Metsä Board Magazine – Winter 2023



Read more about the utilization of side streams

Partnerships promote the circular economy Metsä Group’s target is to utilise 100 per cent of the company’s production side streams and waste by 2030. The circular economy is needed to tackle the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.

Tarja Rannisto, photos: Woodio and Soilfood

D id you know that many of the everyday prod- ucts you use are made with the aid of industri- al side streams? Valio, a Finnish dairy company, utilises the heat re- ceived from Metsä Group’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill next to it to make cheese. The side streams also enable us to have better bread for the breakfast table, as the fi- bres processed from fibre clay improve the nutrients in the soil. The wash basin in your bathroom could be made of side stream wood chips. It’s about the circular economy. At its heart is the ex- pansion of cooperation and responsibility beyond the boundaries of our own mills to the entire value chain. The aim is to create wellbeing within the planet’s bounda- ries. The core of the circular economy includes the smart utilisation of side streams. The circular production and consumption model is guided by three simple principles: minimising waste and emissions; keeping the extracted natural resources available for society for as long as possible; and regen- erating nature. Maija Pohjakallio , Vice President, Climate and Circu- lar Economy at Metsä Group, explains that the circular economy is about systemic change. “It optimises material, energy, information and value streams as a whole to produce positive impacts on na- ture and society. The cornerstone is to expand coopera- tion and responsibility beyond the boundaries of Metsä’s

own mills to the entire value chain. Partnerships play a major role,” she says. According to Pohjakallio, cooperation models seeking systemic solutions are a recent development since the 2010s. However, Metsä Group was paying attention to its own operation’s resource efficiency long before part- nership and cooperation became key models for the uti- lisation of side streams. Among others, activities supporting cooperation and partnership are now carried out by Metsä Group’s inno- vation company, Metsä Spring. Metsä Spring invests in start-up companies like Woodio, which utilises Metsä Group’s side streams. “We have been chosen as Finland’s most start-up- friendly company twice in a row,” says Pohjakallio. Reinforcing industrial symbioses and investing in cleaner process technology are also circular economy actions. “I consider Metsä Group one of the forerunners in both engineering expertise and partnership building. Both are needed for industrial design to develop in line with the circular economy.”

Side streams can strengthen the handprint effect

Metsä Group has set an extensive sustainability target for 2030: zero tonnes from process waste to landfill. In accordance with the target, all waste and side streams

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