Empowering the transition

Paper Province is entering the new year with more member companies, employees, and projects than ever before.

“This strengthens the shared muscles that we as a cluster need to lead the transition towards a more climate-friendly society by utilizing the forest”, says Sandra Sundbäck, CEO of Paper Province.

As a business cluster in the forest bioeconomy sector, Paper Province connects ideas, companies, academia, municipalities, and regions that can support and drive the green transition.

“For more than 20 years we have worked as one in this region to create Paper Province – a framework teeming with knowledge and opportunities, that strengthens the forest’s contribution in the transition to a climate-neutral society”, says Sandra Sundbäck.

“The Swedish forest is a vast and renewable resource that attracts many stakeholders, but we must use it wisely. We want every tree that is felled to be refined in a way that allows it to reach its maximum potential. To achieve that goal we need to be open-minded, innovative and collaborative, and that is the core business of a cluster.”

From pulp and paper to bioeconomy

Since the start in 1999, much has happened in the making of a world-leading cluster. From the beginning, Paper Province comprised less than ten member companies in the form of local paper and pulp mills in mid-Sweden. Today, it is a collaborative arena of almost 120 member companies connected to the forest value chain.

The member companies are wide-ranging. Paper and pulp mills are still important pieces of the puzzle, but so are subcontractors and companies in industries such as energy, machinery, construction, chemistry, engineering, and even tourism. Also, innovative start-ups that benefit from industry collaboration to enter the market, have become a natural part of the community.

“The common denominator is that all members contribute to the green transition with the help of renewable raw materials sprung from the forest”, says Sandra Sundbäck.

Growing and becoming more visible

In 2021, Paper Province as an organization grew with more employees, and the number of projects increased by more than 30 percent compared with the previous year.

The projects that Paper Province coordinates or participates in contribute to sustainable development, in various ways. The projects are often funded by regional funds, Swedish authorities, or European funding programmes.

“For example, we are currently participating in projects that promote gender equality in the forest industry, increases industrial wood construction, boosts company’s digitsation, and stimulate innovations linked to the forest material lignin”, says Sandra Sundbäck.

“Our visibility is increasing too”, says Annica Åman, Communications Manager. “Since we started measuring engagement and visibility in 2017, we have gained an average of 349 percent more followers in social media and web traffic has more than doubled”.