As much as renewable resources, innovation too is essential in the bioeconomy. We aim to address trends and developments that affect our customers and end-consumers, while driving solutions to reduce dependence on fossil-based materials.
Innovation themes at Stora Enso’s include a focus on wood for construction, fibre-based solutions for packaging, hygiene and textile applications, bio-based breakthrough material and chemical applications, as well as digitalisation and intelligent packaging. Customer insights and collaboration with customers and partners are an integral part of all innovation work at Stora Enso through the entire value chain.
We have many examples of how our bio-based materials and components can support a more sustainable future. With microfibrillated cellulose (MFC), packages can be made stronger and lighter, to reduce fibre, water, energy and transport requirements. Wooden buildings and constructions store carbon and provide an alternative to concrete and steel which have a great carbon footprint. Biocomposites reduce the need for fossil polymers used in plastics, and lignin can replace hazardous phenol in glues. Digitalisation gives us the opportunity to make operations more efficient, and intelligent packages that can protect products and reduce waste. Packaging board materials and paper can be re-used, in some cases recycled up to seven times before finally being recovered as renewable energy.
Innovation is not limited to products. Stora Enso is also looking at how we form our partnerships, shape our business models and provide new services. Additionally, we are constantly looking for ways in which we can improve processes, save energy and use resources efficiently in our operations, for our customers and throughout the value chain.
To support the innovation agenda, Stora Enso has more than 250 scientists working at research centres in Finland, Sweden and Germany as well as the Innovation Centres for packaging and biomaterials at Helsinki and Stockholm, respectively. We have various co-operation agreements with Aalto University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Chalmers University, Rennovia Inc., Wallenberg Wood Science Center and SweTree Technologies. Stora Enso is also active in a number of national, European and trade associations focused on the bioeconomy and forestry agendas.