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Opportunities and challenges
Local communities living near Stora Enso’s mills and forestry operations form one of the group’s most important stakeholder groups. In many localities Stora Enso is a major employer, tax-payer, and partner for local entrepreneurs. To ensure that Stora Enso’s production, raw material sourcing, and labour supply remain both sustainable and competitive, the communities which the group depends on must be able to thrive economically, socially, and environmentally.
Stora Enso’s mills are heavily dependent on energy and raw materials, and they generate emissions that may impact adjoining communities. The group’s tree plantations in China, Brazil, and Uruguay influence local land use, livelihoods, and ecosystems. The group’s socio-environmental impacts must be managed responsibly, in order to maximise their positive influence, maintain cooperative community relations, and ensure a long-term license to operate.
- Code of Conduct
- Social Responsibility Guidelines
- Stakeholder Guidelines
- Business Practice Policy
- Human Rights Statement
- Tax Policy
- Sponsorship and Donations Policy.
The group’s joint operations have each developed formal procedures for their respective community investment work.
How we work
Stora Enso implements various precautionary management actions in response to the potential environmental and social impacts that the group´s activities may have on neighbouring communities. These include:
- Environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) for all new projects that could cause significant adverse effects in local communities
- Due diligence assessments invariably realised as part of Stora Enso’s acquisition and investment processes. Conducted prior to any decision, these assessments cover relevant factors related to environmental, social, and business practices.
- Environmental management systems such as ISO 14001 for production units
- Sustainable forest management certification of Stora Enso’s own forestry operations and suppliers
- Restructuring processes planned in cooperation with the authorities.
Contributing to the vitality of the communities around the company’s operations is high on Stora Enso’s agenda. This is done through various actions, including investments in capacity building, local nature conservation, agroforestry programmes, and socio-economic development projects.
Building on the local community investment work the group has done over the years, Stora Enso has put in place a new group-level framework for community investments. The framework incorporates systematic monitoring and later careful evaluation of outcomes of the group’s activities. This work started in 2016 with global baseline mapping, covering all production units and other key functions. During 2017 Stora Enso will implement the new corporate community investment framework and related guidelines.
Stora Enso’s field staff and social engagement officers speak regularly with people living in areas impacted by Stora Enso’s plantations and mill, as well as along the transportation routes, to inform them about Stora Enso’s operations and to enable them to express their concerns and contribute ideas. During 2016 Stora Enso conducted socio-economic profiling of local villages in order to better understand and address their gender and ethnic structures, opportunities for development, and other characteristics that can help Stora Enso to optimise the positive impacts of its operations, and mitigate any negative impacts.
During the year Stora Enso also worked to develop its Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) system for use in relation to indigenous communities.
During 2016 Veracel continued to engage in dialogue with the Government of the State of Bahia, the National Institute of Colonisation and Agrarian Reform (INCRA), and the representatives of six officially recognised landless people’s social movements. Through the Sustainable Settlement Initiative the social movements have pledged to leave areas occupied since July 2011, while Veracel has agreed not to seek to repossess areas occupied before that date. The initiative relates to a total of 16 500 hectares of Veracel’s lands designated for the settlements. At the end of 2016, additional areas of Veracel’s land totalling 3 499 hectares (5 461 ha at the end of 2015) were occupied by landless groups not involved in the Sustainable Settlement Initiative.
Veracel and the state government have continued the Pact for the Development of the Discovery Coast. By the end of 2016 this pact had resulted in investments benefiting local communities amounting to EUR 660 000 (EUR 490 000 by the end of 2015). The pact’s projects contribute to the sustainable development of family farming by forming associations for small producers and indigenous communities.
During 2016, Veracel has also continued supporting local livelihoods by making some of its land available for family farmers for cultivation and beekeeping. Altogether 229 family farmers are supported through the Agrovida and Roça do Povo family farming programmes.
Montes del Plata, Uruguay
Montes del Plata has continued to create strategic alliances with local rural producers through the Alianzas cooperation. By the end of the year 350 farmers with lands totalling approximately 54 939 hectares, of which 43 857 are planted with eucalyptus, had joined the programme, enabling forestry plantations on their lands to be leased and managed by Montes del Plata. By the end of the year, 170 farmers were keeping cattle on Montes del Plata’s lands while 31 farmers produced honey.
Montes del Plata also finances local projects targeting increased cohesion, social participation, and local development in nearby communities. During 2016, Montes del Plata supported 22 projects (19 in 2015) focusing on heritage conservation, sports, social integration, health, and education.
In 2016 Montes del Plata also continued its long-term strategy for the sustainable transportation of wood, including annual action plans involving truck drivers, transport companies, and local communities.
Bulleh Shah Packaging, Pakistan
Stora Enso supports six local schools in cooperation with the Pakistani non-governmental organisation Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi. Since 2015 these schools have been providing education for children previously identified as child workers in Bulleh Shah Packaging´s (BSP) supply chain. The schools have the capacity to educate up to 640 children. The pupils also receive free school uniforms and medical checks. BSP is additionally providing vocational training for the children’s parents, to improve their life skills and ability to find work.
In Laos Stora Enso has continued to develop an agroforestry model that enables local farmers to grow rice and cash crops between the trees. The company has also established a village development fund to share benefits among local villagers, and to further support local development and livelihoods. Most of the funding allocated during 2016 was directed to infrastructure projects such as electricity and water supply connections, road upgrading, and purchases of livestock to enhance food security.
In June 2015 Stora Enso announced the permanent closure of the group’s corrugated packaging converting unit in Chennai, India, due to its long-term unprofitability and declining demand. Stora Enso provided support during 2015–2016 for Save the Children’s local work. This aims to improve children’s quality of life and improve water sanitation and hygiene. The project resulted in several outcomes, such as improving the personal hygiene of 3 000 children.