A. How did you find this company? What are the main facts about its activities?
Stora Enso Oyj is a Finnish company that manufactures pulp and paper. It was born in 1998 with the fusion of Stora, a Swedish mining and forestry products company, and Enso-Gutzeit, a Finnish forestry products company. In 2005, it was considered the world’s largest pulp and paper manufacturer; it operates in different parts of the world, such as Europe, North and South America, Asia and Russia.
The activity of the company is based on different areas or products, and all of them are thought to be sustainable and to come from renewable resources. As its web page says: “Stora Enso is the global rethinker of the packaging, paper, and wood products industry”.
Stora Enso has designed a new plan to advertise their global responsibility activities to show their ethical behaviour to the public. The objective of the company can be reflected in its new corporate philosophy: “Rethink”, which concerns environmental issues related with their ecological impact. It is based on different initiatives: Rethink, redefine, redesign, recycle, rebuild, revive and reimagine. Some activities included in this plan are sustainability, environmental protection, compensation for damages caused by extraction plantations or be aware of local culture when working in a different country, between others.
B. What are the Ethical challenges this company is addressing?
Stora Enso approaches on three elements: The social responsibility, the environmental responsibility and the stakeholder engagement.
For the first one, the company seeks to practice an ethical business, respecting internationally accepted human rights, creating safe workplace and good ambient for the employees. It is costly for them and it also has to be flexible and improve the company’s philosophy to create a good working environment for the employees.
The second one is a real challenge, because it is common to contaminate in some steps of the manufacturing process. But Stora Enso strives to minimize this impact on the environment by much effort, like using woods which come from sustainable sources, using renewable energies, etc.
The key of the third element is to connect all the stakeholders and try to find an improvement to maintain the success and to make this business model sustainable.
It is not an easy issue to reach these three elements, because they are costly and difficult to coordinate; the company should have a strong philosophy and know how to share it with its employees. Stora Enso is also focusing on the continuous recycle of ideas, raw materials and designs in order to improve itself and make this world more sustainable.
Finally, the biggest challenge the company is facing is to fight against the typical business dilemma, making feasible the act of taking care about social and environmental responsibility while making profit, something which only few companies in the world can achieve.
C. What makes this company really inspiring to you and why would you trust it?
We think that Stora Enso is really ethical because of its environmental concerns and the social responsible policies they are implementing. We think that the company is transparent, explaining in detail its activities and the policies they are implementing. The company has expressed its commitment to create a sustainable future for our planet. The “Rethink” philosophy that they have consists in finding new ways of growth and development which are respectful with the environment. They defend the use of recycled materials by rethinking the old ones and finding a new use for them.
According to Stora Enso, to control climate change is necessary a greater use of renewable raw materials, an efficient use of energy and cleaner and more efficient production processes. Wood is their most important raw material, which is renewable and recyclable; they obtain it only from sustainable sources doing a sustainable forest management. They state that wood is the building material of the future, which will allow to reduce CO2 emissions during the construction process. They are also reviving biodiversity in Brazil and replanting 400 hectares of rainforest yearly.
In the production process, Stora Enso tries to reduce the environment impact of its mills, with mills that produce their own bioenergy and reusing the ashes left. Finally, the company is actively working to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and they have set a CO2 reduction target of 20% by 2020.
On the other hand, concerning to Stora Enso’s relation with its employees, they follow a Code of Conduct that guides all Stora Enso employees wherever they work as an approach to ensuring sustainable and ethical business operations. All Stora Enso policies and principles which are summarized in the Stora Enso Code of Conduct and it defines how they behave as a company and as employees as well as the way they do business in Stora Enso.
D.What are the possible challenges facing the company in the future and how do you think this company may improve?
The world is facing a change in the concept of business. The current trend for success is to turn companies sustainable and caring for the future of this planet. The challenge is to do it while keep being profitable.
The Rethink project is quite recent, hence the company wants to spread this new philosophy among all the stages of employees to ensure they have a strong commitment with it from the very beginning and therefore promote its success in the future.
To achieve this new business model, Stora Enso staked to create a shadow management team to go forth and seek out the company’s future. The mission of this team, conformed by a group of motivated employees which fresh ideas who followed a leadership program to develop their competences, is “to think out of the box”; their task is to lift off from the current point of the company and dare to think boldly when thinking about its future.
During the training process, Stora Enso gave a lot of importance to teach business ethics to the team. Ethical leadership in any organisation is expected to come from the top, for that reason, top managers responsible of the Shadow Cabinet may reflect ethical behaviours in their practices as well as understand the ethical dilemmas the company may face.
We consider that putting such an effort to promote ethics inside the company is an improvement concerning corporate responsibility. Usually companies tend to focus these activities outdoors, to give a good image to the society but behave differently in private. Instead, Stora Enso chose to start this new philosophy changing the mind of its workers to reach a global ethical environment.