Holmen is one of Sweden’s largest forest owners and produces paperboard, paper, wood products, and renewable energy from water and wind. President and CEO Henrik Sjölund explains why managing forests responsibly is vital in the fight against climate change.
Holmen’s story starts in Sweden’s forests – taking care of the forest is the foundation of everything the company does. For every tree it harvests, it plants at least two new ones. These trees bind carbon dioxide as they grow, so they’re invaluable to the environment. Swedish forests bind almost as much carbon as the total emissions of Sweden. The carbon captured by these trees over the years is locked into the wood products used to build houses, for example, proving that sustainable forestry is key to successfully managing climate change.
Not only is Henrik Sjölund the President and CEO of Holmen, he’s also the Chairman of the Swedish Forest Industries Federation after being elected in April this year. The federation’s members were responsible for 10% of Sweden’s net export value of wood in 2019. Henrik has his work cut out with many challenges currently facing the industry, but there are also opportunities. “Consumer demand is shrinking and we are presently experiencing a general decline in economic growth affecting the whole business community,” he says.
The raw materials used for making paper and paperboard are the parts that are not used when making other products; treetops or small trees from thinning, which are debarked, washed, and ground into wood chips and fresh fibres. The long spruce fibre is ideal for paper production as it is the very reason paper can be recycled but also manufactured with a light weight. This makes it possible to significantly cut emissions, distribution, and consumption. Two of Holmen’s paper mills, Hallsta and Braviken in Sweden, make paper for magazines, newspapers, books, and other printed products. The third Swedish mill in Iggesund produces a strong and durable paperboard used by many of the worlds premium brands for their boxing. The company is always striving to better its work in all that it does, from production and transport to cooperation with its partners. Holmen wants to be more sustainable and efficient, and develop new products that create advantages for its customers around the world.