Södra, a leading Swedish forestry cooperative, is exploring the development of a groundbreaking pulp product that combines sustainably managed wood from its forests with agricultural residue from local sources near its pulp mills.
The company aims to support a circular and sustainable society while maximizing the use of its members' wood and adding value for customers.
Known for its sustainable innovations in the pulp industry, Södra has previously introduced chlorine-free bleaching and developed innovative products such as OnceMore® textile pulp and FiberSafe® pulpable bale strap. The latest innovation involves blending agricultural residues with softwood pulp to create a resource-efficient, sustainable, and performance-enhancing product for papermakers.
Södra has been researching the use of agricultural residues to enhance the strength of pulp for some time. After extensive research and development, the company has acquired the necessary expertise and technology to create an agro-enhanced softwood pulp with significantly improved tensile strength properties, particularly in the lower refining range.
Lotta Lyrå, CEO of Södra, explains that this process has the potential to deliver benefits for customers, members, and the environment by challenging the existing practices. The innovation aligns with Södra's circular perspective, its commitment to collaborative sustainability solutions across the value chain, and the idea of passing forest innovations from one family to another, from members' forests to consumers.
Södra's use of agricultural residues in pulp production will not compete with their current use as animal feed. Instead, it aims to create a new purpose for these residues, adding value and circularity for members, suppliers, customers, and end consumers. It is essential to note that the agricultural residues will not replace wood from Södra's forests but will serve as a premium ingredient to produce a high-performing grade of pulp. The incorporation of a small percentage of agricultural residues in the agro-enhanced softwood pulp will significantly enhance the tensile strength of the final paper products.
Södra's next steps involve further exploring the possibilities of this innovative pulp and its potential applications, highlighting the company's commitment to sustainability and its ongoing efforts to contribute to a more circular and resource-efficient society.