Key Customer Event showcases sustainable forest management

​Running through May 23-25, Metsä Fibre organised a Key Customer Event in and around Äänekoski, the site of its new bioproduct mill, inviting international clients to Central Finland.

6/18 TEXT: TIMO NYKÄNEN, IMAGES: PASI SALMINEN

​Greeted with unseasonably warm and sunny spring weather, the customers enjoyed a programme based on Metsä Fibre’s Metsä Day concept, where the aim is to offer insight into the company’s unique and sustainable forestry and pulp manufacturing practices.

The activities kicked off with a tour of a logging area, providing a view into the origins of Botnia pulps, after which the guests were treated to lunch and topical keynote speeches. Brian McClay, Principal at Brian McClay & Associates Inc., a market intelligence consultancy focused on pulp and related end-uses, presented a review into global trends in market pulp. Following McClay, Metsä Fibre’s Timo Merikallio, Project Director of the bioproduct mill, explained what it requires to carry out such a massive project exactly on time and budget.

Enjoying a lunch of locally fished blazed salmon by the beautiful Kapeenkoski Rapids, part of the waterways surrounding the bioproduct mill – and as such a testament to its sustainable water management – Janne Lehtimäki, Process and Quality Manager at paper producer Sappi Europe, was looking forward especially to the tour of the mill.

“The huge scale of the bioproduct mill will be interesting to see for myself. I am also interested in hearing about the sidestreams of pulp production, and current and upcoming bioproducts. All in all, it’s always good to witness the whole production chain on the spot, including the logging area, as it makes it easier to communicate these aspects also to our own clients,” Lehtimäki said.


State-of-the-art production

On the tour of the bioproduct mill, visitors were guided around all the main departments of the production site.

“Personally, I really enjoyed seeing the new mill and its impressive production line. Having worked in this industry for a long time, I’m used to visiting old factories, but a brand-new mill with all the latest technology is something you don’t see too often,” commented Bernhard Beck, VP Procurement at Ahlstrom-Munksjö, a provider of fibre-based solutions.

Francesco Bianucci, Group Purchasing Executive at tissue producer Industrie Cartarie Tronchetti (ICT) agreed that the bioproduct mill site convinced him that Metsä Fibre had reached the targets they set out to achieve when originally launching the project, publicised especially with regards to its environmental performance.

“What impressed me was how the company has managed to build a new mill utilising the existing site of the previous one. Compared to a completely new greenfield project, this is not an easy task. Also, the mill’s modern production methods and technology, including the warehouse, and the whole size of its capacity are, of course, impressive,” Bianucci said, adding that sustainability is a very important aspect at ICT, where the focus is especially on the level of certification.

Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s Beck adds that sustainability is strongly featured on the company’s agenda, as it positions itself as one of the world’s leading players in sustainable and innovative fibre solutions:

“Naturally, it makes it easier for us when we know that the entire supply chain of our fibre provider is responsibly managed. Also, the fact that around 90% of all wood used by Metsä Fibre is certified certainly offers a competitive edge.”

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