We work for a better ​climate and environment


Environmental management

The main principles of Metsä Board’s Environmental Policy are environmental responsibility, energy, water and material efficiency, the promotion of sustainable forestry and requiring environmental and social responsibility from our suppliers.

When defining our opportunities and challenges with regard to sustainability or our competitiveness, we need to also carefully consider global macro trends such as: climate change, the global scarcity of water, deforestation, ever tightening regulations on transportation and waste management, governmental incentives for the use of wood in energy generation, and energy taxation. Our analyses of the future prospects for Metsä Board indicate that our business provides good opportunities, but that there are also some risks requiring active mitigation.

Managing environmental impacts

We work actively to minimise and manage all environmental impacts related to our operations. We take a proactive approach to environmental risk management that includes assessing, monitoring and mitigating all the environmental risks related to our partners’ operations as well as our own operations. We manage environmental risks by complying with the limits set in the mills’ environmental permits on factors such as discharges to water, emissions to air, noise, and accidental releases. We also conduct regular environmental risk analyses and audits at our production units.

All Metsä Board’s production units have certified ISO 9001 quality systems and ISO 14001 environmental management systems in place, as well as a PEFC™ and FSC® certified chain of custody system that enables the amount of certified wood in our products to be reliably verified. Our certified quality and environmental systems are integrated with the chain of custody system which allows us to track and control the origin of all the wood we use.

All our production units have also introduced the certified Energy Efficiency System (EES), which serves as a systematic management tool for reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, and all our units are certified according to the ISO 50 001 Energy management system.

At an operational level, Metsä Board’s production units continuously carry out small scale investment projects designed to upgrade their production facilities and to reduce environmental loads and environmental risks at our mills. These upgrades have focused on making more efficient use of raw materials, water and energy, as well as on reducing emissions.

Green finance at Metsä Board

Metsä Group, which Metsä Board is a part of, has a Green Finance Framework, which integrates sustainable development and climate change mitigation to Metsä Group’s financing activities. Metsä Board’s future financing may be arranged under this framework.

The Green Finance Framework focuses on environmentally sustainable investments such as increasing the share of renewable energy, improving resource and energy efficiency or reducing the water usage. The framework is based on Metsä Group’s strategy and sustainability targets for 2030.

Read more about green finance on Metsä Board's webpage for investors.

Mitigating climate change

At Metsä Board, mitigating climate change is at the core of our sustainability targets. We focus on developing our operations in order to further reduce fossil carbon dioxide emissions and to improve our energy efficiency.

We have reduced our fossil-based CO2 emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2) by 9% per tonne produced since 2018. The previous reduction in 2009–2018 was 48%. We will continue cutting our fossil-based CO2 emissions in line with the 2030 target to have zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by the end of 2030. Our targets for reducing emissions have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, and they meet the strictest requirements of the Paris Agreement which aim to limit global warming to 1.5 °C degrees.

Our climate change mitigation efforts have been recognised by CDP which has placed Metsä Board on the Climate A list six years in a row between 2016-2021. This positioning recognises our activities to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks and develop the low-carbon economy. In addition, Metsä Board is placed on CDP’s Supplier Engagement Rating Leaderboard for supply chain engagement on climate issues.

Metsä Board’s CO2 emissions including all production sites:

​Emissions to Air (t)
​CO2 Biogenic
1 812 952
​1 815 179
1 837 299
​CO2 Scope 1
​240 036
248 274
288 579
​CO2 Scope 2 market-based
​272 115
250 742
275 048
​CO2 Scope 2 location-based
​373 816
374 409
416 789
​CO2 Scope 3
1 798 081*
​1 026 896
1 058 455

*In 2020 two new categories (Processing of sold products and End of life treatment of sold products) were added in the Scope 3 emission calculations. Calculation methodology related to purchased chemicals (category 1) was also updated.

Focus on fossil free energy

Metsä Board's target is that by the year 2030 our mills will not use any fossil fuels in our production units nor purchase any fossil based energy to be used in our production. As much as 83% of Metsä Board’s total energy consumption in 2020 was based on fossil free energy. Of the total energy consumption, 48% was based on renewable energy, mostly from the utilisation of wood-based side streams from our processes (black liquor, bark, logging residue), while 35% was nuclear energy. Fossil fuels covered 17% of the company’s energy need.

Reaching the fossil free mills target requires further improvement of energy efficiency and mill-specific actions will be taken to decrease the share of fossil fuels. The renewal of Husum mill has a major role in reaching our target of fossil free mills.

The entire Metsä Group produces 15% of the renewable energy in Finland. Metsä Board contributes to this stake by its biopower plants that are located at the mill sites in Äänekoski, Kyro, Simpele and Husum.


We are constantly striving to make our energy consumption as efficient as possible. In 2020, Metsä Board’s energy efficiency improved by 2% compared to the base year 2018. During the period 2009–2018 the improvement was 12 %.

We invest in energy-efficient technology. Recent examples include:

  • The investment in mechanical water removal in Joutseno BCTMP mill increases the dry material content of BCTMP before the drying section. This saves 18 000 MWh process heat and process fuel annually. In addition, the heat recovery has been improved by 2 400 MWh.
  • The investment in mechanical drying of sludge and bark in the waste water treatment plant in Simpele mill saves 11 000 MWh process fuel annually.
  • The renewal of the steam and condensate system in Tako mill saves fuel 8 000 MWh annually.
Energy efficiency improvement 2018–2020
Reduction of fossil CO2 emissions per product tonne 2018-2020
Share of fossil free energy of total energy consumption in 2020
Climate related risks and opportunities

Metsä Board carefully considers the climate related risks and opportunities that may affect the implementation of the company’s strategy and on how short-term and long-term objectives are met. The climate related risk assessments include current and emerging regulation, technology requirements, market situation, supply chain, reputation risks and physical risks such as temperature changes and water availability. Metsä Board’s operations regularly assess and monitor the risk environment and any changes in it. Identified risks and the means to control them are reported to Board of Directors at least twice a year.

Metsä Board’s disclosures on climate-related risks and opportunities according to the recommendations of TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) is published in the Report of the Board of Directors (pdf).

Sustainable water use

Water is vital for paperboard manufacturing, because water is needed at every stage of production: water keeps logs fresh; it helps to separate wood fibres for the paperboard production process; and it transports the fibres to different stages of the production process. Water is also needed for cleaning, cooling, and in smaller quantities to create steam for thermal energy production.

However, rather than just using the water, it is recycled – the process water flows through the mill’s systems several times. After the use, the process water is cleaned thoroughly before it is returned back into nature. 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.

Given the need for water in manufacturing, all Metsä Board’s mills have been built alongside lakes and rivers. This safeguards a continuous availability of clean water for our processes. Still, our operations do not prevent or weaken any other parties’ access to water, for example agriculture.

Using the rich water resources responsibly

Metsä Board’s mills are located in the Nordic countries which is one of the world's water richest regions. The company does not source any water from areas with high or extremely high water stress (WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas).

Nevertheless, we still continuously seek new ways to minimise the use of fresh water in our processes, for instance by recycling our process waters effectively. This minimises our wastewater emissions and saves energy, therefore reducing impacts on the climate. The percentages of recycled and reused water vary from mill to mill, mainly depending on product quality requirements and local water conditions. Our mills have each set their own targets and continuous improvement plans for water use as part of their environmental management systems. Metsä Board has additionally launched a project to calculate the water footprint of our products based on a life cycle assessment.

As an example, replacing clean raw water with recycled water in debarking and grinding in Metsä Board’s Simpele mill saves water 495 000 cubic metres annually.

The investment in the new disc filter at Husum paperboard mill enabled water savings of 11.5 million cubic metres in 2019. At the same time the investment decreases energy consumption and thus lowers carbon dioxide emissions.

Metsä Board’s sustainable water use is recognised by CDP which placed Metsä Board on the Water A List in 2021 for the sixth time.

Water taken from surface waters

In 2020 Metsä Board’s fresh water intake totalled 114 million cubic metres, of which the share of process water was 62 million cubic metres. All process water was taken from surface waters such as rivers and lakes. Our process water use per product tonne decreased by 7.7% in 2018-2020. The previous reduction in 2010-2018 was 20%.

100% of Metsä Board's process water is surface water
Some 99% of the water used in production is returned to waterways after careful purification
Reduction in use of process water per product tonne 2018–2020

Effective wastewater treatment

Our process waters are carefully cleaned before they are released back into rivers, lakes or the sea. Most of our mills operate their own wastewater purification plants. Furthermore, each mill has its own specific environmental and water permits setting strict limits for pollutant concentrations in released wastewater. 99% of the water used in our production processes is returned back to nearby waterways after careful purification.

Resource efficiency

Metsä Board uses materials and resources efficiently, striving to make more out of less. Material efficiency means efficient use of natural resources and efficient reuse of residuals and by-products. We work actively to prevent waste generation by enhancing our recovery processes, by seeking new ways to reuse residuals and by using organic waste to generate energy.

In many cases the residuals from our processes can be used as valuable raw material elsewhere.In 2020, 99% of side streams were utilised. Side streams consist of production waste and by-products such as ash used for fertilisers. Out of production waste 35% were reused as materials and 63% was incinerated to produce energy. Approximately 2%, was sent to landfill or treated as hazardous waste.


2% of production waste landfilled or treated as hazardous waste in 2020
98% of production waste reused as material or for energy production in 2020
Our target is to fully utilise all the production side streams by 2030