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.

Illustration - profitable growth

Some innovation programmes

  • Stronger and lighter packages with microfibrillated cellulose (MFC), to reduce fiber, water, energy and transport requirements
  • New packaging board grades, biobarriers and films targeting replacement of single use plastics and plastic in packaging
  • Value adding wooden construction tools and components supporting green building and providing alternatives to concrete and steel
  • Biocomposites to reduce the need for fossil polymers used in plastics
  • Lignin as a replacement for hazardous phenol in glues
  • Carbon materials for energy storage
  • Intelligent packages that can secure products and reduce waste
  • RFID tags that are paper-based and recyclable
  • Digitalisation for more efficient operations

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. 

Supporting the innovation agenda

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.

Investment in innovation

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.