Towards a greener planet – with Stora Enso's new Head of Sustainability, Annette Stube, at the helm

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Published 21 March 2021 by Mike Peake
Stora Enso certainly wants to play its part when it comes to sustainability, and the company is equally keen to help other businesses to embrace materials that will be less harmful to the planet. According to Stora Enso’s new Head of Sustainability, Annette Stube, a drive to change the world for the better requires ongoing, focused commitment.
With numerous planet-friendly initiatives under way – Stora Enso is in a good place when it comes to sustainability. Annette Stube, the group's new Head of Sustainability, feels that her role is to channel the company's existing endeavours in a clear and focused way. 

"When I heard about the Head of Sustainability role, I was immediately attracted to it," she says, "because this is a company that has great potential to be a solution provider to several of the big sustainability challenges we have in the world today, like climate change and biodiversity loss." 
 
Stube will be picking up the reins on a whole host of sustainability projects that were already well established – and, of course, looking for ways to introduce more. Stora Enso's Paper division, she says, is a good example of how the business takes a proactive approach when it comes to sustainability.  

"Working towards a circular bioeconomy, like Paper division has done for many years, is exactly the right way forwards," she says. 

Stube certainly knows sustainability. She has worked in this space for more than 20 years, and prior to joining Stora Enso was Head of Global Sustainability at Danish transport and logistics company Maersk, a key supplier to Stora Enso. 

A people story

Stora Enso's recent Sustainability Report clearly outlined how the company is going above and beyond merely "doing its bit" for the environment. In fact, for the third year running, the report was included in the top ten sustainability reports globally. It painted a picture of a forward-thinking company that was committed to making a difference. 

Stube feels that the people who work at Stora Enso are very much part of the success story. "I think most people go to work every day to achieve a lot more than just delivering on the bottom line, and that goes for me, too," she says. "It's sincerely rewarding to feel that what we do and wherever we work at Stora Enso, we each play a part in making the world a little better." 

Stora Enso’s Paper division, she reiterates, is setting the bar high. "More than 90 per cent of our Paper division's own brands are covered by one or more recognised eco labels," she says. "Ecolabel criteria cover the entire life cycle of a product, from the extraction of raw materials to production, product use, and disposal. This really shows the way for the rest of Stora Enso." 

Additionally, it was Paper division that developed a new product called VersaLime™, a recycled mineral made from fly ash created during paper and board production that can replace non-renewable materials.  

Alongside this are a multitude of regional projects that are making a difference to the group-wide sustainability agenda. Stora Enso, for example, works with the energy company Gasum to turn waste water from Paper division's Nymölla Mill in Sweden into liquefied biogas (LBG). LBG emissions are 90 per cent less CO2 intensive than diesel, a fossil fuel.  

"The LPG from Nymölla Mill will improve the overall balance of renewable energy in Sweden considerably," Stube says. 

Helping others to understand sustainability

Understandably proud of – and encouraged by – its ongoing achievements, Stora Enso Paper introduced a new online Sustainability Hub in 2020 so that customers and other stakeholders can download information about FSC, PEFC, ISO and eco-label certificates as well as paper profiles, carbon footprint fact sheets and REACH declarations. 

The hub is part of Stora Enso's commitment to total transparency along the value chain so that customers can make an informed choice about the products they use – and see how these benefit the environment. 

"For me, one highlight of our sustainability actions is the fact that many of our products replace products made of fossil materials, or those that previously relied on heavy fossil production processes," says Stube. "This substitution of fossil products saves nearly 18 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year. I think that is great." 

Stube also thinks that Stora Enso's shoulders are broad enough to boost the whole world's sustainability agenda, too. Helping other businesses – even those in other sectors – to embrace better working practices that will be less harmful to the planet, she says, is something the company is keen to do. 

"I think we are living up to our responsibility, which in turn brings us business opportunities because this is the direction the world is taking," says Stube, pointing to the activities of customers, investors and also regulators, led by the EU Green Deal, as proof of this. 

"Of course," she adds, "there are trade-offs and bumps on the road. We have to collaborate across businesses and other organisations so that we can have the largest positive impact, but Stora Enso is certainly ready to step up to the challenge." 

A safe pair of hands

With Annette Stube at the helm of the company's sustainability agenda, the business is in safe hands. Prior to Maersk, she worked across various sustainability roles for pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. 

Adding a further layer of gold-plating to her CV, she sits on the board of directors of Finnish energy company Fortum and is both an adjunct Professor at Copenhagen Business School and a Social Impact Fellow at Haas School of Business, Berkeley. 

"My personal goal is to give all the good work that is being done at Stora Enso a clear ambition and direction," she says, "so that we can really 'make a dent' in the world – and support our customers to do the same." 

Annette Stube

Annette Stube

"We are living up to our responsibility, which in turn brings us business opportunities because this is the direction the world is taking.” 

  • Annette has been working in sustainability for more than 20 years, most recently (before Stora Enso) for Maersk
  • She is an adjunct Professor at Copenhagen Business School and a Social Impact Fellow at Haas School of Business, Berkeley
  • She is married, and has a son in his late teens. The family lives in Copenhagen.

Towards a circular bioeconomy

  • Stora Enso reduce CO2 from the company's own emissions (26% since 2010) and ask all suppliers to do the same
  • The group's forests capture 1.5 million tonnes of CO2. Products made by Stora Enso, meanwhile, store 2.6 million tonnes of CO2e (Carbon Dioxide equivalent) until the end of their life
  • Products made by the business that substitute fossil-based products save 17.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Part of the bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper. We employ some 23 000 people and have sales in more than 50 countries and our shares are listed on the Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Stockholm (STE A, STE R) stock exchanges.

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