>@Mercedes Landete/EIB

The company will reduce the environmental footprint of the plant by decreasing water and energy use

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 40 million to The Navigator Company, a major Portuguese industrial group and Europe’s leading producer of uncoated woodfree paper, known for its Navigator brand of premium office paper. EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro and The Navigator Company CEO Diogo da Silveira signed the agreement in Lisbon.

The loan provided by the EU bank will contribute to modernising the Figueira da Foz pulp mill, facilitating a 12% production capacity increase (70 000 tonnes per year), a reduction in pollutant emissions, and energy and resource efficiency gains. This will fully align the plant with the specifications established in the Best Available Techniques for the pulp and paper industry.

At the event held in Lisbon, EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro said: “Climate action and cohesion are key priorities for us. This is why we are very pleased to support an investment that will benefit a cohesion region in Portugal while enhancing the environmental performance of the Portuguese pulp and paper industry. With this operation, we are also helping to support sustainable growth and employment in the country, improving the environmental footprint and sustaining the international competitive position of a leading European company.

“This investment allows us to demonstrate once more the company’s capacity to renew itself and to move forward with the modernization of Figueira da Foz industrial site. More and better technology will allow the Mill to increase its production capacity and reduce its environmental footprint” said Diogo da Silveira, The Navigator Company’s CEO.

The modernisation of the Figueira da Foz mill will reduce the energy use needed to produce a tonne of pulp by 17%. The upgraded production technologies will also decrease the specific amount of water needed and the use of chemicals. Greenhouse gas emissions will also be reduced through the deployment of more energy efficient technologies and by replacing fossil fuels with an increased use of renewable biomass energy. The Figueira mill only uses feedstock from forests that are either certified by internationally accredited forest certification systems or considered to be controlled wood.

At the same time, increasing production capacity will enable The Navigator Company to serve international markets where there is an increasing demand for renewable fibre, thereby helping to stabilise the prices of this international commodity in the medium to long term. By sustaining the competitiveness of this industrial sector, the EU bank will also contribute to supporting indirect employment in the forestry and wood supply chains in rural economies. In addition, the construction phase will create employment for an equivalent of 300 people.