Focusing on footprint and handprint – for a more sustainable world

Focusing on footprint and handprint – for a more sustainable world

More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year worldwide, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 percent is recycled. Combating plastic waste is one of the global problems that Ahlstrom can help solve; we offer paper-based solutions that can replace plastic in different applications and have a lower impact on the environment. Together let's take a look at our efforts to minimize the environmental impact of our operations and how our solutions help create a more sustainable world and #BeatPlasticPollution.

World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 as part of the United Nations Environmental Program to raise awareness of people’s actions in making the world a better place. Businesses also have the responsibility to make sure that their operations are contributing to creating a better future. At Ahlstrom, sustainability and ensuring that we contribute to a greener future with our solutions is a vital part of our business strategy.

An important starting point and a key strength of our products are sustainably sourced raw materials, especially wood fibers. Our ambition is to use renewable materials wherever they can deliver high product performance tailored to specific applications. To ensure sustainable management of renewable raw materials, especially in the forest fiber supply chain, Ahlstrom has policies in place to ensure sustainable practices. All forest fiber-based raw materials are purchased as certified or as a minimum controlled wood for sustainable forest management. This is to ensure that we do not contribute to deforestation and that we can rely on having a sustainable source of raw materials in the future.

Another major initiative to improve our environmental performance is Ahlstrom’s commitment to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). In May 2022, we committed to reducing our emissions in our scopes 1 and 2 in line with the 1.5 °C climate target and to achieve net zero by 2050. We have plans to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 38% by 2030 compared to the 2021 baseline year. A big part of the emission reduction will be achieved by moving to lower carbon energy sources. Several of our plants are now undergoing switches from fossil fuels to natural gas and biomass, with some projects already being finalized.

As we are focusing on lowering the footprint of our operations, this will also have an impact on the environmental impact of our products. To further ensure that our products have the lowest possible impact, we work with life cycle assessment and product carbon footprints. They help us understand the current impacts, but also pinpoint areas for development, find the best raw material combinations to minimize environmental impact, and work towards a product portfolio that is more sustainable. We use Eco design and Circular design principles and we are working towards having life cycle assessment as a routine part of our product innovation pipeline.

Our products also play an important part in contributing to a better future through the impact they have – their handprint. Our product portfolio consists of products that purify and protect, in line with our company purpose. This means that we offer products that serve and do good for people and the environment, like the world’s first PFAS-free pet food packaging and renewable lignin-based automotive filter media.

This year World Environment Day focuses on stopping plastic waste and calls for global solutions to combat plastic pollution. Ahlstrom has a wide portfolio of solutions that can replace plastic in packaging and other applications.

Read more about our efforts to replace plastic with applications based on renewable materials

Read more on World Environment Day.

This article is written by Laura Laiho, Sustainability Specialist at Ahlstrom.