Several Stora Enso’s mills and teams organised environmental volunteering events in spring and summer 2019. Heinola Mill in Finland organised volunteer days where employees collected waste from the local environment between the mill and the city centre. This also raised the opportunity to promote recycling and demonstrate the correct handling of waste and highlight the problem of plastics. In addition, it allowed employees at Heinola to interact with the local people.
Waste bags were filled in Heinola in April. The mill is already planning how to continue these kinds of volunteering days. “It was really great to team up with our employees for a good cause and help the environment. For us, it is important that we are active in the local community where we are present,” says Katja Metsäranta, Mill Director of Stora Enso’s Heinola Fluting.
“We are planning our next community event for September in connection with the regional environmental week. It would be nice to get other companies and residents in the community to work together to improve our shared environment. We also want to show that everyone can help to reduce the negative impacts on nature and in particularly the effects of plastic waste.”
Since 2015, Stora Enso’s Hylte paper mill in southern Sweden has opened its doors to asylum seekers in the region as a way help them get integrated into society. As asylum seekers have limited opportunities to meet local people, Hylte Mill decided to provide a chance for some of them to learn what working life in Sweden can be like.
“We have had a few people come every year,” says Kristoffer Bergström, Human Resources Manager at Hylte Mill. “We would love to take more and we know more people would love to come, but it has been challenging to allocate time from our employees’ schedules.”
During the three-week programme, the participant shadows a mill employee in their work, picking up the Swedish language and customs. Esmail Hashem, a Syrian engineer, participated in the programme in late 2018.
“In addition to learning more Swedish, I received training and information about water treatment, for example, that complimented well my previous experience in Syria,” Hashem says. “I enjoyed the cooperation with everyone. It was a wonderful experience.”
The programme has provided great learning opportunities for both asylum seekers and Stora Enso employees. Through cultural exchange, employees have gained new perspectives for their everyday work.
Stora Enso’s employees organised a forest planting event in Joutseno, Finland together with the children and youth initiative Plant-for-the-Planet and nearby Ravattila school children aging 10 to 12. During the day, the group planted around 450 seedlings.
“It is important for us in Stora Enso to participate in joint projects in local communities we operate in. We want to do climate actions and give the opportunity to others - especially to young people. Together with the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, we give these schoolchildren the opportunity to experience how they can contribute to their future. Every tree captures CO2 and helps mitigate climate change,” says Anna-Liisa Myllynen, Senior Vice President, Sustainability at Stora Enso Wood Products.
Planting seedlings, cleaning the environment or donating to local schools are just examples of our voluntary community work. Our employees all over the world from executives to engineers have joined forces to support local volunteering activities. By investing in communities, we can help local communities thrive, raise environmental awareness and address societal challenges like climate change.