The Future is Made of Wood

Metsä Group

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 15. Life on Land

Overview

Metsä Group is a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy utilizing renewable wood from sustainably managed forests. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and is owned by about 103,000 Finnish forest owners themselves.

Metsä Group focuses on wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, paperboards, tissue and greaseproof papers. In 2018, Metsä Group’s sales totaled EUR 5.7 billion, and it employs approximately 9,300 people. The Group has 36 production facilities in eight European countries.

Metsä Group works for a better climate and environment through fossil free mills, a resource efficient production and a sustainable supply chain. Metsä also works for a responsible corporate culture and an accident-free work environment.

Author

Ase Fagerlund

Ase Fagerlund

School

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Professor

David Cooperrider

David Cooperrider

Innovation

Most of the wood Metsä Group uses comes from their own Finnish owner-members’ forests. Forests, that grow more than they are used, which guarantees a long-term raw material availability and least possible harm to biodiversity.

One innovation is Metsä Groups’s lightweight paperboards that help to reduce CO2 emissions. Their lightweight paperboard is now about the lightest on the market.

In 2018 Metsä introduced an innovative eco-barrier paperboard that is non-plastic, recyclable and compostable. The coating contains only bio-based ingredients and natural minerals, and the paperboard is recyclable, compostable and biodegradable. It is also safe to use in direct contact with food. In addition, it has remarkable benefits in terms of production efficiency.

New bioproducts and innovations to utilize all the wood and side streams to valuable products are investigated. In 2018 Metsä Group established an innovation company called Metsä Spring. Their first investment, jointly with the Japanese Itochu Corporation, is a demonstration plant to produce new kinds of wood-based textile fibers. The aim is showcasing a new technology developed in several research projects for converting softwood pulp into environmentally friendly textile fibers, used in clothing, for example. The plant will start up in late 2019.

The Future is Made of Wood

Inspiration

The motivation and purpose for the innovations in Metsä Group are to produce profit for their owners. But at the same time it is important for the owners to sustainably manage their own forests. Consumers demand on environmentally friendly products, e.g. in packaging, has also increased, inspiring Metsä Group to develop more environmentally sustainable products.

Overall impact

In Metsä Group about 103,000 Finnish forest owners take responsibility to guarantee sustainably managed forests in the country. When they let their forests grow more than they are used, they cause less harm to biodiversity. Metsä also uses every part of the tree as effectively as possible and barely nothing goes to waste.

Metsä Groups’s lightweight paperboards consume less water, energy and raw materials, reduce transport weight and produce less waste.

Metsä Groups’s eco-barrier paperboard forms an ecological alternative to take-away food and food packaging. They can replace plastic packages on a large scale.

Metsä Spring is starting up in late 2019. After a two to three year demonstration phase, the building of a significantly larger textile plant in Finland to provide ecological alternatives to cotton and oil-based materials will be technically and economically evaluated.

Business benefit

Metsä Group is in a phase of strong, profitable growth. The business is based on renewable raw materials and recyclable products with wood from northern, sustainably managed forests.

Social and environmental benefit

Metsä Group improves the growth of forests, expands industrial operations sustainably and contributes to a shift from fossil products to renewables. Metsä’s goal is to be totally fossil-free by 2030. The way Metsä sees it, wood is the solution to many challenges of the future.

Interviews

Ari Kiviranta, Senior Vice President, Development

Anne Uusitalo, Product Safety and Sustainability Director

Photo of interviewee

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Metsä Group

Metsä Group

Espoo, FI

Business Website: www.metsagroup.com

Year Founded: 1947

Number of Employees: 5001 to 10000

Metsä Group is a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy utilizing renewable wood from sustainably managed forests. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and is owned by about 103,000 Finnish forest owners themselves.

Metsä Group focuses on wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, paperboards, tissue and greaseproof papers. In 2018, Metsä Group’s sales totaled EUR 5.7 billion, and it employs approximately 9,300 people. The Group has 36 production facilities in eight European countries.

Metsä Group works for a better climate and environment through fossil free mills, a resource efficient production and a sustainable supply chain. Metsä also works for a responsible corporate culture and an accident-free work environment.