Stora Enso in interview about its leading role for sustainable Championships

Renewable materials company Stora Enso is the presenting sponsor of the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti (FIN). Together, Stora Enso and Lahti 2017 aim to lead the way in promoting and supporting sustainable events. 

FIS took the opportunity to talk to Satu Härkönen, Manager of the Lahti 2017 project for Stora Enso.

Tell us about the history of Stora Enso's engagement in winter sports.

Sponsoring the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti is a great match for us because our roots are in the Nordic forests where cross country skiing takes place. We are honoured to have a role in a successful international sports event in the same year that Finland celebrates 100 years of independence. Stora Enso has been involved in skiing since the early years of the company in the 1930’s.

What motivated Stora Enso to be the Presenting Sponsor of Lahti 2017?

Stora Enso first showed its commitment to the Nordic disciplines as sponsor of the World Cup in 2014 and the Falun 2015 World Championships, with good outcomes. This collaboration with Lahti 2017 is especially important to Stora Enso because we have a long history in Finland. Stora Enso celebrates Finland’s centenary year in the Centenary Championships: during 2017, we celebrate Finland 100-years by supporting themes that are important to Finland and Finns; sports, art, design and architecture as well as sustainability.

In Falun, Stora Enso had a huge impact helping keep the World Championships green, what initiatives are in place in Lahti?

Stora Enso and Lahti 2017 are together leading the way in promoting and supporting sustainable events, by using renewable raw materials derived from wood and by maximising the recycling and reuse of products. We have been working in close cooperation with the Lahti 2017 organisers to promote the use of renewable raw materials and sustainable solutions.

Stora Enso’s modern wooden elements (CLT, Effex, LVL, sawn goods) are displayed in the games e.g. in the podiums, the countdown clock, shelters, the main gate and the interiors of the ski jumping towers.

Stora Enso is supplying the championships with everyday products and structures made from renewable raw materials, and ensuring their recycling and reuse. The medal ceremony tray is made of corrugated board, and medallists will receive beautiful and durable containers for their medals. Spectators can try out mini snow gliders made of milk carton board, and enjoy their drinks served in carton board cups. Spectators will also be able to cheer competitors on using biocomposite stadium horns, in which renewable wood fibres are used instead of fossil-based materials. Stora Enso is also providing all the printing and office papers needed for Lahti 2017, and has already provided book paper for new books related to the Championships.

Tells us how Stora Enso's sponsorship of Lahti 2017 ties in with the company philosophy?

The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti are a great opportunity for Stora Enso to show how everything that is made with fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Beyond sustainable events with renewable materials for packaging, biomaterials, wood products and paper, we see even greater opportunities. Trees absorb carbon dioxide during their lifetime, and products made from wood provide low-carbon alternatives to many products made from non-renewable materials.

At Stora Enso, we are constantly innovating and developing new solutions made of wood. We are excited to see how our renewable products and new applications can be used in Lahti − and how the Championships will take one step further on the journey towards more sustainable spectator events.

We hear Stora Enso employees are very committed to Lahti 2017. Can you tell us more?

In autumn 2016 more than 4,000 Stora Enso employees around the world participated in a well-being challenge,  with the goal to win VIP tickets to Lahti 2017. The challenge was designed to promote healthy and active lifestyles among our employees, while also boosting team spirit. Teams of 8-12 employees collected points by registering their sports activities. The winning team came from Stora Enso’s Langerbrugge paper mill in Belgium. By exercising, the teams also raised funds for charity. The winning team will present a donation to Save the Children in Lahti on 25 February. With the donation from Stora Enso's employees, Save the Children will be able for example to provide food aid for over 1,200 children in crisis areas. When added up, all of the exercise done by Stora Enso’s employees during the challenge adds up to 43 laps around the world, which equals 37 years of physical activity.