On a journey of sustainability

Common sustainability goals bring industry operators together for a memorable event.


​On a sunny Thursday morning in Jyväskylä, Central Finland, a team of Chinese customers wearing bright yellow vests were seen standing in the snow discussing the day’s key topic - sustainable forest management. With thick forests and vast lands covered in silver in the background, the enthusiastic guests’ attention was drawn by the densely growing trees.

Metsä Fibre invited representatives from the Chinese paper industry to Finland and offered them a special trip to participate in a Key Customer Event in Äänekoski. In the early morning, the delegation headed for Metsä Fibre’s nearby logging area in Jyväskylä. Guided by experts, the delegation was divided into three teams when stepping into the coniferous forest area to have a closer look at sustainable forest management.

“How is the logging site differentiated from the reserve zone?” “What is the best time to cut different species?” “Will there be any insect pests if only one species is grown in one area?” Numerous questions were raised by the curious customers, who were inspired by the carefully protected forest ecosystem. Thanks to scientific plans and carefully implemented measures over the past years, forest areas, such as the one displayed on the site visit, now grow more wood than ever, with the demand for logging also increasing significantly.



With an experience of pulp production for more than 100 years, Metsä Fibre has an annual production capacity of 3.3 million tonnes of ECF bleached pulp. It is the world's largest producer of softwood market pulp. Metsä Fibre hopes that events like the Key Customer Event will provide clients an opportunity for on-site visits to gain first-hand experience of the entire process from forest to pulp, and allow the customers to have a deeper and more intuitive understanding of Metsä Fibre’s philosophy and technology.

Metsä Fibre’s raw materials are provided by a consortium of approximately 104,000 forest owners, and the forest services are handled by Metsä Group’s other subsidiaries. Most of the forest land in Finland is privately owned, and this unique system is the basis of Metsä Fibre’s sustainable forest management.

“There are many things that we can learn from the forest management at Metsä Fibre. First of all, there are carefully drafted plans in place for logging and afforestation. Secondly, the felling process is highly automated. These are conducive to the control of yield and quality," said Zhong Yaoxin, Chairman of the Chinese Zhaoqing Zhongsheng Paper Co. Ltd. Located in Zhaoqing City, Guangdong Province, Zhongsheng mainly produces specialty and offset products, and products for office use, such as copy paper and coated paper.  

"The whole world is talking about sustainable development, but there are differences among major companies in different regions regarding this concept. Companies in South America and Asia care more about factors like profits and earnings. But European companies such as Metsä Fibre pay more attention to the sustainable planning and biodiversity conservation, and its contribution to forests and responsibility. This is the trend of the future,” Zhong commented.


In Finland, forestry land covers 86% of the land area, which is arguably unique. Since nature is always close by, Finns have a close and respectful relationship with the forests. 

“On the way back, I heard two Metsä employees chatting. They were comparing how many saplings they could plant in one day when they were teenagers. I found it very moving how young boys were given such an opportunity to establish a relationship with the forest and nature,” said Wang Bo, COO of Vinda Group, whose main business is manufacturing personal hygiene care products. The company has been working with Metsä Fibre for over a decade.

After the on-site visit in the forest, Wang Bo said she was impressed by the accuracy of wood selection. For example, timber thinner than 15 cm in diameter is used to make chips and pulp, and larger ones can be made into wood boards.

“This is the way to harmonise the relation between the paper industry and the forest. There are similar species in Daxinganling in Northern China, and there are many things that we can learn from Finland,” Wang mentioned.

Wang argued that afforestation has been promoted as a precaution measure for breaking wind and fixing sands in China, whereas Metsä Fibre focuses on the balance between human and nature, which could also be introduced in the Chinese market.

“Mentioning that our products are made of Metsä Fibre's pulp will further the image of sustainable forest management. It will help to increase the brand value, and the sales of Metsä Fibre’s products as well," she added.

In addition to the sustainability, Wang Bo was impressed by the efficiency of Metsä Fibre’s management system. "100% traceability of wood raw material has been achieved under the sustainable forest management system, allowing us to know the source of fibre in wood chips. Although there are similar coniferous forests in China, we lag behind in terms of management and added value."

bioproduct mill


After visiting the forest area, the delegation headed for the bioproduct mill in Äänekoski. Zhong Yaoxin was especially interested in the mill’s level of energy self-sufficiency.

“I have visited many pulp mills around the world, but I have never seen how the energy is supplied without the use of fossil fuels,” Zhong said. He took note of the fact that the bioproduct mill generates 2.4 times the amount of energy that it consumes. “After consuming what is needed in its own production, the excess energy output can be delivered onwards, which is definitely an example of world-leading technology,” he added.

For Wang Bo, the visit offered new information on the technology for the bark gasification. “This is a new concept for me. Providing energy for the entire plant through biomass is extremely advanced within the industry.”

The start-up of the Äänekoski bioproduct mill took place in August 2017. As the largest ever investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry, it has a yearly production capacity of 1.3 million tonnes of pulp and other bioproducts. The bioproduct mill adopts the latest designs and technologies to secure outstanding performance in terms of process automation, energy efficiency and low emissions.

“It was exciting to see so many new technologies and innovative systems,” said Wang Bo, expressing a desire for further support from Metsä Fibre. “Firstly, we hope the company will maintain its high quality, and secondly, we are interested in establishing new cooperation efforts related to digitisation.”

The brief field trip offered surprises for the Chinese guests, and a promise of enhanced cooperation in the future.

“I became convinced of the stable quality of the products, and will certainly use Metsä Fibre’s pulp in the long run. This is the greatest offering for me after the trip,” said Zhong. For her part, Wang said the scientific approach and rationality of sustainable forest management offers better credibility for future cooperation with Metsä Fibre: “Everyone in the industry is talking about sustainable development, but Metsä Fibre is really good in practice.” 

Related articles

  • Pulp sheets

    1/2020/ Pulp

    Pulp lends itself to many things

    ​While we've known how to make pulp for over a hundred years now, its versatility keeps on surprising us. 

    Read More
  • Metsä Aspen fibre

    12/2019/ Pulp

    Accurate pulp refining analysis with Metsä Fibre's renewed FORE tool

    ​Proper pulp refining gives paper or paperboard desired properties and often saves costs as well. Metsä Fibre's Pulp Refining Audit service can be used to determine how you can refine pulp for the best result.

    Read More
  • Sun paper building

    12/2019/ Pulp

    China's cardboard market is changing

    ​Consumers’ demand for the quantity and quality of cardboard will rise as the economy develops. For the Metsä Fibre’s client, Sun Paper Group, this is good news.

    Read More
  • Sellu, pulp

    11/2019/ Pulp

    The future of the pulp market: these 4 changes are to be expected

    ​The consulting and engineering firm ÅF Pöyry estimates that demand for market pulp will grow by approximately 2.5 per cent a year over the next five years. 

    Read More
  • Forest and sky

    9/2019/ Pulp

    Plastic became a problem – is wood the solution?

    ​Plastic was once considered an irreplaceable material. Now plastic has become a problem to which we are frantically trying to find a solution. There is therefore plenty of demand for a biodegradable, bio-based and sustainably produced material.

    Read More
  • pulp fibre

    9/2019/ Metsä Fibre

    The pre-engineering of the Kemi bioproduct mill is progressing

    ​Metsä Fibre kicked off the pre-engineering project for the Kemi bioproduct mill in the spring of 2019. The project is now proceeding in terms of the environmental permit process, among other things.

    Read More
  • 9/2019/ Metsä Fibre

    Finnish forest management made an impression

    ​Metsä Fibre provides its customers with a service that lets them get to know a Finnish commercial forest up close. A Metsä Day visit is not only entertaining, but also educational, as it affords a glimpse into responsible forest management. 

    Read More
  • A sustainable circular economy needs efficient utilisation of side streams

    5/2019/ Metsä Fibre

    A sustainable circular economy needs efficient utilisation of side streams

    ​A comprehensive circular economy is incomplete without the bioeconomy. The bioeconomy can contribute in several ways to the circular economy, and this includes the utilisation of organic side and waste streams from forestry and the converting of these production side streams into value-adding products. Metsä Fibre has world-leading capabilities in this field.

    Read More
  • Our products sequester carbon throughout their life-cycles

    4/2019/ Sawn timber

    Our products sequester carbon throughout their life-cycles

    ​The high-quality and sustainable sawn timber we produce is used to a particularly high degree in end uses where the carbon remains sequestered in the wood for a period spanning decades or even a century.  Such end uses include various wood construction solutions and furniture.

    Read More
  • Finnish sawn timber is a sustainable choice

    4/2019/ Sawn timber

    Finnish sawn timber is a sustainable choice

    ​Thanks to sound forest management, Finland’s forests are growing by roughly 20 per cent more than they are being used. This is why Finnish sawn timber is a sustainable and resource-smart solution.

    Read More
  • We utilize the properties of northern wood

    4/2019/ Sawn timber

    We utilize the properties of northern wood

    ​Metsä Fibre possess solid and long-standing know-how in the conversion of northern softwood. We know our raw material and the opportunities it offers inside out. 

    Read More
  • Premium sawn timber from northern wood

    4/2019/ Sawn timber

    Premium sawn timber from northern wood

    ​Northern sawn softwood offers extremely advantageous strength qualities in relation to weight, due to which it is well-suited for use in load-bearing structures.  In terms of its appearance, northern wood is consistent, and it is easy to process and treat in the preferred manner. 

    Read More
  • Metsä Fibre’s bioproduct concept

    3/2019/ Pulp

    Metsä Fibre’s innovative bioproduct concept

    ​The cornerstone of Metsä Fibre’s operations is continuous improvement, and it is according to the principles of continuous improvement that we develop our products and operations. Renewable wood raw material and innovative solutions offer solutions for future global challenges, such as climate change, population growth and resource efficiency.

    Read More
  • Metsä Fibre acquires biogas plant in Äänekoski

    3/2019/ Metsä Fibre

    Metsä Fibre acquires biogas plant in Äänekoski

    ​The biogas plant located in the mill area of the Äänekoski bioproduct mill was transferred from EcoEnergy SF to Metsä Fibre’s ownership on 10 December 2018. It produces biogas and biopellets from wood-based sludge generated by the bioproduct mill.

    Read More
  • Polar King project proceeds as planned

    3/2019/ Metsä Fibre

    Polar King project proceeds as planned

    ​If all preconditions are met, a new bioproduct mill will start up in Kemi during the year 2022. So far, the results of the prefeasibility study look promising. This was the encouraging message of a public event organised on December 18 in Kemi, where Metsä Fibre gave an update on the progress of the project to an audience of around 200.

    Read More
  • Metsä Fibre awarded with supplier excellence award in China

    3/2019/ Metsä Fibre

    C&S presents Metsä Fibre with supplier excellence award in China

    ​Metsä Fibre has received a Supplier Excellence Award from C&S, one of China’s major tissue producers, for being the company’s Partner in Excellence.

    Read More
  • 3/2019/ Pulp

    Innovative products from cellulose fibre

    ​Established in 2011, Chemarts is a Finnish collaboration between two Aalto University schools, the School of Chemical Engineering (CHEM) and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture (ARTS). At its heart, Chemarts is the study of bio-based materials and its main aim is to inspire young students from design and technical schools to get interested in wood-based fibres and to explore biomaterials together. Chemarts was also conceived to consider how design can be a strategic tool when developing new cellulose-based products or new materials.

    Read More
  • Partnership between Asia Symbol and Metsä Fibre is deepening

    3/2019/ Pulp

    Combining forces for a sustainable edge

    ​As demand for high-quality paper products in China and Asia increases, the partnership between Metsä Fibre and Asia Symbol is set to deepen.

    Read More
  • Metsä Spring together with Itochu are shaping the new textile fibre future

    3/2019/ Pulp

    Shaping the new textile fibre future

    ​Metsä Group’s innovation company, Metsä Spring, and the Japanese Itochu Corporation, have established a joint venture to build and operate a unique test plant. The hope is that this pilot will kick-start a new revolution in future ecological textile fibre production.

    Read More
  • Fresh fibre is helping to tackle the recycling challenge in China

    3/2019/ Metsä Fibre

    Fresh fibre to tackle recycling challenge

    ​Since mid-2017, China’s government has moved to ban a wide range of imported waste, from scrap metals to scrap paper, upending a recycling industry that had thrived since the mid-80s, transforming the world’s rubbish into usable materials when raw materials have been cost-prohibitive.

    Read More
  • Metsä FIbre participates in the Shanghai Pulp Week 2019

    3/2019/ Pulp

    Metsä Fibre participates in the Shanghai Pulp Week 2019

    Come and visit us on 20 March at Shanghai Pulp Week Annual Meeting or on 21 March at Hawkins Wright Shanghai Symposium.

    Read More
  • Antti Kiljunen and Risto E.J. Penttilä discuss business success factors under various scenarios.

    3/2019/ Metsä Fibre

    Possible worlds

    ​In an uncertain world, it can be helpful to prepare for various emerging outcomes. We asked Antti Kiljunen from Metsä Fibre and Risto E.J. Penttilä from the Nordic West Office consultancy firm to discuss business success factors under various scenarios.

    Read More
  • Metsa Fibre and Ahlstrom-Munksjo have unique safety collaboration in auditing

    2/2019/ Metsä Fibre

    Metsa Fibre and Ahlstrom-Munksjo have unique safety collaboration in auditing

    This is a unique form of collaboration among the Pulp and Paper industry with the target of promoting the safety work within the industry.

    Read More
  • 2/2018/ Pulp

    Resource-efficient solutions from high-quality raw material

    ​“Our starting point is that new products are always based on our high-quality raw material or the side streams of our processes. This way, they provide excellent support for our other production and improve our resource efficiency,”

    Read More