Brussels - Celulosa Arauco y Constitución (ARAUCO) has been awarded the prestigious 2010 Pulp & Paper International Award for Business Strategy of the Year. Organized by RISI, the international forest products industry information service, the PPI Awards honor leadership, vision, innovation and strategic accomplishments within the global pulp and paper industry.
Arauco received the award in recognition of its strategic, integrated approach to rebuilding its operations and the communities near its facilities in the aftermath of the February 27, 2010 earthquake and tsunami in south-central Chile.
According to Charles Kimber, Corporate Affairs and Marketing Director from ARAUCO, helping the people of the devastated areas became a top priority for the company in the hours following the disaster. "Our business focus changed, quite literally, overnight, from one of finding new markets and growth opportunities to on recovery and the rebuilding."
"Even as we began the process of assessing the damage and planning our recovery as a company," said Kimber, "we realized that we could not rise from the rubble if the people in the communities near our operations did not rise above the damage as well. It was clear to us immediately that our top priority as a company, as individual employees, and as Chileans was to apply our financial and human resources to the rebuilding of communities, to the repair of infrastructure, to the restoration of livelihoods, and to the rebuilding of lives that had been shattered."
"We receive this PPI Award with great humility," Alfonso Valdes, General Manager of Arauco Forest Products, who accepted the PPI Award in Brussels on behalf of Arauco, and are honored that Arauco was able to play a role in our nation's recovery."
Arauco's Disaster Response
Within hours of the quake, Arauco began dispatching trucks loaded with relief aid to support its employees, contract workers, their families and others in the devastated communities. The company supplied personal-hygiene kits, blankets and bedding, mattresses, tents, medicine, and electrical generators as part of its emergency response. Arauco also partnered with a food service company, to provide one thousand hot meals daily at a field cafeteria, and engaged mental-health professionals to provide crisis counseling to residents of hard-hit communities.
Arauco actively assisted municipalities and regional governments in restoring basic services. The company provided bulldozers and other heavy equipment to clear roads, demolish damaged buildings, and remove debris. Arauco provided fuel to firefighters, police agencies and other municipal operations, enabling the operation of electric generators and water pumps. The company used the co-generation capacity at its facilities at Cholguán and Nueva Aldea to provide electrical power to neighboring communities. Arauco's Cholguán MDF facility and Arauco pulp mill supplied drinking water to nearby communities.
In addition to making a $3 million donation for the construction of emergency housing, the company provided and provisioned two factories (in the cities of Constitución and Arauco) to build emergency housing. Arauco also donated four hectares of land in the Constitución area as a building site for 1,000 emergency homes. The company also established an emergency housing compounds in the Maule region of Chile, provided temporary housing for other dislocated people at company-operated compounds and camps, and made available a range of construction materials for residents to use for emergency home repairs.
Arauco also partnered with Chile's Housing Ministry and the Municipality of Constitución in a program known as "PRES" (Sustainable Reconstruction Plan for the city of Constitución) to develop a Master Plan for the reconstruction of the city. It is also engaged in fundraising for the establishment of a Cultural Center in the community of Arauco, and the re-establishment of the artisanal fishing fleets of coastal villages.
Within three weeks of the temblor, Arauco had begun normalization of its operations. By the end of April, 2010, the company's Pulp Business was operating at 70% of its production capacity. Additional pulp capacity was brought on line in May.
Arauco's Panel facilities were all back on line and operating at 100% of capacity by the end of April. The company's Sawn Timber business, which experienced the complete destruction of one facility, also rebuilt quickly. To replace the capacity lost by the destruction of its Mutrún saw mill in Constitución, Arauco reopened Line 1 at its Horcones II saw mill in July.
Additional information about Arauco's ongoing earthquake recovery efforts is available online at www.arauco.cl or by email to [email protected] Additional information about Arauco's 2010 PPI Business Strategy of the Year Award is available by email to [email protected]