Skip to Content

Fort James Corporation

Established in 1997, Fort James is the result of a merger between two companies whose industry began decades ago: James River Corporation of Richmond, Virginia, and Fort Howard Corporation of Bay, Wisconsin. Fort James currently operates 11 of 12 of the world’s largest and most tech advanced tissue machines – some of which are located on sawmill sites that date back to the 20th century.

Fort James’ products too, are a unique combination of old and new, with traditional brands tech invention. For example, the Dixie Cup recently achieved a milestone with its new Perf technology, which keeps liquids hot but ensures that the outside of the cup is pleasant to the touch.

Here are some of the important crossroads in the company’s history:
1880-1890s: Early sawmills are constructed along the banks, from Old Town, Maine to Camas mills will eventually transition to become the sixth important paper and tissue production facilities.
1901: Nothern Paper Mills company formed in Gree. They begin production of sanitary tissue.
1908: Hugh Moore and Lawrence Luellen obtain the Health Kup (later to become the Dixie Cup) and as the Individual Drink Cup Company.
1910-1919: Fort Howard in Green Bay, Wisconsin, by Austin E. Cofrin, a former employee of the mills. By 1999, Green Bay West Mill, as it would come to be known, would have the largest producing operation in the world, as well as the world’s largest tissue-converting operation, and tissue warehousing and distribution operation.
1920s: Roll tissue introduced by Northern
1925: Zellerbach Corporation established in San Francisco merges with Crown Willamette to become the leader in pulp and paper industry.
1936: The Individual Drinking Cup Company merges with a company of Chicago to form the Dixie-Vortex, and it becomes the Dixie Cup Company.
1940-1949: Dixie opens additional manufacturing sites in the United States and Canada
1953: Northern Paper Mills purchased by Marathon Corporation.
1957: American Can Company purchases Dixie Cup Marathon Coroporation, including the Northern branch.
1969: James River Paper Company co-founded by Bre Williams, who purchase the specialty papermark, the Ethyl Corporation. The company is established in the historic James River area, in Richmond, Virginia.
1973: James River makes its first public stock offering
1974: American Can Company builds Neenah Technical Center in Neenah, Wisconsin. Today, they are responsible for product and process development for Fort James’ North American business.
1975: Campaign launched to change the name of Northern paper towels to Brawny.
1982: James River buys American Can Corporation, Cup and Northern Paper.
1983: James River establishes its North American Consumer Products headquarters at RiverPark, Connecticut.
1986: James River buys Crown Zellerbach Corporation, doubling James River’s size for the sixth year.
1987: James River begins its expansion into Europe through joint ventures
1990s: Jamont, the precursor to Fort James Europe, is formed as a holding company comprised of the business of James River and its European partners.
1996: James River obtains 100% ownership of Jamont.
1997: James River merges with Fort Howard to become Fort James Corporation. Deerfield, Illinois is the new corporate headquarters.
1999: Fort James completes the sale of its Packaging Division to sharpen its focus for the future of products for both at-home and away-from-home markets.

Our Products:

… That’s what we make at Fort James.

United States: Quilted Northern, Vanity Fair, Mardi Gras

Europe: Lotus, Emgo, Colhogar, KitchenSoft, Demak’Up

They’re the necessities of life. They’re the products you use in your kitchen, bathroom, your bedroom – throughout your home. But we are much more than our brand names.

Fort James is North America’s largest provider of towel and tissue away-from-home market, with a 40 percent market share. We sell our tissue, towel and napkins, Preference and Envision – to some of the world’s leading hotels, restaurants, offices, and hospitals. Dixie business provides a full range of products to the foodservice industry. Fort James also manages and copying papers, and other supplies other manufacturers with specially engineered, super-absorbed.

And while we’re justifiably proud of our products, we’re just as proud of the thinking behind the focus on what comes off the production line, we focus on the needs of the customers, asking questions:
– How can we make our bath tissue softer, yet more absorbent?
– What fun, new designs can we put on our Dixie cups that kids will respond to?
– What materials will make our disposable plates stronger for picnic-goers?
– How can we provide cost-effective solutions for our commercial customers?

At Fort James, we don’t just make products. We make our customers’ lives just a little bit easier.

Our Corporate Citizenship:

Fort James never takes the Earth’s natural resources for granted. We’re responsibility to use these resources wisely and leave a legacy of a clean environment for future generations. That’s why we focus so tightly on:
– Recycling: We are the industry’s leading recycler
– Pollution Prevention: Our mills and plants are responsible corporate solutions
– Natural Resource Conservation: We use our raw materials and energy efforts wisely
– Environmental Impact Reduction: Fort James mills have devised specific minimize their environmental impact and shared them with their community.

Fort James and Recycling:

No one in our industry can touch Fort James when it comes to recycling. The tissue industry’s leading recycler and the largest single buyer of de-inked in the United States. We recycle 2.4 million tons of recovered paper annually and a million tons in the U.S alone. We recycled a wide range of both pre- and consumer recovered paper grades, including newspapers, magazines, bus passes, government files and office paper, computer printout paper, printers, publishers, and other paper converters.

We offer consumers a variety of cutting-edge recycled products, including:
– The Green Forest line of tissue products, the first tissue line from 100 percent recycled fiber (and containing at least 10 percent consumer fiber).
– The Envision line of tissue products, which meets EPA standards of consumer fiber content.
– Eureka office and consumer papers, which already exceeded the 1999 standards establishing a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer content.
– The COMPACT coreless 100 bathroom tissue, made of 100% fiber.

Fort James and Natural Resource Conservation:

Fort James creates much of the electricity used in its mills via a co-generator, which allows us to capture the steam that results from the tissue-making process in other areas of our mills. The company currently co-generates 51 percent electricity. Our competitors, on average, co-generate approximately 27 percent.

Because energy is such a substantial part of company’s costs, Fort James constantly looks for ways to both conserve energy and save costs.

Fort James has reduced water usage at several of its mills, achieving up to reduction in fresh water makeup at one of our mills.

Fort James and Emissions Reduction:

Fort James is a voluntary participant in the Environmental Protection Agency program which was designed to reduce emissions from 17 targeted chemists. Fort James met with 50 percent reduction goal before 1995 and has since reached 70 percent level. The company’s aggressive actions led Fort James to receive the National Performance Award from Vice President Al Gore in 1996.

Fort James has reduced toxic emissions as reported under Community R, requirements by 60 percent from its 1987 baseline. The company has also played a role in converting to water-based inks, coatings and adhesives, which require hazardous air pollutants. Fort James is also involved in chemical recycling at its mills and is modernizing its bleach plants.

 Fort James and Environmental Research:

Fort James’ environmental and process engineers spend their days finding ways to enhance and improve our environmental practices. The company’s annual limit spending on environmental activities is approximately $30 million.

In addition, Fort James is an active dues-paying member of the National Paper Industry for Air and Stream Improvement. This organization is environmental research organization of the industry and funded exclusively by members. The company is also a member of several statewide industry groups that conduct environmental research.

The Fort James Foundation annually supports the diverse environmental organization to their efforts to enhance the environment and research environmental issues. Fort James donated more than $100,000 to twenty environmental organizations including Keep America Beautiful, the Nature Conservancy, Resources from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the American Forest Foundation, the Maine Tree Foundation, the Sturgeon Bay Education Foundation, American Wilderness Foundation, Trees for Tomorrow, Marine Science, and Fish First.

 Fort James and Forestry: 

Roughly 45 percent of the wood materials used at Fort James mills come of scrap or sawdust from lumber mills.

Fort James adheres to – and helped to create – the American Forest & Paper Association’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Fort James ensures they follow environmentally sound harvesting techniques, including safeguard streams and rivers, protecting water quality, enhancing wildlife habitats, minimizing impact of harvests, protecting special sites and ensuring prompt reforestation harvesting is complete.

The Bottom Line:

Fort James is committed to environment, safety and healthy because of it’s the thing to do. Our environment benefits, our employees benefit, and our customers addition, improved environmental performance has improved bottom-line. Here are some examples:
– Treatment costs have been lowered by reducing chemical discharge sewers
– Hazardous waste generation and associated disposal costs have been decreased due to switching to cleaner raw materials.
– Close interaction with customers on environmental issues has led to business opportunities such as: 1)The development of a paper-based insulated wrap as an alternative Styrofoam fast-food containers, 2)The development of coreless bathroom tissue rolls, 3)The development of a hot-beverage cup featuring a foamed opening which eliminates the need for “double cupping”.

Investor Relations

The 1999 Fort James Annual Report, Business Description:

Fort James ranks number three in the sale and production of tissue and towel products in Europe. Product lines in both the consumer and away-from-home markets include bath and facial tissues, handkerchiefs, paper towels, cotton cleansing pads and tabletop products for the food-service industry. Fort James also provides customer brands for leading retailers, and markets a line of feminine hygiene products and pharmacy supplies.

Market Share Highlights: 
– Lotus bath tissue and Okay kitchen towels are number one and Moltonel bath tissue is number two in France
– Colhogar bathroom tissue and kitchen tissue are number one in Spain
– KittenSoft kitchen towels and bathroom tissue are number one in Ireland
– Selpak bathroom tissue and kitchen towels are number one in Turkey
– Embo bathroom tissue is number one in Finland
– Lotus kitchen towels are number one in the Netherlands
– Tenderly bathroom tissue is number two in Italy
– Delica bathroom tissue and kitchen towels are number two in Greece