Established in 1948, Visy is a privately owned packaging, paper and recycling company. The business employs over 5,500 people across 120 sites in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, with a further 5,800 people in trading offices throughout Asia, Europe and the USA.
Producing 230,000 tonnes of containerboard product each year, Visy’s Coolaroo Paper Mill in Victoria is an important part of the company’s operations.
However, this scale of output comes with obvious waste issues. Aside from economic and environmental concerns associated with sending an estimated 80,000 tonnes of waste product to landfill each year, Visy is committed to investing in clean energy wherever possible as a way toreduce energy consumption, emissions and costs.
As such, Visy commissioned a waste-to-energy project, which involved building a new $50 million co-generation power plant onsite at Coolaroo in 2011 that re-used waste products –to produce energy.
The challenge however, was to finance this project without significant capital investment.
Having successfully implemented other finance solutions within the wider Visy Group, Northquest was asked to design a funding roadmap that would enable the construction of the new co-generation plant at Coolaroo.
After carefully analysing Coolaroo’s manufacturing operations as well as Visy’s long-term clean energy vision, Northquest proposed a 5-year solution that allowed Visy to fund the project out of their operating budget rather than their capital budget.
Since 2001, Visy has invested more than $150 million in clean energy initiatives, including $50 million establishing the co-generation power plant at Coolaroo.
The state-of-the-art plant is able to generate 27MW of thermal energy and 3MW of electric energy from waste produced during the paper recycling process. This energy is then used to power the Coolaroo Paper Mill, which reduces Visy’s dependence on electricity generated from coal-fired power stations and natural gas.
This not only helps minimise the company’s energy consumption and costs, it also brings a number of environmental benefits, including reduced emissions and reduced waste to landfill.