Supporting local communities during the pandemic

Published 15 June 2020
We are living in exceptional times and solidarity is needed more than ever. Stora Enso’s units around the world are showing support for their local communities in many ways.

The coronavirus outbreak has changed our lives in ways we could not have imagined a few months ago. Authorities, charities, and businesses are working together to reach out to those in need. While Stora Enso continues to provide vital renewable materials to its customers, many of whom serve the medical, hygiene, and food industries, our units are also supporting their communities.

“The resilience of local communities is now more important than ever, and Stora Enso wants to be a partner that can support this goal,” says Leena Delestre, Community Investment Manager at Stora Enso. “Stora Enso has a worldwide Community Investment programme where projects are managed and funded locally – this is to ensure that the community is the main beneficiary. Our units support communities in three ways: through cash donations, donations of materials, and volunteering on company time.” 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, 22 Stora Enso units have helped their communities in some way. We have collected a few examples below.

Providing food for families in need in Finland 

Our Ingerois Mill in Finland donated to a programme collecting funds to buy food and supplies for low-income families in the Kymenlaakso region in southeastern Finland. The programme is co-organized by the town of Kouvola, the regional social and health services federation Kymsote, and the local branches of the Finnish Red Cross and the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL), a Finnish children’s rights organization. 

“Because of the pandemic, families eat at home more, which has increased costs related to food. This can be a big challenge for low-income families – especially single-parent households,” says Christa Carpelan, Executive Director of the regional branch of MLL. “The Covid-19 outbreak is a test for children’s rights. Children already living in vulnerable conditions need special attention to ensure that their families receive support now but also after the crisis passes.”

“In addition to having an important role in providing renewable materials to critical industries during this time, we also care deeply about the wellbeing of local communities,” says Antti Veitola, Mill Manager at Ingerois Mill. “Providing food for families is a concrete and efficient way to help those in need.”

Donating packaging for hospital supplies in Poland

For over 20 years, Stora Enso’s corrugated board mills in Poland have supported the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (GOCC), a charity organization that donates high-tech equipment to Polish hospitals in need, by making collection boxes for donations. 

As the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in Poland, GOCC began to collect and deliver protective gear for doctors, nurses, and other frontline medical staff that have a heightened risk to contract the virus. So, when GOCC needed packaging to deliver the supplies to hospitals, they had a long-term partner, Stora Enso’s Ostroleka Mill, to turn to. Ostroleka Mill donated a total of 7 000 boxes made from renewable corrugated board at the mill.

“During the coronavirus, we immediately committed to battling the epidemic,” says Jurek Owsiak, Chairman of the GOCC. “It was a great energy booster to see thousands of boxes in our warehouse, ready to be shipped to those in need. We always say that a friend in need is a friend indeed: we thank Stora Enso for helping us make this project a reality in these unusual times.”

GOCC charity donation
GOCC collected protective gear, such as face masks, to be donated to hospital staff in Poland. Nearly half of the boxes were printed with a message saying “Thank you to all who help our community fight the threat and care for our health every day.” Photo credit: GOCC

Producing disinfectant for local needs in Sweden

In Sweden, our Kvarnsveden Mill management team had an idea to check if it was possible to produce hand and surface disinfection for use inside the mill. The topic also came up with a representative of the local Borlänge municipality, who was checking in with major companies about their situation with the virus.

“After lab tests, we delivered the first batch to a municipal elderly home that was about to run out of disinfectant”, says Rickard Eriksson, Mill Director at Kvarnsveden Mill. “The appropriate permissions and exemptions from the authorities have been received and now we are delivering between 100-200 liters per week.”

Milk donations in China

On the eve of the Chinese Children's Day, Stora Enso's Beihai Mill in China donated packaged milk to 1 377 primary school students in Xinggang Town to support communities suffering from the pandemic.

Zhu Weiyan, General Manager at Beihai Mill, and Alan Wang, Director of OHS & Sustainability at the mill, led a team to three local primary schools to deliver milk to the students. The packaging box of the donated milk is made of 100% liquid packaging paperboard produced at Beihai Mill. "Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have been looking to support the surrounding communities and work together with the community to overcome difficulties, which is exactly the intention of the milk donations," said Zhu.

During the isolation period, many families struggled to feed their children properly and now that children have returned to school, it is important to contribute to their health and wellbeing.

Similarly, Stora Enso's corrugated board mill in Wujin, China, donated 2 000 milk cases through the Wujin Epidemic prevention center as a response to the pandemic. Here the milk was sent to the doctors and front-line staff of local hospitals. Thousands of medical care personnel benefited from this donation. Milk cases were also donated to local people in quarantine.