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Stora Enso Speaker Interview

Hear from Hannu Kasurinen, Executive Vice President, Packaging Materials Division

How have the pulp, paper and packaging sectors weathered the COVID-19 storm?

As many of our products have critical end uses to consumer packaging such as food and pharmaceuticals, we’ve seen the demand for our renewable packaging materials remain on a solid level throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We have worked hard to ensure our materials reach these vital industries, which have been operational throughout the outbreak. 

Then again in other end-uses such as luxury, food service and consumer goods, the demand has been lower. Paper demand has been hit very hard in most segments, when advertising and office paper consumption reduced significantly with remote work and less commuters.

What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for the sector over the next 12-18 months?

There are three priorities for us, which surely are echoed by the sector:

Firstly, we are carefully managing the COVID-19 impact by keeping mills running and the supply chain operative. Our industry has very important role in the global value chains to provide safe packaging in various end uses. We cannot see e.g. pharma products or perishable foods shipped without protective packaging.

Secondly, we will adjust to the new normal to secure sustainable business during turbulent times: opportunities for renewable packaging materials in e.g. e-commerce and food deliveries will increase as consumers try new ways of shopping during the pandemic.

Finally, we continue our active work in promoting renewable packaging materials, and innovating in sustainable packaging materials and solutions. Despite COVID-19, the European Green Deal, Single-use plastic directive, and our efforts in improving circularity of paper-based materials keeps us focused on helping our customers respond to these demands.

What are you particularly looking forward to hearing discussed at PRIMA this year?

  • Circular Economy related actions: how are companies developing products out of renewable materials, and ensuring they can be recycled or reused?
  • Supply chains: how does the development of global and local supply chains look like under the current geo-political development?
  • The “new normal”: what are the predicted changes to our business environment, and how should we adapt to it?