Towards a circular economy

Our work at Stora Enso is underlined by a commitment to recover, recycle and reuse resources as well as minimize waste as much as possible. A circular approach in design, processes and products, and based on renewable biological resources, is a good formula for keeping the planet healthier. 

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Replacing non-renewable materials with better alternatives

Global consumption is rapidly growing but at the same time, consumer awareness of eco-friendly materials and limited natural resources is rising and regulation on circularity and sustainability is increasing.

In a circular economy, waste is minimised as materials are reused and recycled to maximise environmental and financial value. We believe that a circular economy is only truly possible when raw materials are also circular – materials that can be renewed over and over again. This requires a transition towards a circular bioeconomy where fossil-based materials are replaced with renewable ones such as wood.

Stora Enso’s circular economy target outlines the commitment to transparent and circular material flows that help minimise waste and combat climate change. The interim targets for this include achieving 100% recyclable products by 2030. Flagship projects focused on infrastructure will help drive recycling at scale. This involves engagement along our value chain and new circular business models. 

Circular bioeconomy helps combat climate change

Illustration Illustration

A circular bioeconomy encompasses all parts of the value chain. Replacing fossil-based materials from the start and furthermore supporting recycling are key building blocks. With our renewable raw materials at the foundation, Stora Enso is taking further steps to increase the amount of recycled fibers in our supply, as well as investing in recycling capacity of our products. We have additionally, together with customers and industry, developed circularity guidelines for product portfolio development and innovation projects and sustainability services to help our customers replace plastics with fiber-based packaging in line with sustainability ambitions. 

We also firmly promote reduction of waste as much as possible, using valuable raw materials to the fullest extent. Wood fibers can be recycled at least 5-7 times, sometimes over 20 times. Once fibers become too degraded to recycle, they can then be used to make bioenergy. In addition, residual fly ash from bioenergy production can be used for purposes such as land construction or even turned into new products. Recycling also requires a steady flow of fresh raw materials for improved durability and functionality. It matters where the raw material comes from – can it be regrown or will it run out? Wood fibers that originate from sustainably managed forests (like 100% of Stora Enso's wood) are renewed through new forest growth. 


3 reasons why raw materials matter

Sustainability Circularity

1. Wood is renewable.

This means that when forests are managed sustainably, more trees are grown than harvested. Sustainable forestry safeguards forest health, biodiversity, and productivity - we need healthy forests to do business.
Sustainability Circularity

2. Healthy forests combat global warming.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and carbon is stored in their fibers - the carbon will stay in the fibers when they are made into products and even through recycling.
Sustainability Circularity

3. Non-renewable raw materials cannot be replenished 

Within our lifetime - if ever. Many of these raw materials are also fossil-based and do not re-absorb the greenhouse gases that are emitted in their production or consumption.

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