The timber we harvest is used to manufacture products. The most valuable use for wood is in solid-wood products. All harvested timber that can be used as sawlogs is delivered to our sawmills.
At the sawmills, the bark is used to produce energy to dry the timber. When round logs are turned into square wood products, there is a certain amount of waste. Approximately one third of timber logs become chips, which are used as raw material for pulp and paper.
Those parts of the tree that cannot be used as raw material for the sawmills — crowns and smaller trees — are delivered as pulp wood to our pulp and paper mills.
Sawdust from the sawmills is used as raw material for fuel pellets, consumed either by our customers or by our own plants.
In brief, the entire tree is used as much as possible.
Replaces products with greater environmental impact
The products we manufacture can then replace products, material and fuels with a larger carbon footprint. Wood products can be used for building construction, where alternative materials could include concrete, steel or plastic. Research at institutions such as Mid-Sweden University show that buildings made of wood have significantly less climate impact than buildings of other materials. There is even research indicating that it is better to construct a building of wood that not to build anything at all. This is due to the fact that the carbon dioxide the tree bound while growing remains in a building for a very long time afterwards.
Paper packaging has less of a climate impact than plastic packaging.
Comparing the climate effect of reading a printed periodical with reading it on a computer or tablet, the effect is roughly the same and very small. The climate effect of an annual subscription to a periodical that comes out ten times a year, regardless of whether in print or digitally, is equivalent to the effect of one hamburger.
Biofuels are naturally a very good way of reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuels. SCA produces a total of 9 TWh of biofuels. We use 8 TWh in our own plants — naturally, a large part of the reason our plants have such a small carbon footprint. We sell 1 TWh to customers outside the company in the form of unrefined biofuels such as branches, crowns and decayed wood, or in the form of refined fuels — pellets.
Transportation is the largest source of fossil-fuel carbon emissions, both for SCA and for society as a whole. In the Obbola paper mill, we are testing technology we developed in-house for manufacturing biofuels and green chemicals from black liquor, a by-product of sulfate pulp production.
In connection with the expanded Östrand plant, we are applying for environmental permits for a full-scale biorefinery with production of biofuels from both black liquor and from solid biomass such as sawdust.
As a major landowner in northern Sweden, we have many excellent wind locations on our lands. Production of wind power on SCA land in 2017 was 2.3 TWh. There are resolutions on an additional 235 wind turbines on SCA land, which would yield production of an additional 2.7 TWh of green electricity.