Forestry has major regional importance and creates employment in rural areas. Silviculture has enabled many people to live and work outside the big cities.
Holmen plays a significant role as an employer in a number of locations and not only creates jobs in the Group but also for suppliers of goods and services. We estimate that over 90 percent of our employees live in the local communities where we have our operations. Studies also show that the average Holmen employee generates three more jobs, which means that we thus contribute to create about 10,000 jobs in primarily Sweden, but also in England and in the countries where we have sales operations.
As far as possible, we try to use local entrepreneurs and our cooperation with local entrepreneurs often goes far back in time. This has proven to be a successful strategy, as it means that we have access to high-quality and competent entrepreneurs in our immediate neighbourhood, both around our mills and where we have our forests and hydropower plants.
Holmen contributes significant tax revenue in Sweden and in the other countries in which we operate. This sees us fulfilling a responsibility to society and we pay our taxes in line with the legislation and rules in force in all the countries in which we operate.
If you want to read more about how we contribute financially to a living countryside, you will find it under key figures.
Ongoing dialogue with local communities and stakeholder organisations, and partnerships with higher education institutions and universities see us working for sustainable development. One example of such collaboration is the ‘Grow your income’ project, which seeks to increase the supply of biomass for the new biofuel boiler at the mill in Workington by encouraging local farmers to grow energy crops. This project has generated a dialogue with a whole new stakeholder group, strengthening the mill’s local engagement. Besides creating a new source of income for local farmers, planting energy crops has had several positive side effects as the energy crops prevent flooding and increase local biodiversity.
Sustainably managed forests are not only important from an environmental and economic perspective, they are also important for people’s wellbeing and a place for recreation, hunting and fishing. Holmen pays particular attention to forests that are valuable in terms of aesthetics and experiences, and forests that many people visit for outdoor pursuits, relaxation and exercise.
When Iggesund Paperboard's Workington Mill took the decision to invest in a biomass boiler in order to switch its energy sourcing from fossil fuels to biomass, they immediately started to plan for their future fuel needs. The Grow Your Income project engages local farmers to grow willow that is delivered as biomass to the mill. The programme has been well received and is expanding.
The Short Rotation Coppice willow is a perennial agricultural crop that is cultivated for the production of wood chips used for heat and power generation. SRC willow can be planted close to its users, thus contributing towards a local energy supply that is sustainable in the long term.
The advantages of willow are obvious. It's the best way to deal with hydraulic roughness and an excellent tool in the tool box as an option for farmers to use. It increases biodiversity, stores carbon and ensures a long-term income for the farmers, who make it possible for Holmen to produce sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging from renewable electricity and heat
One important advantage the willow crops provide is the ability to supply excellent protection when floods occur in wintertime. Natural flood management involves implementing measures to restore or mimic natural functions of rivers, floodplains and the wider catchment, to store water in the landscape and slow the rate at which water runs off the landscape into rivers. Natural flood management takes many different forms and different terminology such as 'working with natural processes', green engineering, sustainable land management or runoff attenuation are also used to describe the techniques used. Every farm will have features that, with some enhancement, could play a role in natural flood management. NFM techniques rely on one, or a combination, of the following underlying mechanisms.
1: Slowing water by increasing resistance to its flow – for example, by planting hedgerows and trees, blocking grips on moorland, installing woody debris dams or creating buffer strips.
2: Storing water by creating and maintaining capacity in bunds, ponds, ditches, swales or floodplains so they fill during rainfall events and empty slowly over 12 to 24 hours.
3: Increasing soil infiltration: Improving soil structure can increase the depth that water is absorbed to, significantly increasing the volume of water that can be stored in the soil. This will make saturation less likely, potentially reducing surface runoff.
4: Intercepting rainfall: Vegetation, especially tree leaves, intercepts rainfall so it doesn't reach the ground. Water is then evaporated from the leaves, reducing the volume of flood water.