As a society, we need to end our dependence on fossil-based materials and move to products based on renewable materials. Stora Enso creates value in the circular bioeconomy with its products based on renewable materials, supporting customers in meeting the demand for renewable eco-friendly products.
Humanity has done really well in terms of improving social aspects, such as lifting people out of poverty and educating more people, but it has come at the expense of the environment. This imbalance cannot continue, and the world needs to find a way to balance global wellbeing for a future population of 10 billion without over-utilizing natural resources.
In order to achieve a balance between staying within the planetary boundaries and securing economic and social progress, we need a transformation. When we listen to our customers describe their sustainability commitments and pledges, it is clear that their direction is also informed by a more conscious approach to contributing to both the environment and people, and that the right materials are used in the right way, e.g. fine to use plastics when there are no better alternatives, but let’s not use plastic where we can use renewable materials. Stora Enso can and will contribute to this transformation by offering regenerative solutions.
Building on our strong sustainability foundation, we are taking new steps in our sustainability work. Over the past few months, we have driven a ‘Sustainability Sprint’, involving many people across the company, in which the goals and ambitions of Stora Enso’s sustainability work has been aligned with the needs of our planet and society: by 2050, we will provide solutions that are 100% regenerative. This means solutions that are 100% circular, net biodiversity positive and net CO2 positive.
Take biodiversity, for example. Today, we talk about biodiversity as much as we talked about climate change five years ago, and rightly so. Society understands that something needs to be done about it. We as a company can play a key role globally, and even beyond our own business by being an advocate for biodiversity. But our forests remain our foundation and our starting point. We naturally have a very high interest in ensuring that our forests as well as the wood we source are managed in a sustainable way.
Our purpose “Do good for people and the planet. Replace non-renewable materials with renewable products” is no longer just about doing less harm; it is about being net positive and helping to restore negative impacts through our operations, our innovation and our products. From a business case perspective, we believe that, by aiming to deliver what is truly sustainable – regenerative – rather than adapting to changes reactively, we stand a much better chance of expanding our competitive edge and mitigating the risks and trade-offs we face.
Needless to say, solving global challenges is not something that happens in isolation. We must collaborate across businesses and with other organisations so that we can have the biggest positive impact. We must understand the broader systems we are part of and make them work for, not against, a sustainable future. For Stora Enso, this is the materials system, so this is where we will engage. We believe that helping to shape a regenerative materials system will be key to solving the double challenge of staying within the planetary boundaries and at the same time create economy output, jobs and livelihood for, soon, 10 billion people.
Executive Vice President, Sustainability