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 include a focus on wood for construction, fiber-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 through the entire value chain are an integral part of all innovation work.
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.
Stora Enso has more than 400 scientists working at research centres in Finland, Sweden and Germany as well as the Innovation Centres for packaging and biomaterials. Additionally, we have various cooperation agreements with Aalto University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Chalmers University, Rennovia Inc., Wallenberg Wood Science Center and SweTree Technologies. We work with startups through our businesses and the Stora Enso Accelerator programme. We are also active in a number of national, European and trade associations focused on the bioeconomy and forestry agendas.
Stora Enso’s expenditure on innovation, research and development in 2019 was EUR 141 (149) million, which was equivalent to 1.4% of sales. We have established funds to be used in an agile manner for capital expenditure in novel projects which have potential business cases. Intellectual property is an increasingly important tool to support our strategy. In 2019, we ran 25 campaigns and had 15 open idea channels operating. In total almost 1200 ideas were collected, growing from 875 in 2018. The most suitable ideas enter state-gate based innovation processes of the divisions and functions.
The biomaterials Innovation Centre in Sickla hosts research, application, business development and strategic marketing under one roof.
The Innovation Centre in Helsinki offers a packaging design lab, showroom, virtual reality retail analysis technology, and more.