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Packaging Materials new sustainability commitments for 2030 and 2050

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Stora Enso has long been a pioneer in sustainable packaging materials. As a leading global provider of renewable solutions for packaging, we’re driving the eco-evolution with solutions, innovations and partnerships that are designed to help our industry and our world transition to a sustainable circular bioeconomy. The journey we’re on isn’t new, but with the release of the Packaging Materials Division’s new sustainability commitments for 2030 and even 2050, it’s now shifting into next gear. How will we get where we’re going? Let’s take a look.

The push to come up with innovative ways to replace fossil-based materials with renewables is more urgent than ever, being driven by the pressured state of the environment and the responsibility of governments, brands and indeed all of us to do what we can to reduce carbon emissions – fast. For the packaging industry, that push is also being driven by things like the boom in takeaway dining and online shopping.

In my role, I’ve been able to work with the rest of the Packaging Materials Division team to define our new sustainability commitments for 2030, which were recently announced alongside a broader – and very ambitious – sustainability framework for 2050 (more on that in our next blog!).

Concretely speaking, the main goal for 2030 is to align our division’s climate targets with the 1.5-degree science-based pathway set by the international community in the Paris Agreement. Yes, we know that globally it is going to be a stretch to turn emissions to stay within the 1.5 degrees pathway based on the recently-released report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But we are absolutely committed to work as hard as we can to make it happen.

To do that, we have updated our scope 1 and 2 climate targets, which means the direct emissions caused by our own operations and emissions from purchased energy, as well as our scope 3 targets, which means the emissions created by the up- and downstream parts of our value chain. This is absolutely key.

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Starting from the system level

When it comes to the radical decarbonization of the value chain, it’s important to facilitate system level change. The purpose of food packaging is to deliver safe nutrition to people. So, we need to make sure that the role packaging plays in that system is carbon positive, fully circular and biodiversity positive.

Doing that means identifying the hotspots of emissions or loss of materials, for example, and then innovating ways to rectify them. That might sound simple enough, but it’s not. We can’t innovate alone. Collaborating with likeminded partners is absolutely crucial.

One great example of this is our collaboration with TetraPak in Poland, where we identified a big opportunity in the beverage carton value chain towards full circularity by vastly increasing the recycling capacity of the materials. Together with TetraPak we’re investing in new recycling capacities that support the recycling of both the fibers and the traditionally tricky-to-recycle barrier components.

Another great example is paper cups. Our division recently teamed up with the global food packaging company Huhtamaki to create the FutureSmart cup, an 100% renewable, plant-based cup, which of course is also recyclable. It’s products and collaborations like these where we’ve really been able to make a significant impact or contribute to a system level change, and that kind of collaborative innovation will definitely continue.

The journey to a sustainable circular bioeconomy is in full swing and the goals set for 2030 are well in sight. By optimizing our own operations and collaborating with the entire value chain, they can and hopefully will be achieved.

The people in our team and throughout the company are really inspired by the work we’re doing to solve some of the biggest challenges we’re facing as humanity. For us, innovating how renewable materials can make a tangible difference in substituting for fossil-based materials is the best possible reason to get out of bed every morning and come to work.


Tiina Pursula

Tiina Pursula

Since 2018, Tiina has been deeply involved in developing our sustainability agenda and currently she works as SVP Sustainability in Division Packaging Materials. She has served both internal and external customers on integration of sustainability and circularity into product development and customer cases. She is a sustainability leader with over 20 years of experience in sustainability leadership positions, sustainability consulting and business development and innovations for global companies in packaging and manufacturing industries. Tiina has a Master of Science (Engineering) degree in Forest Products Technology.
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