FOREWORD: The business of a sustainable future
Changing weather patterns and record temperatures in Europe this summer are a sharp reminder that action to mitigate the effects of climate change is nothing short of urgent.
For Södra’s 52,000 members (our 52,000 headquarters as I like to call them), it’s personal. They have lived in and with the natural world for generations, and I include my own family in this: My husband is the fourth generation to inherit his family forest estate, our daughters will be the fifth, and it's the same for many of our members. Working from home takes on a new meaning as we sit around the kitchen table discussing how best to manage our own forest estate for our daughters and beyond.
Members and employees need no reminder that the forest is the reason Södra exists. Everything we do is based on enhancing the values of small forest estates and their collective strength as the Södra cooperative. Members are custodians, not only of their holding, but of a sustainable forest products industry that adds value to those estates. For you, our customers, it also means that we control the entire process from seedling to finished bale, and that our members’ interest in preserving the forest for the next generation means they are also securing your fibre supply long term. Our membership is growing both in number and area as we successfully manage the balance of interests between sustainability and economics.
It’s increasingly clear that, when properly nurtured, the forest will provide us with more solutions for a circular economy. Sustainably-managed working forests play an important role in many ways, from acting as a carbon sink to sequester carbon dioxide, to replacing fossil-based materials and encouraging biodiversity.
Everything we do is about optimising our resources while ensuring they continue to provide for the future. And we are not done. Our work within sustainability has no finish line. This is why we’re investing, not just in paper and textile pulp, but in construction (including cross-laminated timber to replace concrete and steel), green energy, biofuels and biochemicals – not to mention digitalisation, our people, partnerships, and any other avenue we see that has the potential to optimise our forest resources.
This broad potential of our industry has, sadly, not been in the EU’s spotlight. With hindsight, I would like to have seen more dialogue with a wider group of stakeholders before the EU Green Deal was drawn up. Södra is keen to keep raising the important message of the forest’s many benefits.
For example, we are opposed to any toning down of incentives to find fossil-free fuel alternatives to petrol and diesel and will continue to defend the value of the forest industry to as wide a group of stakeholders as possible. From your customers and their customers, to NGOs and legislators.
Together we can help create a more sustainable future.
Lotta Lyrå, CEO
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