What all goes into a packaging climate strategy?

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Taking on the climate crisis requires a bold strategy. While it includes identifying substantial actions we can take within our organization to cut carbon emissions, we cannot maximize our emission reduction impact alone. We need to also consider how we can pursue prospects for collaborative climate action in our value chain and beyond. To understand how these efforts combine to comprise Stora Enso’s climate strategy, I’d like to cover the building blocks that together illuminate the path to meeting our targets.

By 2030, we aim to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% in absolute terms compared to 2019 as a baseline, aligned with the 1.5 degree scenario and approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). We have also recently signed The Climate Pledge, committing to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, which is a logical step towards our existing  ambitious goal of achieving net climate positivity by 2050. I’m proud to share that we have already progressed in our climate action, and this has started with taking inventory of emissions reduction opportunities and realizing them, for example, within our own production sites, supply chain, and supplier relationships. 

Building blocks for climate progress

Our climate targets are holistic; they cover emissions reductions from our operations, purchased energy, supply chain, transportation, and our customers’ operations. These sources comprise Scopes 1, 2, and 3 – all critical in achieving our goals. Below I’ll explain our most material climate strategy building blocks and how each contribute to our climate progress.

Clean energy. We need energy to power our production processes and move materials and products. Both activities are opportunities to substitute fossil fuels with renewable alternatives and clean electricity. For example, at our Fors, Sweden site, we have achieved 100% fossil-free production by switching to renewable sources for electricity and steam production, and by transitioning to renewable fuel for our internal transportation.  We also invested in our paperboard production site in Anjalankoski, Finland to switch the energy source of dryers in the machine’s coating section from natural gas to electricity, reducing the site’s carbon emissions by approximately 20%.

Efficiency of our processes and products. Our production sites and processes are opportunities for efficiency upgrades where we can reduce emissions when manufacturing packaging materials, and we are also looking for ways to reduce carbon footprint in the development of paperboard itself. For example, through lightweighting paperboard – reducing the raw material needed to make our products, we can limit product-level footprints and ultimately help our customers meet their climate targets. Climate impact is one important driver in our product development. We aim to deliver products with reduced carbon footprint that can replace fossil-based packaging, and this also means helping consumer make the right choices. 

Suppliers’ and customers’ climate progress. When our sustainability targets and ambitions are aligned with our value chain partners, we maximize our collective impact. We have implemented better monitoring and reporting tools to accurately capture our Scope 3 emissions and started to work closely with our suppliers to achieve climate progress. In this building block, the focus is on sourcing of raw materials for producing our materials like chemicals, upstream and downstream transportation, and processing of our materials into packaging. And here I want to point out that transparency is vital in working collaboratively. I’m encouraged by our suppliers that take steps to ensure that have meaningful data to help reduce our Scope 3 impact. For example, by transitioning to a new limestone supplier at our Skoghall site in Sweden, we reduced our annual CO2 emissions there by 12,300 tons per year. Successes like this combine to create large-scale progress. We also recently optimized our downstream rail transportation in collaboration with local operators in Southern Finland to alleviate inefficiencies, resulting in a reduction of 3,900 tons of CO2per year.

Lower carbon begins with fiber-based materials

I’m delighted that our products offer solutions to converters, brand owners, and retailers for measurably reducing their climate impacts, but we can go further. We are working towards fully circular, and net climate-, net biodiversity-positive materials, and we are building a future where it’s easy for consumers to make the sustainable choice when meeting their everyday needs. To do so requires a plan, and with this glimpse into our climate actions, we can see the next steps to making our vision a reality.


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.