Due to the relentless efforts of StoraEnso management, its name also conjures up images of pristine environments and a reputation for its exhaustive efforts to save large expanses of global forestry reserves which may otherwise have been destined for the loggerís saw. StoraEnsoís presence in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is well deserved. It reflects continual improvements in the Nordic paper giantís environmental performance and recognises its continued efforts to balance the various aspects of sustainability. This is no mean feat in a world where paper and board consumption grows with the planetís burgeoning population. According to StoraEnso Environment Committee DCEO and chairman, Bjˆrn H‰gglund, last year was a watershed year for the companyís efforts to cement ISO 14000 certification.
ìSumming up our progress during 2002, I am pleased to note that in many areas we have continued to improve our environmental work. One factor behind these improvements is the way we have continued to develop our asset structure. Significant recent investments are now bearing fruit,î says H‰gglund.
ìWe are continuing to implement our strategy for environmental improvement, in order to boost our environmental performance through projects which are also economically viable, thanks to the increases in productivity and product quality they bring about.
H‰gglund believes that economic growth is a basic precursor for environmental improvement, since, without economic sustainability, attempts to achieve social and environmental improvements will ultimately fail.
ìAlthough technical issues form the basis for improvements, the decisive factor in our environmental achievements is how we make the most of our personnelís commitment to the environment. Our unrivalled implementation of environmental management systems has been crucial in this respect,î says H‰gglund.
ìI am proud to report that during the past year we reached 95 per cent coverage for third-party-verified environmental management systems in our pulp, paper and board production capacity, up from 87 per cent in 2001. I am also pleased to note great improvements in resource utilisation, reflected in a dramatic 25 per cent reduction in the landfilling of solid waste, achieved through locally focused efforts driven by environmental management systems.î
This push culminated in January with the confirmation that the Groupís entire pulp, paper and board production has become covered by third-party-verified environmental management systems after the companyís American mills were completely pulled in line with certification requirements.
On top of StoraEnsoís reduction in solid waste, the company is also reporting an overall reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions by 11 per cent. Nitrogen and phosphorus discharges declined four per cent and eight per cent respectively while AOX discharges were also down by six per cent over the previous year.
The issue of climate change is another one close to the big heart of StoraEnso which acknowledges the importance, both locally and globally of the management of global forestry reserves. ìSeen in a wider perspective, forest industry operations comprise both sources of carbon dioxide emissions, and mechanisms for absorbing and storing carbon. Compared to products made from competing materials, our products often have clear benefits in terms of their climatic impact. This gives the forest products industry a distinct advantage as society attempts to combat climate change,î continues H‰gglund.
ìEven while we await political decisions on national and international regulation systems, we must independently continue to improve our energy-efficiency, and replace fossil fuels with bio-fuels. The share of bio-fuels in our own energy production has risen to 62 per cent, from 60 per cent in 2001, and emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels were reduced in spite of increased production. We are also closely following the development of new flexible mechanisms related to emission limits and emissions trading.î
Another important focus for StoraEnso is to guarantee that supplies of raw materials and additives originate from acceptable sources. Its fibre strategy, which it sees as a key instrument in the context where wood, purchased pulp and recovered paper are concerned, covers all the relevant aspects of quality, cost and sustainability, according to H‰gglund.
StoraEnsoís deep commitment to environmental responsibility has not gone unnoticed. Recently, the European Union commended StoraEnso for systematically implementing Eco-Management and Audit Schemes (EMAS). By the end of the year, 42 mills and two wood procurement units were EMAS-registered, and altogether 95 per cent of the Groupís pulp, paper and board production capacity was covered by EMAS and/or ISO 14001 environmental management systems. This represents an increase from 87 per cent in 2001.
Important progress in this work has been achieved through the harmonisation of wood procurement principles across the Nordic Countries, Russia, the Baltic Countries and Central Europe. These principles stress the importance of documenting the origin of fibre, and also provide detailed guidelines for everyday operations. StoraEnsoís traceability system has already been integrated into third-party-verified management systems in Sweden, Finland and Russia.
The Group is already one of the largest consumers of recovered fibre in Europe and when a new newsprint machine at Langerbrugge in Belgium is taken into operation during the northern spring of 2003, that position will be further strengthened. Another important aspect of StoraEnsoís environmental work is transparency and accountability. The many environmental reports published each year by individual mills, divisions and units complement the reporting done at Group level.
In 2002, StoraEnso spent a total of EUR 250 million on environmental investments and costs, compared to EUR235 million in 2001. Total environmental investments amounted to EUR66 million, while environmental costs totalled approximately EUR184 million. In spite of increases in the production of pulp, paper and board, most emissions totals were down at Group level. The most notable improvement was an absolute reduction of 25 per cent in the landfilling of solid waste StoraEnso is committed to developing its business towards ecological, social and economic sustainability. These tasks are recognised as shared responsibilities within StoraEnso enabling a continuous improvement of its operations.
The Groupís objective is to supply customers with products and services that satisfy various needs related to printed communication, packaging and construction purposes. These products are mainly produced from renewable raw materials, and are recyclable and safe to use.
The concept of product life cycle guides StoraEnsoís environmental activities and provides the framework for its efforts. The Group expects the same commitment from its suppliers and partners so that at every stage, from raw material to the end product, the impact on the environment will be minimised.
As an international company, StoraEnso acknowledges its role as a model company in global, national and local society. Its attitude is characterised by respect for the cultures, customs and values of individuals and groups in countries where the Group operates. When developing its business to earn credibility, StoraEnso makes a point of complying with and, when necessary, going beyond the requirements of national standards and legislation.
ìSustainable development is often said to be a journey rather than a destination,î continues H‰gglund. ìI also subscribe to this viewpoint. For the fourth year in a row StoraEnso has been listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and we are now proud to be ranked as the leading forest products industry company on this index. The Group is also again listed on the FTSE4Good Index, and I see such endorsements as clear proof that we are heading in the right direction.î