Printing paper, paperboard and sawn timber constitute basic materials in people's everyday lives. The products are made from the renewable raw material provided by the forests. The Group's forests and products are helping to bind carbon dioxide and cut society's emissions of greenhouse gases.

An important climate actor

Carbon dioxide is captured in the growing forests and in the products. Holmen's resource-efficient production is predominantly driven by renewable energy. Investments in self-generated energy and the development of the products of today and tomorrow based on forest raw material mean the positive climate effects will be even greater in the future.

The forest

The volume of standing timber in Holmen's forests increases by 1 per cent a year, which means that carbon dioxide is bound into its increase in volume. Based on Sweden's official reports of greenhouse gases for forest and land between 1990 and 2017, uptake for Holmen's forests and forest land on average is estimated at 1 300 000 tonnes per year. Over the foreseeable period, annual growth in Holmen's forests is expected to exceed the harvests, and the Group's forest growth target shows that carbon dioxide storage will increase in the future.

The production units

In recent years, the production of renewable electricity and thermal energy has increased considerably through Holmen's investments in biofuel-based energy production at several mills. In the past ten years, emissions of fossil carbon dioxide from the mills have fallen by over 80 per cent and amounted to just under 75 000 tonnes in

2017. Annual emissions of fossil carbon dioxide from forest machinery, manufacture of input goods and transport of raw materials and products are estimated at approximately 340 000 tonnes. Emissions represent the negative climate impact of Holmen's operations.

The products and substitution effects

Wood products store carbon dioxide throughout their lifetime and this is only released when the products are incinerated. Holmen's production of wood products in 2017 is equivalent to approximately 680 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide stored in products with a lifetime of more than 50 years. Holmen's wood products that are sold as joinery and construction timber also contribute a substitution effect when used to replace climate-negative construction materials. The substitution effect for 2017 is estimated to amount to approximately 1 250 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Residual volumes from the sawmills are used in wood packaging, which also has a long lifetime. The substitution effect for these products has not been calculated.

Paper and paperboard products can also replace fossil-based products but as they have a relatively short lifetime, it is not meaningful to calculate their uptake of carbon dioxide. Once the fibres in paper and paperboard have been recycled several times as recovered fibre, however, they, like the end-of-life wood products, make excellent biofuels. Biofuels from Holmen's forests and by-products from production, such as bark, provide renewable energy from incineration. Here too, it would be possible to calculate a substitution effect as fossil fuels are replaced by biofuel, but no such calculation has been carried out for this combination. Under the parameters set, calculations show that Holmen's business brings substantial climate benefits, as it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by almost 3 million tonnes per year.

Key figures for Holmen's operations
from a climate perspective 2017

 Key numbers CO2

Several independent sources show the positive climate impact of forestry and forest products.The summary is based on internal data and calculations and on scientific articles published in recent years. On the basis of this reference material, data has been obtained to calculate the substitution effect.

  • Simplified reporting of carbon pool changes for Holmen's forest and land holdings in line with the guidelines of the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 2018. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  • Lundblad, M. et al. Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (CRF sector 4). In: National Inventory Report Sweden 2016 – Submitted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, pp. 353–392.
  • Sathre, R. and O'Connor, J. Meta-analysis of greenhouse gas displacement factors of wood product substitution. Environmental Science Policy 2010, 13, 104–114.
  • Gustavsson, L. et al. Climate change effects of forestry and substitution of carbon-intensive materials and fossil fuels. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2017, Volume 67, 612–624.
  • Cintas, O. et al. The potential role of forest management in Swedish scenarios towards climate neutrality by mid century. Forest Ecology and Management 2017, 383, 73–84.

Holmen AB, P.O. Box 5407, SE-114 84 Stockholm, Sweden. 

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