Combatting climate change with strategic investments

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Published 31 August 2021
Meeting consumer demand for eco-friendly and circular solutions, we offer low-carbon alternatives to products based on finite resources. Our strategy is to focus on packaging, building solutions and biomaterials innovations, and recent investments support these three key focus areas.

Plastic-free and circular packaging

The demand for sustainable packaging in e-commerce and food applications is increasing.

In line with this, Stora Enso has invested EUR 350 million to convert Oulu Mill in Finland from being a paper mill to making kraftliner, the production of which started at the beginning of this year. With the conversion, several enhancements were also made to the mill’s environmental performance.

We have also commenced a feasibility study on enhancing and expanding the pulp- and board-making capabilities at Skoghall Mill in Sweden. The investment would serve customers globally, and also significantly lower the fossil CO2 emissions of production. The feasibility study is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Production would start in the last quarter of 2023 at the earliest.

As part of packaging, we are developing barriers designed for circularity. The investment of EUR 10 million at the Forshaga site in Sweden enables the development and production of paperboard with barrier properties that is easier to handle in a recycling process, has a lower carbon footprint and is compostable in industrial facilities. The new equipment is expected to come into use during the second quarter of 2021.

In packaging-related operations, we are investing EUR 80 million in centralising and modernising the wood handling capacity at Imatra mills in Finland. The investment will improve the stability and efficiency of the process and lower the environmental impact as well. It is planned to be completed in the third quarter of 2022.

Together with our customer Tetra Pak, we have joined forces to build a new recycling line at Stora Enso’s Ostrołęka Mill in Poland, to significantly increase the recycling of used beverage cartons in Central and Eastern Europe. Stora Enso will invest EUR 17 million into a new repulping line that will recover the carton fibers. Tetra Pak, along with Plastigram, will invest a total of EUR 12.1 million to build an additional line. Both lines will be operational at the beginning of 2023.

Building solutions with sustainable wood

As a sustainable renewable material, CLT (cross laminated timber) shows significant growth potential in construction, so we are investing EUR 79 million in a new production line for CLT at Ždírec sawmill in the Czech Republic. The investment will further enhance our position as a global provider of high-quality engineered wooden elements and as a market leader in CLT. Construction of the line started in the first quarter of 2021.

Biomaterials innovations for the material evolution

Biomaterials innovations can substitute for fossil-based materials in many areas. Lignin can be used in new applications, such as energy storage, binders and carbon fiber. We are investing EUR 14 million at Sunila Mill in Finland to build a granulation and packing plant for lignin, allowing easier packing and handling of lignin compared to powder and wet form. The construction of the plant is estimated to begin by the end of the second quarter of 2021 and to be complete in the second quarter of 2022.

In Sunila, our pilot facility for producing Lignode® by Stora Enso, bio-based carbon materials from lignin, has started operations. This follows the EUR 10 million investment announced in 2019. Applications include electric vehicles and consumer electronics as well as large-scale energy storage systems.

Renewable and recyclable bio-based foams can replace oil-based polymer foams. We will build a pilot facility for producing Papira® by Stora Enso, a lightweight cellulose foam for protective packaging and cushioning at our Fors Mill in Sweden. It is estimated that the pilot plant will be ready in the fourth quarter of 2021.

We are also partnering with H&M, IKEA and innovator Lars Stigsson to industrialise TreeToTextile, a novel sustainable textile fiber. The demonstration plant will be constructed at our Nymölla Mill in Sweden.