Minimising emissions to air and water

Preventive environmental management is a guiding principle of Metsä Group’s production. Efficient control and mitigation of emissions to air and water are the cornerstones of managing the environmental impacts of production.
  • 90%

    share of bio-based fuels

  • 87%

    of energy used is fossil free

  • -5.4%

    use of process water compared year 2018

Towards fossil free mills

Metsä Group's main means of combating climate change are to increase the share of bioenergy and improve energy efficiency. Emissions of fossil-based carbon dioxide (Scopes 1 and 2) have declined by 22% (17) per tonne produced compared to 2018. Our objective is that our mills are fossil free by 2030.

Our pulp mills and power plants are the main sources of air emissions for Metsä Group. Primary emissions to air are carbon dioxide (CO2 ), sulphur dioxide (SO2 ), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particles from pulp production and power plants. In addition, small amounts of total reduced sulphur (TRS) are emitted from pulp mills. In 2020, our direct greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1) were 652,000 tonnes of fossil carbon dioxide (CO2).

Improving the use of process water

Water is an essential resource for the forest industry. Ensuring that water use in production is optimised and that wastewater is treated efficiently are both guiding principles of our water management.

Metsä Group’s objective is to improve the use of process water by 25% per product tonne in 2018-2030. The target will be achieved both through investments, such as in new technology, and by streamlining and optimising the processes. In 2021, our process water use declined by 5.4% compared to the year 2018.

Metsä Group's production is mainly in the Nordic countries, which are, according to WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development), the world's water richest region. Given the need for water in the manufacturing of forest products, mills have been built along the lakes and rivers. Although water is used, the Finnish forest industry is a modest user of water: the industry uses only 0.2% of the available water resources Finland. The process water is cleaned thoroughly before returned back into the rivers, lakes or sea. About half of the water is used for cooling machinery. As the cooling water runs in a separate system there's no need to clean it after use.

Minimising the impact of the forest industry operations extends beyond the mills. The impact of forestry on water is minimised using a variety of methods – for example, forest certification requires buffer zones. Forests are vital to the water cycle, since they maintain the balance between precipitation and evaporation as well as improve the quality of groundwater by reducing the absorption of surface runoff into groundwater. In the Boreal region, evaporation happens mostly in forests. Forests also do not need to watering, as, for example, in Finland it rains 600–700 millimetres per year.