Where does your paper come from?

All paper originates from the forest. And all the wood used by Holmen to make its paper in Sweden can be traced back to its source. Traceability is vital in ensuring that the fresh fibre comes from responsible and sustainable forestry.

The paper manufactured at Holmen’s Swedish mills (Braviken and Hallsta Paper Mills) is based on fresh spruce fibre from responsibly managed forests. The origin is guaranteed through traceability certification and procedures for controlled raw materials.

“Holmen’s ability to trace the raw material used in its paper production provides a cast-iron guarantee for our customers, which in turn gives them a solid foundation for their own sustainability work,” states Tommy Wiksand, who heads up Holmen Paper’s product and business development.

Traceability with clear procedures

Holmen’s forestry, sawmills and paper mills all carry FSC® (FSC-ID) and PEFC™ Chain of Custody certification. All the wood raw material used in Holmen’s paper manufacture in Sweden is traceable and there are procedures and certifications in place that cover the whole chain – from the planting of trees all the way to the end product.

“Our procedures begin with each consignment of wood from the forest being given an ID number, which accompanies it from the harvesting site to the sawmills and the paper mills. At the same time, we also register information such as geographical location, owner data, wood volume and date of harvesting. The procedures and our certifications are a guarantee for anyone buying paper from Holmen,” relates Göran From, wood procurement manager at Holmen Skog.

Common misconception

Even paper based on recovered fibre originally comes from the forest. When it comes to paper manufacture, there is a common misconception that recovered fibre is always a better environmental choice as a raw material than fresh fibre. The debate needs to be a little more nuanced, according to Jeanette Tretten, communications manager at Holmen Skog:

“The debate is missing the key point, that all paper is originally made using fibre that comes from the forest. But using recovered paper as your base means you’re unable to trace the raw material back to its source, and therefore you can’t always know whether the trees have been managed responsibly.

“It is of course great that paper can be recovered, but it’s worth noting that the lack of traceability for the recovered fibre creates a difference between paper based on fresh fibre and paper made from recovered fibre,” continues Jeanette.

Fresh fibre-based paper is also necessary for the system of recovered paper not to collapse. Wood fibre can only be recycled around 5–7 times and the ecocycle therefore has to be continuously topped up with paper made from fresh fibre.

Holmen supplies the European recovered paper ecocycle with raw material through its production of fresh fibre based paper, which is recycled as recovered paper in the next phase. Holmen and other paper manufacturers run a recovered paper collection scheme in Sweden that is achieving good results. Over 90 per cent of all printing paper is collected and recycled.

Another crucial difference between fresh fibre-based paper and recovered paper, apart from traceability, is the feel of the paper and its properties. Tommy Wiksand explains:

“Fresh fibre-based paper has a stiffness that makes it possible to achieve thicker sheets. It also allows more scope to tweak the brightness. The result is a paper with a completely different feel.”

Thinning for better forest growth

Holmen’s fresh fibre-based paper is made from the raw material generated during thinning work in the forests and from sawmill chips supplied by Holmen’s sawmills. Thinning is a natural and necessary process, where the less well developed trees in the forest are cut down to provide more space, light and nutrients for the trees that remain in place.

Another common misconception surrounding paper manufacturers is that they lay waste to forests in pursuit of raw materials, and so Europe’s forests are under threat. Jeanette responds:

“Deforestation certainly is a major problem in some countries. But not in Sweden. Sweden currently has twice as much forest as it had 100 years ago. And this growth has occurred while we’ve been managing and using the forest, for example to manufacture paper.”

Holmen is the fourth largest forest owner in Sweden, owning more than 1 million hectares of forest land. Jeanette is clear about the responsibility that comes with forest ownership:

“At Holmen, we manage our forest from a perspective of long-term sustainability. As such, our planning stretches 100 years into the future. As part of our strategy to ensure regeneration of the forest, for example, we plant at least two new trees for each one we harvest.

“It’s important to us that the public understands how we manage and use the forest in a responsible way. The pulp used for paper production comes from sawmill chips and thinning. So when we ‘chop down trees to make paper’, we’re simply helping the forest to grow even more healthily,” she concludes.

"Deforestation certainly is a major problem in some countries. But not in Sweden. Sweden currently has twice as much forest as it had 100 years ago. And this growth has occurred while we’ve been managing and using the forest, for example to manufacture paper"

-Jeanette Tretten

Traceability certification in a nutshell

In order to attain FSC® Chain of Custody certification, wood traders must have a quality management system for internal procedures, be able to check the origin of the sawn timber/wood fibre and be able to conduct periodic checks of and document the trade in certified wood.

PEFC’s™ Chain of Custody certification sets criteria concerning traceability, source verification, management systems and social requirements.

Holmen also holds FSC® Controlled Wood (FSC-ID) certification, which is a complement to the Chain of Custody certification. The Controlled Wood certification helps to ensure that 100 per cent of the wood raw material comes from a verified source.

Sources: www.holmen.com, www.se.fsc.org, www.pefc.se

Holmen’s certifications

Holmen Skog AB
Holmen Paper AB 
Holmen Timber AB
Holmen Mets AS
Iggesund Paperboard AB
Iggesund Paperboard (Workington) Ltd Iggesund Forestry (UK)


Holmen Skog AB
Holmen Paper AB
Holmen Timber AB
Iggesund Paperboard AB


EU Ecolabel
Holmen Paper AB
(Holmen TRND, Holmen VIEW
Holmen UNIQ, Holmen XLNT
Holmen BOOK, Holmen PLUS
Holmen NEWS 100 % recycled)

For more information about the sustainability work within the Holmen Group, please click on the link below to visit the sustainability web at holmen.com.




Holmen Paper
601 88 Norrköping

+46 11 - 23 50 00

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