Rooted in Resilience
LETTER FROM CHAIRMAN AND CEO
As we reflect on 2022, I can’t help but recall one of Oscar Wilde’s most memorable tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek quotes: “The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”
Post-Covid uncertainty, supply chain and labor challenges, rampant inflation, a disruptive ground war in Europe shutting down gas pipelines – all these certainly provided the suspense. What’s remarkable is that this is juxtaposed against new partnerships, growth, and sustainability gains.
While we hope all this high-stakes suspense will abate, what will never cease is the fact that Monadnock will persevere, as we have for more than 200 years. For we are rooted in resilience. Roots that run long and deep, providing the vital nutrients and energy that keep us strong and healthy no matter the suspenseful vagaries of the larger climate.
Beyond the metaphor, what did this resilience look like, on the ground, in 2022?
First and always, our people proved yet again that they are the foundation to everything we’ve been able to achieve. Skilled, passionate, dedicated professionals who develop new and even more sustainably-advantaged substrates, craft our signature materials in our labs and on the mill floor, articulate and convey our unique selling proposition to the market, enlarge our partnerships and outreach – I owe this incredible team continued and well-earned thanks. Without them, it’s game over.
“The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”
Second, to customers old and new, our gratitude. Working in close concert and with utmost transparency, we were able to meet their demands despite the logistical, supply chain, and raw material shortages that upended global commerce. Our roots run deep with our valued supply partners, and they proved resilient again. In fact, we were able to grow our sales by nearly 10 percent over 2021
10% Growth in sales in 2022
Third, expanding our partnership network with leading paper merchants, printers, and packaging companies. Specifically, we have chosen to work with new partners to better service the changing needs of our downstream clients in the marketplace.
Fourth, we expanded and deepened our collaboration with a growing network of industry and trade association partners to provide better visibility and understanding of how sustainable materials responsibly made can provide beauty without compromise. This increased visibility with organizations such as Sustainable Brands and the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership helps further our mission. These new roots, carefully tended, complement the years of groundwork preceding them.
Fifth, despite everything – including a lack of snow and rain that impacted our hydropower generation – we improved our sustainability profile in tangible, measurable, and concrete ways. We not only achieved an excellent waste diversion rate of 98.6 percent, we increased our use of PCW fiber by 58 percent and earned a coveted gold rating in the EcoVadis Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) assessment, placing us among the top eight percent of the 90,000 companies that are rated by EcoVadis. This is a 30 percent increase from our silver rating from the company’s 2015 assessment.
As we assess 2022 in its totality, our success was rooted in resilience. Looking ahead, no doubt there will be more suspenseful events that aren’t on anyone’s radar. The beauty of a durable and creative workforce, transparent customer communication, and expanded partnerships, will help us successfully deal with whatever 2023 brings – we’re ready.
Richard Verney, Chairman and CEO
Third Party Certification & Verification
Monadnock operates under the strict requirements of a third-party certified ISO Quality Management System.
Monadnock operates under the strict requirements of a third-party certified ISO 14001 Environmental Management System.
The FSC label ensures the responsible use of forest resources that are managed to meet the social, economic, and ecological needs of present and future generations.
All our products are made with Green-e certified 100% renewable wind-powered electricity through investment in third-party verified renewable energy projects (RECs).
Carbon Neutral Manufacturing
Monadnock products are manufactured carbon neutral through the investment in Emission Reductions (VERs) certified under the GHG Clean Projects Protocol.
Environmental Policy 2022
We are committed to responsible stewardship of the environment by
- Promoting environmental awareness among our customers, suppliers, converters, employees, and local residents.
- Providing environmentally sustainable products and services to our customers.
- Maintaining our record of compliance with environmental regulations and standards.
- Continuing to invest in research to determine innovative ways to reduce waste and to efficiently use natural resources.
- Choosing materials with minimal environmental impacts during the design and development of new products.
- Encouraging legislators and state officials to develop sound environmental policies and regulations.
- Senior management’s commitment to continual improvement in pollution prevention and in reducing environmental impacts identified in our 14001 Environmental Management System.
Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership – Platinum Patron
In 2022, Monadnock elevated its support of SGP as a Platinum Patron. The organization certifies sustainability best practices for printing and packaging companies. SGP is successfully aligning with brands in pursuit of a more accountable supply chain. They are driving substantial quantifiable change in energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, environmental compliance, responsible labor practices, improved process efficiencies, and operational excellence. We are pleased to support this critical mission.
In 2022, Monadnock joined Sustainable Brands to leverage this powerful platform that tackles environmental and social challenges that will drive innovation, business, and brand value. We will continue to learn from and collaborate with global brands and service providers in our mission to prosper, and provide value to our stakeholders.
Completed conversion of six v-belt drives on equipment. We expect to achieve a 5% improvement in efficiency for each motor with a total savings of 60,000 kWh per year that will be realized in 2023.
We achieved a 4.63% reduction in electricity use overall. We attained efficiencies through increased production.
Diverted 98.6% of our waste away from landfill for recycling.
Despite a 10% increase in production, our trash to landfill was reduced by 11% over 2021 with an excellent diversion rate of 98.6%.
A Zero Waste company is often defined by a minimum 90% diversion rate.
ISO 14001 Objectives
Sand filter upgrade on paper machine #2 was completed in August, 2022. We expected to yield a 3% improvement over 2021. We missed our water goal by .93%.
Product mix, including a significant increase in coater production, contributed to an increase in water use, exceeding our goal of 6,300 gallons per ton of production.
There was no change in oil consumption.
Heating controls, boiler improvements, steam trap repairs and condensate pipe insulation projects with an expected savings of 2,925 MMBtus were not completed in 2022. Savings to be realized in 2023.
We completed the assessment improving our rating from Silver to Gold reaching the top eighth percentile.
While we didn’t set a goal for this metric, we were able to satisfy the increased demand for products made with 100% post-consumer waste recycled fiber, representing an increase of 58% over 2021.
Ultraform® Backlit Poster
Monadnock embarked on its Un-Plastic mission in 1997 with Ultraform® Backlit Poster. Ultraform was launched to replace PVC and Styrene used in retail and hospitality back-lit and front-lit signage. Our unique ability to craft paper with superb fiber formation and durability made this stock a perfect alternative for these high-performance applications.
In 2008, we launched Duraprint, a durable, printable substrate for turned-edge covering applications like entertainment, electronic device, and cosmetic gift set packaging. The unique qualities of this beautiful printing paper preclude the need for a film-laminated structure.
In 2010, we unveiled Envi Wallgraphics, our first renewable fiber-based alternative to PVC for digital wallcoverings. Today, digital wallcovering is the fastest growing segment in the wallpaper space.
Also in 2010, we developed a durable tag for the horticulture market to replace HIPS and PVC for plant tags and pot wraps, further capitalizing on our ability to produce well formed, durable and printable papers.
Soon after, in 2011, we launched Envi Card, a drop-in replacement for PVC and PLA gift cards. Monadnock engineered a card material that satisfied all the performance, aesthetic, economic and environmental requirements set forth by the customer. This disruptive innovation, driven by brands, created a wave of change in the stored-value card supply chain requiring a shift in production methods. Best of all, this material is third-party verified for recyclability in the curbside mix paper waste bin.
In 2015, we developed a paper alternative to plastics used in grocery shelf channel merchandising. This unique durable material innovation was driven by a sustainable grocery chain with a mission to reduce plastics in its stores.
In 2019, we developed a hemp fiber blend product to replace plastic for the ubiquitous drinking straw.
In 2020, we launched ENVIsual, a range of poster board stocks to replace PVC and styrene in rigid and durable retail and hospitality signage. This material was engineered for superior performance throughout the supply chain, and it is recyclable in the curbside mix waste paper bin.
And in 2022, we collaborated with a global brand to develop a paper-based, 100% post-consumer waste recycled bag closure.
WASTE Diversion Rate in 2022
Pounds of Wood Saved in 2022
Increase in PCW USE from 2021
Ecovadis gold rating
This achievement places Monadnock in the top eight percent of the 90,000+ companies ranked by EcoVadis. We achieved a 30% improvement in performance level since earning a silver rating in our assessment in 2015.
Through our years of sustainability leadership, we know that it’s a hard-fought journey where the gains are well worth it – for our employees, communities, and our customers.
Highlights of the assessment follow:
The report lauds the company’s policies on environmental impacts including materials, chemicals, and waste, as well as energy consumption and GHGs; management of water efficiency and on-site wastewater treatment facilities; generation of renewable electricity; ISO 14001 Environmental Management System; and demonstration of consistent reporting practices across a broad range of environmental impacts including water, energy, waste, and recycling.
Monadnock’s policies on the majority of ethics criteria and its whistleblower procedures for stakeholders were acknowledged.
Labor & Human Rights
The company’s comprehensive policy covering employee health and safety, working conditions, conflicts and resolutions was highlighted.
The report also singled out the company’s sustainable procurement policies on supplier environmental practices and responsible sourcing as demonstrated by its FSC certification.
AIMCAL Sustainability Award
The award recognizes equipment, materials, or processes that reduce environmental impact, minimize energy usage or waste, and/or increase recycling for work completed in 2021. Monadnock’s Envi PC 100 Card was recognized with an award for its innovative approach to sustainability. This card is crafted from 100% post-consumer-recycled (PCR) fiber stock. It’s designed as an eco-friendly alternative to materials like polyvinyl chloride, polylactic acid, virgin-fiber solid bleached sulfate, and mixed virgin/recycled fiber cards. Ideal for gift, membership, and loyalty cards, the Envi PC 100 Card stands out in efforts to reduce environmental impact, minimize energy usage or waste, and promote recycling.
EPA Region 1 Environmental Merit Award – Business
This Business category award recognizes companies that are leaving indelible marks protecting and improving the environment and public health for the people of New England. Monadnock has long supported the EPA and participates in several voluntary programs that enable us to track and quantify our environmental impacts and goals for improvement.
NHTOA – New Hampshire Outstanding Forestry Award
The award, presented by the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA), recognizes superior business management, efficiency, productivity, the quality and marketing of a New Hampshire-based industry (sawmill, wood energy, secondary manufacturer, pulp and paper, etc.) for work completed in 2021.
Monadnock Worksource, a non-profit agency, provides and fosters work experiences for individuals with physical or intellectual challenges. For well over 20 years, we have collaborated with Worksource to offer their disabled clients employment opportunities. Our Worksource friends enrich our lives every day, providing important support to our teams with a willingness to get the job done. We celebrate, respect and value everything they bring to our workplace each week.
Monadnock participated in the Toys for Tots program during the 2022 holiday season. We were pleased to deliver 87 gifts to make a lot of little ones smile on Christmas Day. We are grateful for the generous spirit demonstrated by so many Monadnock employees to make this toy drive a success.
Rooted in the Community
We are alive and well, relevant, and steadfast in our mission as steward, partner, and neighbor crafting sustainable specialty papers for brands worldwide. Resilience isn’t developed overnight. It’s years in the making.
In the words of Phillip Knowles, who worked at the Mill between 1919-1969.
“I would like to say a few words about the mill whistle. Most factories today do not have whistles. But we have always had one here. The original mill whistle was a small one. I ran across it one day in the old machinery shed and as I remember it was only about a foot and a half long and about 6” in diameter. I think the present one was installed about 1910. It is about 12” in diameter and 3 ft. long. They used to blow 2 blasts at 5:30am – one at 7:00am – one at 12:00 noon and once at 1:00pm and again at 6:00pm. My folks told me that when it was first used all the cats and dogs ran for cover every time it was blown. It has 3 separated sections or reeds and is tuned to the minor chord of G. I think that Mr. Pierce got the idea of such a whistle from the ocean liner on which he used to take frequent trips to England. At the end of World War I, it was used to celebrate the Armistice and at the end of World War 2 it was also blown to mark the end of that war. I remember that at the end of the 2nd World War we were holding an impromptu celebration up town in the square and we had a Metropolitan opera singer, a Miss Doris Doe in town, and she was trying to sing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and at the same time the mill whistle was blowing in staccato blasts and she got quite upset about the whole thing and finally gave up in disgust. I believe this whistle can be heard 10 miles away if the wind is in the right direction.”
The mill whistle still blows three times a day, 7:00 am, 12 noon, and 5:00 pm. It’s a sign that Monadnock remains rooted in the Bennington community.
Our roots are strong. We are proud of our achievements in 2022 and will build on that success. We will continue our sustainable innovation journey to deliver even more Un-Plastic solutions to our customers.
The challenges we face in 2023 are a little different than those experienced over the past few years. The bottlenecks in the supply chain have diminished and raw materials are more readily available than during the pandemic. Costs are not easing as quickly as they rose and finished goods inventories are high across the country. Lastly, energy costs have risen to alarming levels.
The “great retirement” impacted the depth on our bench and finding skilled workers continues to be difficult. We have made progress onboarding great new talent across the organization.
The EcoVadis assessment is a powerful tool that will help us to continuously improve what we make, how we make it, and how we can further engage with our supply chain partners in a responsible way. Our commitment to sustainability continues and we appreciate this gold seal of approval and, more importantly, the roadmap it provides for the future.