"Metsä is one with the cardboard makers that invested the most in the sustainability of their practices and equipment; and today we are a great show-case of sustainability in the industry," explains Christophe Baudry, Commercial Director & Beautycare Healthcare.

Certified resources

Sustainability is a concern that starts in the forests, where the raw material is produced. Fresh wood fibres used by Metsä Board come from sustainably managed forests. The raw material generally comes from Nordic forests (Finland or Sweden), more than 95% of them being certified.

In a country such as Finland, scarcely populated but with abundant forest resources, fresh fibres are a natural starting point, as there are hardly any recycled fibres locally available. All the wood can be traced back to the forest source and all Metsä Board mills hold chain of custody certification from forest to product, and support the use of certified wood.

"Regarding certification, expectations from our customers have evolved dramatically," says Christophe Baudry. "Initially, there were many questions about the use of logos and whether the PEFC logo was preferable to the FSC logo, or not. Today, customers still require a certification but and are mostly sensitive to the origin of the wood. They are more pragmatic about the quality of the whole supply chain."

Lightweight cardboards

Another advantage of fresh fibres is that they are pure and safe, and are required for obtaining the highest quality needed by customers in the luxury industry. Furthermore, they are essential to making light but stiff boards.

For about 20 years, actually, Metsä Board has strived to produce lightweight cartonboard, with consistent quality.

A strong tradition in R&D, advances in BCTMP [1] pulps and factories at the cutting edge of technology allow to obtain a larger number of cartons per tonne produced and a reduction of overall costs for the customer without compromising on quality. In spite of their light weight, cartons have a constant stiffness and quality enabling their reliable use in all production processes. “These cartons help save time, money and worries,” explains Metsä Board.

Metsä Board lightweight cartons thus decrease energy and raw materials consumption, reduce the impact of transport and generate less waste. While fully ensuring the protection of the product and guaranteeing its integrity throughout the supply chain. And a well-protected product equals to another waste reduction.

Reduction of fossil emissions

Metsä Board also strives at improving the energy efficacy of its production. The opening of a new biopower plant at its Kyro mill site, in Finland, has enabled the carton board maker to halve the carbon footprint of its high quality folding boxboards Carta Elega and Avanta Prima - especially recommended for beautycare and healthcare packaging - and of the Cresta wallpaper base product family, which is produced at the same location. The investments amounts to EUR 50 million in partnership with two Finnish energy suppliers.

The new biopower plant allowed to replace fossil natural gas with CO2-neutral, discarded wood. This is predominantly bark and other biomass from industrial side streams, as well as logging residual and chips from first thinnings of growing forests. The biopower plant produces electricity and heat for the Metsä Board Kyro mill, and also provides heating for the neighbouring district of Hämeenkyrö.

"We even use the stumps, which were previously left in the ground but do not add up to the soil quality," details Christophe Baudry.