Packaging firm Smurfit Kappa has inaugurated a new purification and wastewater treatment plant in Belgrade, Serbia, located at the site of its paper mill, which the company acquired in 2019.
The €5 million investment in the plant, which Smurfit Kappa says is the 'first of its kind in the country', will purify the water used at the facility before returning it to the environment.
The purified water can also be partially re-used, the company added, reducing the site's water consumption by 90%. Electricity usage and CO2 emissions are also reduced, the company noted.
“The opening of this state-of-the-art facility demonstrates our ongoing commitment to sustainable water management," commented Saverio Mayer, CEO Smurfit Kappa Europe.
"We are proud to be the first company to bring this innovative purification and water treatment system to Serbia as part of our continued investment to ensure the process is as sustainable as the product. Smurfit Kappa continues to lead our industry towards more innovative and sustainable methods of water treatment.”
Smurfit Kappa recently announced plans to merge with US peer WestRock, creating a packaging giant worth nearly $20 billion (€18.7 billion).
In a statement, Smurfit Kappa said that the investment underscores its 'ongoing commitment to water stewardship', and follows on from similar initiatives in Europe and the Americas. Since 2018, Smurfit Kappa has been a signatory to the UN Global CEO Water Mandate, while it is also a member of the Cepi Water Issue Group.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for the plant, prime minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, said, "This is a day that represents a turning point for the sustainable development of our country. By 2025, all companies have a deadline for introducing wastewater treatment plants. Smurfit Kappa did this two years ahead of schedule by building the first industrial biological plant. This is an example of how all business people in Serbia should join the policy of sustainable development."