Long-term thinking will win the race
I have joined Södra at both an exciting and challenging time - for us, our customers and the planet itself. Sustainability is a hot topic today, but nothing compared to what it will become. As our CEO Lotta Lyrå told delegates at COP26, real change will only come if we work together. She was speaking about pushing fashion towards a more circular future, but the same goes for just about every industry.
My role as Director of Sustainability is very much as team leader. As the current People Behind the Pulp campaign explains, there are many people behind a sheet of Södra pulp, each one dedicated to a more circular future, whether that be nurturing the seedlings from our forests, researching more sustainable alternatives to fossil-based products at Södra Innovation, or monitoring quality on the pulp mill floor.
Upcoming EU legislation affects everything we do and there is a danger that the importance of actively and sustainably-managed forests may get lost in the bigger picture of competing interests. We will need a proactive approach and smart communication to make sure we are heard. Circularity is built into our system, and we need to tell that story better.
My ambition, like Södra’s, is that we should be a leader when it comes to all aspects of sustainability – environmental, social and financial. We are doing well but we could always do better. The further in front we are, the greater flexibility we have for the future. There is no point being in the middle of the pack, we need to be the ones setting the Best Available Technology standards that others follow.
We have signed up to science-based targets to play our part in the call to limit the Earth’s warming to 1.5°C. The challenge is not just about reducing carbon emissions, however. We all need to take responsibility for the society we live in. We hope the targets will facilitate opportunities to work with others in the value chain for long-term solutions and to invest in true innovation for the future.
As a non-listed cooperative, Södra has an advantage here. Members understand that smart long-term thinking is more important than a quick return. Perhaps it’s that long-term view that most appeals to the ultra-runner in me. On a 100-mile run, endurance resilience and a focus on end goal are crucial. I see those qualities in Södra.
As soon as the pandemic allows, I hope to be out and about, meeting customers and discussing how best to meet your challenges. I am a firm believer that cooperation and communication yield results and it’s always interesting and humbling to meet those who pay your salary. I look forward to us working together for a more sustainable future.
Anders Norén, Director of Sustainability