Following the release of our first episode on sustainability in our podcast series on packaging, we spoke to another packaging company that values the importance of sustainability. Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable solutions in packaging, which aims to replace fossil-based materials with new products based on wood and bio-based materials. We spoke with Jari Latvanen, who heads the consumer board division at Stora Enso, about the company and the push to sustainability in the industry.
How are you asking your customers to rethink packaging?
As a leading global supplier in renewable materials, Stora Enso has many insights and discusses packaging demands and consumer trends with brand owners, retailers, designers and packaging manufacturers. We want to ensure that brands are aware of the possibilities they get when choosing renewable packaging instead of fossil-based packaging. Renewability is about using a resource that can be regrown or replenished naturally over time; it is a non-finite resource if managed properly. Our task is to open everyone’s eyes on what renewable packaging can do for the people and planet and the product it contains.
What is driving the push to sustainability in the industry?
Consumer demand and government legislation around the world are the leading drivers for sustainability. Many studies show that people increasingly demand to know more about where the package and the product come from, and how sustainable it is. Environmental awareness among a growing population of consumers is fuelling the demand for sustainability and the reduction of the environmental impact of packaging, which is enabled by the use of renewable materials.
Jari Latvanen is head of Stora Enso’s consumer board division.
Are brands tackling sustainability in the right way at the moment?
Many of the global brands are strongly committed to increase their use of renewable solutions. People increasingly understand the environmental impacts that products have across the full product lifecycle, but we need to continue to promote our story on how renewability matters, and show our exciting and feasible alternatives to non-renewable packaging materials. Educating consumers is required to help redefine expectations of packaging and highlight the importance of sustainability.
How do consumers influence the packaging sector?
Retailers and consumers are the ones that are the biggest influencers on packaging business and hence on us. At Stora Enso we therefore emphasise the need to understand consumer behaviour and mega trends and we use these insights to further develop our product and service offering.
What is the biggest challenge for a brand trying to convey their message to consumers?
The challenge for any brand is to stand out by evoking emotional relevance besides the functional benefit of the product to the consumer. There are several examples of brands that use their structural packaging to reinforce innovation and their emotional and functional benefits. Packaging is a good way to drive uniqueness and value perception.
How do you see the packaging sector developing in the future?
Sustainable wood-based business is needed more than ever before as major global trends affect the world’s demand for renewable materials. The urbanisation and growing consumption are driving the growth and globalisation of packaging business. Digitalisation and new lifestyles create new demands and opportunities for packaging companies to develop new business and solutions to serve consumers, retailers and brand owners. We at Stora Enso live by the promise “everything that’s made with fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow”, and the switch from non-renewable materials to renewable packaging is the most important change. We are in a unique position to make it happen.
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