Within the past 14 months the paperboard manufacturer has reported it earmarked €361m to transform the energy systems at its mills in Iggesund, Sweden and Workington, England.
Long term plan
“We’re increasing efficiency and ensuring our long-term energy supply,” explained Guy Mallinson, director of sales to the graphic and packaging sector in Europe.
“In this context it’s natural for us to move to bioenergy because there’s a risk that fossil fuels will become scarcer and more expensive in the future, not least due to political targets for lower fossil carbon emissions.”
Iggesund produces packaging for the perfume and cosmetics industry, for brands such as Beiersdorf’s Nivea products.
However, once the investments are complete and its carbon emissions are lowered, early indications are that this biofuel focus has not overtly affected customers’ commercial preferences.
“We’re not seeing that customers are choosing materials based on our environmental work or our low carbon emissions,” Mallinson said.
One for the future
“However, major brand owners are insisting on getting information about our carbon footprint, even though they’re not yet communicating that information any further. But their interest does indicate that a good environmental record could become a stronger selection criterion in the future.”
Mallinson explained that in the UK carbon footprint is the sole focus, whereas in the US the focus is on how much recycled content companies can mix into their products. He added that in Asia, people are keen that the origins of raw materials are both documented and environmentally sound
“But of course, we can’t let the current debate in any particular part of the world govern our environmental efforts. We must take a comprehensive, broad-based environmental approach, regardless of what happens to be high profile news in the media yesterday, today or tomorrow,” said Mallinson.