Materials, water, and energy

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Positioned at the heart of the circular bioeconomy, Stora Enso strives to improve resource efficiency – to make more with less. This benefits our business, as well as the environment and society.



In 2021, the utilisation rate for residuals and by-products across the group was 98%, including both internal and external use.


The objective of our KPIs on total water withdrawal and process water discharges is to drive a downward trend from our 2016 baselines of 57 m3 and 27 m3 per saleable tonne, respectively. In 2021, our total water withdrawal was 60 m3 per saleable tonne and our process water discharges amounted to 31 m3 per saleable tonne.


Most of Stora Enso’s production processes are energy-intensive, and the Group’s energy efficiency target is to achieve at least 0.8% annual energy savings by 2030. The target is followed with a KPI describing the projected fraction of energy savings per total energy use of electricity and heat. In 2021, the projected annual energy savings were -0.6% equivalent to 211 GWh (-0.9% or 310 GWh in 2020). This is estimated to eliminate over 17,000 tonnes of annual direct fossil CO2 emissions. 

How we work

The environmental work at our mills, including water and energy management and resource efficiency, is supported by third-party-certified environmental management systems. All Stora Enso’s sawmills, corrugated packaging units, and board, pulp and paper mills are certified to the ISO 14001 environmental management system. By the end of 2021, 94% of the Group’s energy consumption was certified to the ISO 50001 energy management system standard (94% in 2020). 

Our production processes generate various residuals and wastes, including ash, black liquor, sawdust, bark, and wastewater treatment sludge. Many of these materials are used in our internal bioenergy generation and pulp production, or supplied to our partners for uses such as agriculture, and land or road construction.


While our mills require large amounts of water, only around 4% is consumed in our production processes and almost 96% is returned to the local environment. Process water is purified by our treatment plants and then discharged, whereas cooling and other non-process water can be safely released without treatment. Our water use is regulated by the relevant authorities based on local conditions and operational permits.


Our energy supply is managed under long-term contracts, direct market access through energy exchanges, efficient combined heat and power production, and shareholdings in power generation companies.

Stora Enso is committed to continuous improvements in energy efficiency and energy self-sufficiency. We always assess the opportunities to use biomass fuels and other low-carbon options when making energy investments. Our central energy efficiency investment fund is a cornerstone of our work.

Our policies

Opportunities and challenges

Among the global megatrends impacting societies, markets, and businesses, climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. This means that consumers, legislators, companies, and financial institutes have an increasing focus on raw materials, CO2 emissions, circularity, and waste reduction. Moreover, governments around the world are increasingly regulating the use of fossil-based materials, such as plastics.   

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