Cascades sees green from environmental strategy

Feb. 23, 2007 - Cascades Inc. says it is looking to take advantage of the public's growing environmental consciousness to drive up sales of its green paper products.

The company, based in Kingsey Falls, Que., is one of Canada's largest users of recycled paper products.

“We are well-positioned in the market with our offering of recycled-based products, which show benefit from the growing customer awareness for the environment,” president and chief executive officer Alain Lemaire said [Feb. 22] in a conference call after the company announced stronger fourth-quarter and annual results.

Staying with the recycling theme, Cascades' Tissue Group also plans to increase marketing on its environmentally friendly paper offerings.

The tissue group yesterday announced that it is investing US $15-million at its mill in Memphis, Tenn., to add a de-inking line. The plant, which was acquired in 2004 from American Tissue, will use exclusively sorted office paper and a chlorine-free bleaching process to offer paper that contains 100 per cent recycled post-consumer waste.

Recently, Cascades was recognized with awards for being an environmentally progressive paper vendor. The company also cut 125,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases last year, representing 10 per cent of its gas emissions, Lemaire said.

According to an industry analyst, the environmental focus will help give the company a competitive advantage.

“When you see announcements by publishers saying that they want to use more and more green products, it's a direct implication for a company such as Cascades,” said Pierre Lacroix of Desjardins Securities in Montreal.

“I don't say here that you will see material benefits but it's gradually building and the trend is going to continue in the future and they are building on it.”

Cascades' overall results have improved quarter over quarter because they are following a strategy laid out a couple years ago to fix underperforming assets and make targeted acquisitions, he said.

Lemaire hinted he will employ that strategy to address problems in the European operations, while also reducing the company's indebtedness.

“In 2007 we will continue to address our less-performing assets and focus on controlling our costs and manage our raw material supply,” he said.“So count on us for better results for the coming quarters.”

SOURCE: Canadian Press

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