to its wood production processes. This time, the project focused on managing regrowth, a management regime that uses the natural sprouting of the tree after harvesting to give rise to a new forest. Regrowth has a number of advantages over conventional planting of seedlings, with a significantly lower cost and no need for tilling the soil. On the other hand, there is the historical disadvantage of yielding lower productivity.

The results obtained so far, carefully analyzed by a multidisciplinary team, suggest that it is possible to achieve a 6.7 to 14.2% increase in forest productivity depending on the company unit, with changes to selection criteria of the areas and an improved forest management process. All these innovations are being incorporated, and in five years, they should yield a return of approximately BRL 9.4 million.

Fibria’s operations are increasingly monitored in real time and managed using digital tools. Wood harvesting data, for example, has been collected since 2016 by means of the Electronic Recorder, an automated data transmission system that contributes to improving the quality of information and ensuring more agile management of the operation. This provides better machine productivity and availability, and increases worker safety. Greater efficiency also enables the cost of wood to be proportionally reduced.

Automation and real-time data collection also open new horizons for differentiating Fibria’s products and services. In this way, the whole operational area of the company becomes an experimental field, applying Big Data tools to the huge forest database formed in the process.

PARTNERS IN THE FOREST

Since 1990, Fibria has worked in partnership with local farmers through the Forest Savings Program, developed in the regions around our mills. The company provides technical and financial support to farmers so they can plant eucalyptus trees — diversifying their production and boosting family income — and guarantees the purchase of the wood by the end of the tree growth cycle.

From the beginning, the program had a double objective: to diversify the sources of raw materials and to bring the company closer to the producers neighboring our operations. The initiative, which began modestly, evolved and was so successful that, 27 years later, it became an important link in our production chain. In Aracruz (Espírito Santo state), the goal of Forest Savings was to cover 5% of the needs of the operation. The growth of the program, however, increased the share of wood grown by small farmers, over the last five years on average, to 20% of the demand from the mill.

TECHNOLOGY AND FINANCING

At the end of 2017, a total of 1,799 small and medium-sized rural owners participated in the Forest Savings Program, spread across 171 municipalities in the states of Espírito Santo, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul, and São Paulo. Fibria supports these producers by structuring their eucalyptus plantations, supplying seedlings and contributing technology and knowledge. The company finances production, and debts of the partners are settled through the wood supply at the time of harvest. The total area planted by the participants, at the end of 2017, was 67,350 hectares in the seven states of the territorial base of the program.

Forest Savings by contracted area (hectares)

Forest Savings by contracted area (hectares) 2015 2016 2017
Aracruz 54,800 48,053 46,828
Capão do Leão1 13,634 14,260 13,685
Jacareí2 8,029 9,333 5,458
Três Lagoas 1,813 1,382 1,382
Total 78,276 73,028 67,353
1 Unit sold in 2012.
2 Includes Capão Bonito and Vale do Paraíba.

Learn more at the Indicators Center.

ENVIRONMENTAL GAIN AND SHARED VALUE

Additional 28,770 hectares, on the properties of the partners, were intended for preservation of local forests. Participants are encouraged to plant up to 3.5% of native seedlings, with the purpose of contributing to the restoration of the forests. In this way, program earnings are more than just business results for Fibria and partners. Forest Savings also provides environmental gains for the communities involved and for the country.

In addition to maintaining preserved and restored areas, all properties of the participants must be legally registered and in compliance with the Brazilian Forestry Code and state laws. Fibria provides technical assistance for sustainable management of the land and instructs producers to plant eucalyptus only in lots that were previously intended for other crops. These conditions and benefits discourage the cutting of native forests for agricultural use — a long-term environmental gain.

If we also consider the increase in family income and the guarantee of future income that the program extends to producers, we have a set of social and environmental results capable of concretely realizing the idea of shared value between Fibria and neighboring communities. This concept — which we seek to achieve in our daily routine — expresses the understanding that there is a critical connection between the success of the company and the prosperity and well-being of the communities where it operates.

Benefits of the Forest Savings Program

  • Eucalyptus seedlings produced using state-of-the-art technology.
  • Professional assistance in forest management.
  • Property planning: demarcation of roads, plots and Permanent Preservation Areas (PPA).
  • Training of professionals and producers.
  • Development of Forest Certification concepts.
  • Wood purchase guarantee.
  • Financing of the crop with payment in wood equivalent.
  • Payment at harvest time.
  • Dialogue with producers and other stakeholders to adapt the Program to the realities of partners, Fibria and the market.
  • Creation of shared value.

FORESTRY LOGISTICS

A new pulp production line requires, at one end of the forestry operation that will supply it, a larger and more modern nursery of eucalyptus seedlings. At the other end, all the wood harvested in the forests for this purpose must be quickly and safely transported to the mill.

The second mill in Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state) requires a base of 187,000 hectares of eucalyptus forests for its operation – and another 121,000 hectares already supplying the first line of the mill – totaling 308,000 hectares of planted forests within an average radius of 100 km from the industrial unit, which makes its operation very competitive.

In order to move all this wood, two important investments in logistics were made at the Três Lagoas unit: the operation of the pentatrem and the installation of new equipment in the mill’s wood unloading yard, described below.

Pentatrem in Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state)
Photo: Marcio Schimming

• The pentatrem: this truck with five hitched trailers is capable of hauling 69% more wood in a single trip than its predecessor, the tritrem (with three trailers). Technology has brought gains in all dimensions – environmental, social, and economic. The transport model contributes to reducing CO2 emissions by 20% between the forests and the mill, as well as mitigating the impact on highways and reducing transport operating costs.

This is because the pentatrem does not travel on the region’s federal highways – the BR-158 and the BR-262 -, and, therefore, does not interfere with regular traffic. The entire route takes place on Fibria’s internal roads. To this end, the company built a tunnel under the BR-158, strengthening the sustainability of its local logistics operation. By the end of 2017, a total of 15 pentatrem units were already operating in Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state).

• Gantry cranes: once at the mill, the wood needs to be unloaded and transferred to the chopping lines. This work used to be done by cranes adapted on conventional machines. in 2017, the company began operating high capacity machines installed on gantries. Trucks arriving at the yard park under the gantry, under the machine that unloads the wood.

The new arrangement has many advantages: it streamlines unloading, reducing the truck release cycle from 65 to 52 minutes, because they can return faster and make more trips; improves the flow and regularity of the supply of wood chipping lines; allows for the formation of a buffer stock; and provides more safety for drivers, who no longer need to leave the truck cabin while unloading.

All of these changes resulted in a productivity gain of up to 45% on the wood yard at the Três Lagoas unit (Mato Grosso do Sul state). And, more importantly, the mill is guaranteed to work without shutdown or loss of pulp production because of stockout in the wood chipping lines.

To streamline traffic at the mill, Fibria created an automated truck entrance system at the Três Lagoas unit (Mato Grosso do Sul state). Similar to an automatic toll system, New Log Track technology ensures that the unit receives and tracks a wood truck every 3 minutes without queues or bottlenecks.

Another important investment in logistics improved the supply of wood at the Aracruz plant (Espírito Santo state). New large port cranes , imported from Finland, were acquired at a cost of BRL 54.4 million and installed in 2017 at the Barra do Riacho (Espírito Santo state) and Caravelas (Bahia state) Marine Terminals. The cranes – two in each port – load and unload the ocean barges that transport wood from Fibria’s forests in Bahia state to the Aracruz pulp mill.

This operation is important because it removes heavy truck traffic from highways between the two states: each barge can haul, in one trip, a load of wood equivalent to one hundred tritrem trucks or approximately 550 truck hauls per month. It is a process that, in addition to environmental benefits, contributes toward safety on the roads (about 25% of Fibria’s wood transport is by sea). The new equipment is powered by renewable energy produced by the company itself, allowing for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions.

With the use of Finnish cranes, the loading and unloading time of the barges was reduced by almost half – from 12 hours to 6.5 hours – and the volume transported by this marine mode will increase from 2.3 million to 2.7 million m3 of wood per year, also reducing CO2 emissions.

Good neighbor

Fibria seeks to mitigate, as much as possible, the impacts that its operations may cause on nearby communities. For forestry operations, particularly during wood harvesting, we have in place the Operational Dialogue (see more here – colocar hiperlink para o Diálogo Operacional no capítulo de Relacionamento com a Comunidade) to present and discuss the routes, schedules, and frequencies of the vehicles that will transport harvested wood.

Photo: Marcio Schimming

Operational Dialogue in forestry operations in 2017

1,063dialogues

nearly 10,000 participants

from all communities were impacted by silviculture, harvesting, and wood transportation operations.

Water

Water is a critical aspect for Fibria and, as such, the company strives to improve and innovate the management of water use in its forests, industrial units, and all operations. In 2017, the Company’s Water Resources Program worked on actions and initiatives to achieve the long-term goals established for water in 2016. See more by clicking here

In 2017, we selected three watersheds to be monitored based on land use, social, and water characteristics. We also established a strategic plan for environmental monitoring; we developed monitoring indicators to assess the effect of management on the watershed in partnership with experts from the Luiz de Queiroz School of Agriculture (Esalq/USP).
In addition, other activities are planned, such as:

  • To determine a methodology capable of quantifying the impact of the regional climate and the different types of land use on water resources;
  • To validate the hydrological indicators to ensure better landscape planning in these watersheds.
  • To define an efficient plan for sharing technical knowledge with people living on watersheds.

With these initiatives, we hope to reap the following benefits:

  • Establish quantitative goals and then mitigate potential conflicts related to overlapping water use;
  • Landscape management, most appropriate for the production of high productivity forests with greater conservation of water and natural resources.

WATER CONSUMPTION IN THE INDUSTRIAL PROCESS

* To learn more about industrial management, click here

Specific consumption of water in (M³/ADT)¹

2015 2016 2017
Aracruz 33.3 31.3 30.7
Jacareí 26.3 28.4 29.3
Três Lagoas 29.0 29.4 29.7
Total 30.6 30.1 30.0
1 All water withdrawn by Fibria’s industrial units comes from surface sources. Rounded numbers

Specific water withdrawal in (M³/DTA)¹

TOTAL WATER WITHDRAWAL IN INDUSTRIAL OPERATIONS, BY SOURCE¹

Total water withdrawal, in m³ 2015 2016 2017
Aracruz 73,332,752.1 106,722,422.8 71,218,603.7
Jacareí 30,844,572.0 33,338,433.0 30,485,434.0
Três Lagoas 36,254,493.6 36,306,521.2 54,019,915.2
Total 140,431,637.7 176,367,377.0 155,723,952.9
1 All water withdrawn by Fibria’s industrial units comes from surface sources. Rounded numbers

Total water withdrawal in the industrial units in M³

Percentage and total volume of water recycled and reused

Aracruz Jacareí Três Lagoas Total
2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017
Percentage of water recycled and reused (%) 71% 79% 79% 81% 80% 82% 80% 80% 83% 76% 77% 79%
Volume of water recycled (m³) 268,047,988.8 259,958,649.5 252,414,620.5 158,710,724.3 165,015,931.3 167,895,573.5 179,254,004.5 178,162,266.0 309,455,583.0 606,012,717.6 603,136,846.7 729,765,777.0
Total (m3) 77,545,837.8 69,021,956.5 68,429,217.4 30,844,572.0 33,338,433.0 30,485,434.0 36,254,493.6 36,306,521.2 54,019,915.2 144,644,903.4 138,666,910.6 152,934,566.5

FOREST FIRES

Fibria has more than one million hectares of forests in seven Brazilian states, between planted forests and preservation and environmental conservation areas (native forests). Fire is a continuously threatening risk to our lands and forests.

In order to reduce response time to fire alarms, we have installed towers equipped with video cameras to detect fire outbreaks in our units. In 2017, a total of 50 towers were installed at the Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state) and Aracruz (Espírito Santo state) units. In 2018, coverage of the surveillance area will be expanded to the Capão Bonito unit (São Paulo state).

The company has in place a forest fire prevention policy that gives great emphasis on the awareness of neighboring communities and partners. Everyone is encouraged to avoid behaviors that add to the risk of fire and keep a constant watch for possible outbreaks.

Prevention, however, does not eliminate all risks. Fibria has teams of trained fire fighters in its cultivation areas, which depend on quick alerts to be able to fight fire outbreaks successfully in the early stages. Tower cameras are a valuable tool in this battle. Arranged to ensure that one camera can always “see” the other, the images they generate allow any fire source to be quickly located through triangulation. The results came quickly: although 2017 was a year in which the number of fire outbreaks in Brazil increased significantly, at Fibria there was a reduced number of fire outbreaks and in the total area reached by fire, denoting an adequate forest fire detection and combat strategy.

In 2017, the total area affected by forest fires decreased by

46%compared with 2016

Im 2017 the number of occurrences decreased by

11% compared with 2016

Affected area

Prevention first; detection and dispatch, if prevention is not enough, we follow the commandments of effective forest fire surveillance.

In 2017, there was a reduction OF

94% in areas affected

by forest fires in the states of Espírito Santo and Bahia, compared with 2015.

WOOD THEFT

In 2017, Fibria revised its forest protection strategy, prioritizing relations with neighbors and communities in its area and incorporating new monitoring technologies, such as remote sensing with satellite imagery and video cameras. With this revision, Fibria now adopts remote, discrete, and non-invasive forest protection management practices, based on intensive use of technology and intelligence in property security.

Since 2011, wood theft from Fibria’s forests dropped between 90% and 95%. In 2015 and 2016, wood theft bounced back as a result of the economic recession combined with the water crisis, which affected family farming. In 2017, Fibria’s wood theft dropped 20% over the previous year.

The company considers wood theft to be a problem that may continue to fluctuate, that could be addressed through specific engagement actions.

Volume of stolen wood, in m3

2015 2016 2017
Total 82,464 65,796 52,381

CERTIFICATIONS

Fibria complies with all standards and certifications applicable to the forestry industry. They are: NBR ISO 9001, NBR ISO 14001 OHSAS 18001, implemented in the Port Terminal of Santos (T13, T14, T15, and T32), Principles and Criteria of Forest Management – FSC-STD-01-001 (Forest Stewardship Council®), International Standard of FSC®.

The certifier uses the FSC® certification standard for forest management, Forest Plantation Assessment in the Federative Republic of Brazil: Harmonized Standard among Certifiers (FSC-STD-BR-01-2014 V1-1 PT), Forest Management Principles and Criteria NBR 14,789 (Cerflor), and Chain of Custody ABNT NBR 14,790 (Cerflor). The FSC® and Cerflor standards have their own principles, criteria and indicators and independent certification systems.

The FSC-STD-40-004 standard specifies the mandatory elements that must be fulfilled for FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®) Chain of Custody certification and is applied in the industrial activities of Fibria (FSC-C104120) and Offshore Companies (FSC-C102372). Since it has a single certification, it also applies the Standard for Chain of Custody Certification for Multi-Site Operations FSC-STD-40-003. In order to process wood from partnerships and purchased from markets that do not have the certification, Fibria evaluates the wood using the Standard for Controlled Wood, FSC-STD-40-005.