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Global Pulp News FOREWORD: Magnus Björkman

Make 2020 a year to remember

We start the new decade with challenges but many opportunities too, and we intend to seize them.

Happy New Year! It’s going to be another busy one here at Södra. 

We ended 2019 at or near the bottom of the price cycle. While it would be unwise to predict the immediate future, pulp suppliers were beginning to take downtime at the end of last year rather than continue making a loss, which usually indicates that the market is on the turn. 

We’ve learned from past years to expect the unexpected and there is no reason that this year will be any different, especially as the number of climate-induced incidents unfortunately appears to be increasing. 

We can only focus on the things we can control, and for Södra that means investing in people, innovation, technology, capacity and our value chain relationships. We have the new structure in place to sharpen our focus on Pulp and Bioproducts in parallel, and we’re adding new Technical Product Managers for both (the new TPM for Bioproducts has been appointed). Meanwhile the staff in our mills continue to work to optimise production and our experts in our forests on everything from limiting bark beetle damage to the digitalisation of our members’ estates.  

On the capacity side, we have the potential at Värö to unlock a further 150,000 tpy from our new equipment which would take the mill to 850,000tpy. The Board will take a decision later this year, but this could be a highly cost-efficient way to expand our pulp capacity. 

Meanwhile, on the Bioproducts side, we’re excited to be starting up Mönsterås’ biomethanol plant this year. The technology we are using is a world first, yielding a product of excellent purity with huge potential for several applications. 

Our OnceMore™ project could also prove groundbreaking. Patent-pending, our new technology separates cotton from polyester in waste textiles and then adds the recovered cotton fibres to our textile pulp to produce a new material. Much will depend on our ability to source the waste textiles, but there is growing interest in sustainable alternatives to disposable fashion, so we have high hopes. 

We continue to look for partners across the supply chain to fulfil our ambitions to become fossil-fuel free across all operations by 2030. From joint projects for biofuel production to encouraging our shipping partners to seek greener solutions, we are committed to helping build a more sustainable future. A busy year ahead indeed. 

Magnus Björkman 
President Södra Cell  

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