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Becoming a net positive contributor

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Stora Enso has published their new sustainability ambition and targets. We discuss with Annette Stube, EVP Sustainability, about Stora Enso’s ambitious goals, how they will be reached, and what it will mean for our customers.

What is Stora Enso’s new sustainability goal?

We have a long history of working towards sustainability for both people and the environment, such as respecting human rights and minimising air and water emissions. Yet as a global society, we are at a critical stage in terms of ecosystem crises, and it is time for a more ambitious target. Stora Enso’s goal is that all of our products and solutions will be 100% regenerative by 2050.

By adopting a regenerative stance, we are shifting our sustainability goals from minimising negative environmental impacts to becoming a net positive contributor within the defined focus areas of climate, circularity, and biodiversity by 2050.

Being a net positive contributor sounds good, but what does it mean for Stora Enso’s customers?

Many of our large customers are going the same way. When we listen to our customers’ sustainability requests, it is clear that their direction is informed by the ‘end-game’, i.e., what actually needs to happen for us to build a sustainable society – both in terms of people and the environment.

Stora Enso contributes to our customers’ sustainability journey by increasingly offering regenerative solutions over time.

What do you mean by regenerative solutions?

For us this means developing products that positively contribute to nature restoration and climate change mitigation. In practical terms, this means that we develop products that mitigate climate change, are fully circular and that originates from forests where biodiversity is increasing, not being depleted.

The year 2050 is a generation away. Why does Stora Enso take such a long-term view?

Because we take what really needs to be done as our starting point, based on science. This is long-term by nature. As additional benefits, it will help us set direction for innovation and having a long-term perspective of capital allocation. By focusing on this now we will be better prepared for the transition, including tackling the trade-offs and challenges, such as biodiversity vs profitability and developing new materials.

As we credibly show that we are on our way towards a regenerative future, we will have a seat at the table externally to discover and discuss new and better solutions. This is closely linked to our commercial growth agenda: responding to the long-term needs of our customers.

You’ve explained Stora Enso’s goals, but how will you actually achieve them? Let’s hear about the action you are taking.

We have developed a sustainability framework that drives our long-term work in areas where the world needs the biggest change – and where we can have the biggest impact – in climate change, biodiversity, and circularity. We will use regenerative principles to drive product innovation, guide our key business processes, and work with stakeholders to find better solutions. For biodiversity, a set of actions towards 2030 has been developed and initiated to improve biodiversity on species, habitat and landscape levels. These will be supported by a science-based monitoring programme and more than 15 indicators tracking progress.

Find better solutions? Do you mean help change our current system?

Yes. We want to ensure incentives created by public and private policies will increasingly reward regenerative practices and products. We are an advocate for a new regenerative materials system and participate in debates about dilemmas and unknowns. We are not pretending that we have all the solutions, but we will contribute with what we know and work in partnerships and coalitions to tackle the dilemmas. We must understand the broader systems we are part of and make them work for a sustainable future for ourselves and our customers. We are determined to develop our business in a way that is within planetary boundaries.

How will Stora Enso customers benefit from your sustainability actions?

The ultimate purpose of this is to help make our customers regenerative. We share the same fundamental challenges keeping the ecological system working.

Annette Stube

Annette Stube

Executive Vice President, Sustainability