Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE:VRS) today announced the release of its 2010 Sustainability Report, “At the Heart of All We Do…” The report shares Verso’s continued progress toward achieving a sustainable balance between environmental, social and economic needs.

“The substance of Verso’s sustainability commitment comes from our people, their respect for the world around us and their belief in the future of paper,” said Mike Jackson, Verso’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Sustainability is about more than just staying in business. It’s about getting better and better at meeting the needs of our customers, shareholders and employees while leaving the smallest footprint possible on our environment.”

“From Verso’s beginning in 2006, we have placed sustainability at the heart of all we do, not because it’s mandated, but because it’s the right thing to do for our business and for the health of our planet and its people,” said Craig Liska, Verso’s Vice President of Sustainability.

Verso’s 2010 Sustainability Report includes a report card summarizing progress in areas such as resource use, pollution prevention, safety, social responsibility and transparency. Some highlights from the report are:
  • Verso’s continued commitment to safety excellence was clearly demonstrated in 2010. We exceeded our goals with a lost workday incidence rate (LWIR) of 0.07, which is world class performance, and a total incidence rate (TIR) of 1.36.
  • In support of sustainable forestry practices, Verso procured an impressive 70% of our fiber from certified sources.
  • Verso partnered with Time Inc., Hearst Enterprises, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc. (SFI®), and several other stakeholders to certify an additional 620,000 acres to the SFI® or American Tree Farm System (ATFS) standards in Maine resulting in an 8.3% increase in certified lands in the State.
  • Recognizing the value in the marketplace, Verso increased Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) chain-of-custody certified papers to 26% of total sales, up from 18% the previous year (FSC® Certification Code: SW-COC-002775; PEFC Certification Code: PwC-PEFC-319).
  • In alignment with Verso’s companywide green energy strategy, we began implementation of a $106 million capital campaign that will enable us to reduce overall energy consumption, generate more energy from renewable biomass, reduce carbon footprint, reduce costs and develop new energy-related revenue streams.
  • Over 54% of the fuel used to produce Verso’s pulp and paper products comes from carbon neutral biomass.
  • Continuing to focus on climate change initiatives in 2010, Verso decreased greenhouse gas emissions per ton of production (intensity) by 9.6% over the previous year. Since 1998, Verso has reduced absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 19% and greenhouse gas intensity by 28%.
  • Ever aware of the social needs of the communities surrounding our facilities, the Verso organization exceeded the previous year’s United Way giving level by over 16%, despite the challenging economic times.

For more information, download a full copy of the Verso 2010 Sustainability Report from the company’s website at www.versopaper.com/sustainability.

About Verso

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Verso Paper Corp. is a leading North American producer of coated papers, including coated groundwood and coated freesheet, and supercalendered and specialty products. Verso’s paper products are used primarily in media and marketing applications, including magazines, catalogs and commercial printing applications such as high-end advertising brochures, annual reports and direct-mail advertising. Additional information about Verso is available on the company’s website at www.versopaper.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

In this press release all statements that are not purely historical facts are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “estimate,” “intend,” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on currently available business, economic, financial and other information and reflect management's current beliefs, expectations and views with respect to future developments and their potential effects on Verso. Actual results could vary materially depending on risks and uncertainties that may affect Verso and its business. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, please refer to Verso’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Verso assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement made in this press release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances or actual outcomes.

Copyright Business Wire 2010