As usual in every transition, the period of governance changes in Veracel over the last year has not been easy. However, we have experienced a very rich episode of a healthy integration among boards and teams, which has allowed us to learn a lot from the shareholders. When I took office in February 2018, my first action was to get to know people and processes. The result could not have been different: I’m leading a solid company, with committed people and operations strongly rooted in its strategic guidelines.
We are responsible for maintaining these excellent results, such as the high levels of safety and quality achieved in recent years. We know that the better results, the greater our commitment to get them to bring them to higher levels. We also have some challenges ahead of us. We need to recover forest productivity and ensure wood supply for the year and we know we can improve our operating indexes, a goal that encourages us even more this year – the first of our calendar with no General Stop.
In the midst of challenges and achievements, we have a long way to go, with great initiatives that will take us to the next level. We work continuously to generate wealth for the territory and increase our contribution to the region’s sustainable development. And for that, we know we can count on our team, composed of skilled professionals who are highly committed to our mission and values. The results will surely come. [GRI 102-14]
Anderson Ângelo de Souza
Financial and Management Director
A new Management Committee created in 2017 has provided us with different model of work. The presence of counselors in the company’s micromanagement has led us to dive deeper into governance, broadening our vision of how to operate and inspiring us to think differently.
In the financial area, we had a very clear challenge to establish cost control for the year. The strategy that allowed us to overcome it with distinction was just thinking outside the box. The Zero-Based Budgeting implementation was a process started in May and will continue over the next few years, gradually incorporating itself to the Veracel culture. Leaving behind the traditional planning model is not simple. Neither is rethinking structures based on the business size year by year. The results achieved by the end of 2017 have showed everyone the Zero-Based Budgeting methodology makes us more competitive and has added value to Veracel. We have demonstrated consistently that the tool is not a way to simply cut costs, but rather to apply resources efficiently.
As a result, we closed the year with the same fixed cost average reported in 2016, a remarkable performance in a difficult economic scenario in the country and inflation. We know that the cultural change does not happen instantly, but we work continuously to improve management in a consistent way driven by the advances we have already achieved and motivated to make Veracel a better and better company. [GRI 102-14]
Ari da Silva Medeiros
In 2017, we had several significant achievements which gave us the certainty that we are on the right track in our strategic guidelines. We reached the best safety performance in our 26-year history, with a 0.36 work accident with injury leave rate, a remarkable result worldwide. Our excellent Safety performance is evidenced by the best execution of the General Stop we have ever carried out, with zero accident during 10 days of operation.
We also reported this year a 99.7 percent in Prime Quality, the second best index in our history – a result of a structured management process and control and as well as a highly skilled team.
On the other hand, we are aware that it was a difficult year, which left important learning to be followed, always focused on the continuous improvement. We had some environmental issues related to odor control, which reinforced our attention to this process management. After we have solved the flaws, we are now focused on repositioning this area as a world benchmark in 2018. We also had a tough year in terms of pulp production. We almost reached the goal, but some major losses in critical areas did not allow us to achieve it. All bottlenecks have been eliminated for 2018. This is a challenging year as it is the first of the calendar with no General Stop. There will be 361 days of operation to reach the new, more audacious goal of producing 1,130,000 tsa (air dried tonne, in Portuguese unit. We are confident and sure that we have the conditions to reach it. [GRI 102-14]
This was a crucial year for our work to resume productivity. We had a favorable period with well distributed and above-average rainfall, contributing to the desirable forest growth conditions. Maintaining this quality level on a growing scale has been our priority, so the consistent results reported in 2017 rejoice and motivate us to continue our work. And as part of it, we are also focused on eliminating areas of low productivity until mid-2019, replacing them with new forests. We already have the required technology, and our challenge now is to apply it on a large scale.
We were strongly involved in agro-ecological settlement development programs in 2017. Together with our partners and combining legal strategies with consistent dialogue, we promoted repossession (?) and stabilized land occupation rate, which undoubtedly represents great progress on this front. We also moved ahead on another very important front for us, the excellence in forestry management, with the consolidation of the quality control system. In addition, we continue investing in development and training for Forestry Management, strengthening teamwork, leadership and communication in search of continuous improvement of our operations.
We are now facing the challenge to strike a balance among self-sufficiency in the production and wood supply. We work with optimism, aware that the plans to recover cutting age and productivity will continue according to what has been established and that our goal is ambitious but achievable. [GRI 102-14]