The Botnia brand involves a promise from Metsä Fibre to the customer, guaranteeing high quality products, technical expertise, smooth logistics, responsibility and value for money. This promise now also covers BOTNIA Nordic CTO (Crude Tall Oil) and Botnia Nordic CST (Crude Sulfate Turpentine), which were included alongside the pulp products already traded by Metsä Fibre Sales and Marketing as of the start of2014. The Nordic origin and green values of these biochemical products will now be stressed in the same way as with Botnia pulps.
"Customers must be able to rely on us to deliver on our promises as we continually seek to improve our practices. This means that we must understand the customer's requirements and respond to them by optimizing our processes, whether these concern vehicle loading procedures, crude tall oil quality assurance, or changes in the market," explains Sales Manager Emilia Moisio, whose duties expanded at the start of the year to include responsibility for biochemical sales.
Moisio speaks with an enthusiasm that inspires confidence in the sales expertise of Metsä Fibre throughout: "The key to our success lies in continual renewal and in close and transparent cooperation with the customer. We seek a common appreciation of our business operation coupled with the desire to improve the properties of our products and develop services that support the operations of our customers." The strategic sales process for Metsä Fibre biochemicals similarly emerges between the company and its key customers.
The potential is there
Moisio finds that good answers are available to nearly all current issues and challenges. There is a great deal of potential in biochemicals when all contributing key factors - from the renewability of raw materials to the realization of synergies - can be properly brought to bear in support of customer accounts:
"Crude tall oil is a resource-efficient product in the northern hemisphere, a modern pulp mill is an environmentally friendly production plant, and Metsä Fibre is one of the largest manufacturers of tall oil," Moisio explains.
The sales argument is also compelling:
"Our customers refine semi finished products for manufacturing. Even though alternatives are available, they cannot be made with such a small environmental footprint and from bio-based raw materials."
Moisio also hastens to point out that pulp mills generate more energy than they use. Reckoned in terms of turnover, the output of a Metsä Fibre mill is 90 per cent pulp, about 4 per cent biochemicals and 6 per cent energy (see diagram).
"Everything affects everything else"
There are many variables in marketing biochemicals, and the sector is constantly changing in much the same way as the pulp and paper market. Product requirements and associated financial constraints are now combining with factors such as environmental standards and the partly unpredictable impact of decisions taken nationally and within the European Union.
"These are major relations of cause and effect arising at the interface between industry, finance and public policy. An entire business operation can turn on just one definition," Moisio explains.
"Although the question of whether something is ultimately a 'product' or a 'residue' is partly a matter of public policy, it has a fundamental impact on the market and on pricing."
Although Moisio has many reasons for taking a keen interest in biochemical sales, she is primarily driven by a desire to appreciate operations on a grand scale.
"My job is expanding into areas that are new to me. There is more legislation involved in the overall package, with as yet undefined sustain-ability criteria, and fascinating twists and turns in the market for oil and energy."
Moisio is nevertheless convinced that the future is bright for the biochemicals industry.
"Our strength is a diversified selection of Botnia products enabling us to deliver the pulps and services that are best suited to customer requirements, with biochemicals now also added to the range," says Sales Manager Emilia Moisio.