Hervé Vue, Sales Director of Stora Enso Renewable Packaging in France

A 2012 year started "briskly" for the world leader in the production of paperboard (in volume) who has the particularity (and the asset according to its leaders) of having the widest board offer on the marketplace, from the virgin fibre-based grades to those made of recycled fibres. "It is clear, explains Hervé Vue, Sales Director of Stora Enso Renewable Packaging in France, that cardboard, and consequently the packaging industry, are more than ever a strategic product for the Group. We are obviously aware of the impact of new information technologies on our business and of its inevitable consequences on the global production of printing and writing paper." Hence, the constant investment in the packaging segment. "Hence also, emphasises Vue, the important research work undertaken by our engineers for this material to be used where it is least expected and in replacement, in some areas, of other materials such as plastic or metal."

Forest ..., the cornerstone of our business!

In terms of investments, two announcements were made recently that mark the desire of the Finnish group to be present globally to serve an increasingly demanding customer market. China, for example, where Stora Enso has confirmed the construction of a mill with a capacity of 450,000 tons per year of board and 900,000 tons of pulp. A joint operation conducted with The Guangxi Forestry Group. Total investment, 1.6 billion euros. Main objective, produce liquid packaging boards and other premium packaging for the consumer products market. With a start-up scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2014.

"What is important, insists Vue, is the industrial approach of our Group with this kind of investments and the philosophy that accompanies it. The forest is the cornerstone of our business. We start first by establishing the conditions enabling for the proper exploitation of this forest before we start building a mill. We start by making sure that the required raw material is available, even if it means sometimes investing ten years before in the plantation of Eucalyptus trees, like in Uruguay. In Vietnam, we even took the opportunity to participate in an extensive mine-clearing program of the forests."

Another important credo at the centre of the four key objectives of the group, the "renewable "notion. "We have the incredible opportunity of being able to work in an area where this concept is permanent," people at Stora tell us. "It is our raison d’être, from the exploitation of forests to the end of life of our products. It was therefore something that could be asserted without any room for doubt and put forward too! ".

For Jouko Karvinen, CEO of Stora Enso, the message is clear: "The construction of this new mill in China is part of the same process. Namely, an integrated mill at the top level fitting into this concept of ‘renewable raw material’ for the benefit of Chinese consumers within one the most dynamic consumer market in the world."

Jouko Karvinen, CEO of Stora Enso

Cardboard, where you would not expect it!

Another area of development for managers at Stora, tomorrow’s paper and board, or how to use this material for applications that seemed until yesterday unthinkable. "We are very close to reaching concrete results," says Vue. "We already offer composite wood based materials that largely outperform some plastics and who will also outperform some metals in the future. As a proof of this, some conclusive tests already carried out to manufacture surfboards that make other plastics look like a bygone material.

A series of revolutions that is sure to impact also the premium packaging industry. "For now, explains Vue, the marketing of our new Ensocoat range launched in January 2010 has exceeded by far all our expectations. The Imatra mill, and its #2 machine with a capacity of 220,000 tons/year, that we have highly specialized for this Premium niche, is steadily increasing its performances. The result of a substantive work in both the quality of the product and service, but also on communication. This is probably the first time in the group’s history that there was such willingness to bring together all these conditions. And the results are there to prove it!"