Transparency and the opportunity to learn from each other make our circular business stronger.
Our internal R&D is focused on functional products plus energy and resource-efficient processes. This has led to a steady decline in specific use of raw materials and energy, while the characteristics of the products have been enhanced.
Each business area is responsible for development within its own core operations by building new knowledge, identifying, and initiating future business opportunities based on sustainability-driven research, innovation and product development, and contributing to the Holmen Group and all business areas' strategic development.
External R&D is run jointly with other actors, often at an industry-wide level or in the value chain and in collaboration with universities, institutes of technology and research institutions. The emphasis is on product development and enhancing process efficiency, plus forest growth and improving the efficiency of forestry.
In other respects, collaborations are underway with Swedish RISE Bioeconomy, RISE Processum, MoRe Research, SweTree Technologies, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Chalmers University of Technology, Luleå University of Technology, Umeå University, Mid Sweden University, Karlstad University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Skogforsk. In Norway, Holmen collaborates with the Paper and Fiber Research Institute.
An example of an interesting collaboration is a Swedish-Finnish project OptiBark where 18 organizations, from all parts of the value chain from forest industry to end users, explore the possibilities of increasing the use of industrial bark, which today is mainly used for energy production. The project intends to extract the bark's mechanical and chemical protective components in order to be able to use its properties as protection or barriers on other materials such as paperboard or wood. In this way, conditions are created for increased global demand for bio-based materials and chemicals.
Holmen Paper now uses image analysis and software to control and optimize production, bark content and wood loss in order to increase wood yield. Before we installed this system, we risked periodically overbarking the wood, which causes high wood losses as some of the fibers came with the bark instead of becoming a raw material for our products. Along with these improvements, an increase in production has also been obtained.
Holmen has forests that have been used industrially since the 17th century. Historically, extraction and production have been the priority. In the 1990s, Swedish forest policy and Swedish forestry changed so that nature conservation and the environment were equated with production and growth. New research was initiated and since then we have learned a lot about how we can improve biodiversity and at the same time increase growth and harvest in the forest. We are constantly working to become even better and believe that it is better to strengthen natural values in the areas that are not used than to protect more land.
The goal is to manage the forest to ensure that all species in Sweden’s wooded landscape can survive and thrive, and for important natural values to be promoted and preserved.
We are convinced that it is through research and collaboration that we can continue to find new ways to promote both growth and biodiversity in our forests. That is why we have, among other things, launched our Knowledge Forests. These are landscape sections selected to collect and distribute knowledge. Each knowledge forest has specific biological conditions where we can show how our future-smart forestry works. Here you can read more about our knowledge forests.
Another of the many efforts we make for research and development is that we conduct over 300 research projects on our land both on our own and in collaboration with research organizations, universities, and other actors. We also actively follow a large number of other research projects on other people's land. The national database Silvaboreal, which is owned by SLU and used by the Swedish Forest Agency, Lantmäteriet and Swedish forest owners, collects information about most Swedish research experiments in forestry. The database covers a large number of issues related to a number of different forest and natural science subject areas.