Suominen’s vision is to be the frontrunner for nonwovens innovation and sustainability. As a concrete step towards the frontrunner position in sustainability, we are continuously developing new sustainable products. In addition, we are calculating the carbon footprint of our nonwovens. This information helps customers make sustainability-related decisions that are based on facts.
Many of the biggest global challenges and concerns of our time are related to environmental issues, such as the very topical marine plastic pollution problem, and climate change. As consumer awareness and concern about these issues continues to grow, it is impacting their buying behavior – and increasing the demand for more sustainable solutions. This creates market opportunities for companies that are able to address these challenges and meet the demand for sustainable products and solutions – such as sustainable nonwovens.
Sustainability is embedded in Suominen’s new strategy, with Sustainability leadership as one of the five strategic focus areas. As part of the work to renew our business strategy, we also revised our sustainability agenda to fully support the achievement of the sustainability and growth targets stated in our vision and strategy. The agenda defines the development of more sustainable nonwovens as an area on which Suominen will put added focus.
It is important for us to have an open dialogue with our customers concerning the environmental impacts of different nonwovens, including their greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our customers want to meet the growing demand for more sustainable products. This desire also steers their choice of nonwovens and other materials they use in their own production and that is why they are seeking reliable and objective information about the environmental impacts of our products. One way that we are serving customers in this is by producing product-specific carbon footprint calculations,” explains Sustainability Specialist Minna Päällysaho.
A carbon footprint measures the total greenhouse gas emissions generated throughout a product’s value chain. Greenhouse gases are generated in the different production phases of the value chain, in transportation, and in the latter part of the value chain when a product is used and finally disposed.
“We are conducting calculations of how much greenhouse gases are emitted in the production of different nonwovens – from cradle to our factory gate – and offer this information to our customers. Our customers can utilize this information when they are choosing the most suitable nonwoven for their purposes and, for example, addressing the changing demand they encounter,” Päällysaho says.
The carbon footprints are only the first step. Suominen also has plans to make the other environmental impacts of its products readily accessible to its customers.
What causes climate change and how to mitigate it?
Climate change is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere due to human activities, such as fossil fuel consumption in electricity and heat production and transportation.
In general, the increased use of renewable, biobased or recycled raw materials and energy sources is seen as one solution to reduce dependency on fossil materials and to mitigate climate change. An example of another solution is to improve the energy efficiency of industrial processes and all sorts of buildings.
To make choices that support the mitigation of climate change, both consumers and companies need fact-based information on the climate impact of different raw materials and products. A carbon footprint calculation shows the total greenhouse gas emissions that are generated throughout a product’s value chain. This information supports companies when they are deciding on which raw materials and components they will use in their own production in order to meet the growing demand for sustainable products.