Our paper - from the forest to mill, to the store

4 Sep 2019 • 5 minute read

Green Gift Cards enjoys a special relationship with Swedish paper manufacturer Iggesund with an exclusive supply agreement for products in the Invercote Duo range for use in the card market in the UK and Ireland.

Iggesund say making “nature’s best paperboard” is easy, albeit tongue in cheek but the principal is simple. You need water, carbon dioxide and sunlight to grow a seedling into a tree. Then you need sustainable forest management that can deliver first-class timber. There must be a pulp mill and a paperboard mill, ideally in the same location, and then distribution channels to get the paperboard to various destinations around the world. The Iggesund Mill in Sweden has traditions that can be traced back to 1685 but also today it is one of the most advanced, fully integrated pulp and paperboard mills in the world, not least thanks to their long-term majority owner who is constantly investing in their mills and technology. There are benefits to having an integrated saw mill as it allows Iggesund to manage raw material together and they can use all the waste from their production to either make pulp or energy. This allows them to feed the saw mill with steam used to dry the timber. At the Iggesund Mill, 100% of the pulp used to make Invercote is produced on site and pumped wet to the board machine. Not drying the pulp preserves some mechanical properties of the fibres. 

The advanced technology found in the hundreds of metres of paperboard machines means they can work around the clock and year-round to produce tonne after tonne of the bright white paperboard. Invercote’s unique properties are the result of the combination of technical expertise, innovation and cutting-edge technology. In 2012 a new recovery boiler was added at the Iggesund Mill which ensures the mill produces all the heat it needs and can also provide district heating to the nearby community. It also produces nearly all the electricity needed for the mill and is connected to the grid to be able to output excess electricity if needed to power other areas of Sweden. As the new boiler was brought into operation, it drastically reduced output of emissions from the mill between 2013 and 2014: fossil CO2 by >85%, particles by ~45% and sulphur by ~35%.

We consider the forests as the planet’s lungs. Well-managed forests transform carbon dioxide into life-giving oxygen and serve as nature’s own carbon storage solution and both Iggesund and parent company Holmen are committed to mitigating climate change and to managing their forests and manufacturing processes to the highest environmental standards. Replanting is a natural part of responsible forest management and harvested volumes are consistently lower than the growth rate, providing a 1% increase of standing timber volume per year in the group’s forests. 

They are so committed to this ethos that they have introduced a scheme that allows brands to plant trees in their name, giving them a way to follow the growth and development of the forests, with a Certificate of Care issued as a proof of trees planted in the brand’s name. I have had the benefit of visiting the forests and mill in Sweden and seen first-hand the process from seed quality control to sapling development and planting. There is science behind this seemingly simple and natural process and the way the forests are then managed is key, not only for harvest yield but also the careful balance for nature and the community to use the forests for recreation and enjoyment. The planning, technology and recording of tree locations and their place in the lifecycle of the forests is quite fascinating. Then finally, the mill itself is an incredibly efficient mix of technology, innovation, heavy industry, logistics and expertise from a dedicated work force combining to produce a product that is used by some of the biggest brands in the world who demand the highest standards. Green Gift Cards benefit from this and I would urge anyone keen to learn more about our material to visit the forests and mill for themselves to fully understand just how environmentally friendly this element of their card is.



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Introducing our range of plastic-free cards

Since 2006 we have been innovating and disrupting in the card market to develop what is a leading range of environmentally-friendly card solutions. So what sets us apart?

Well that’s the thing, there’s a number of reasons why Green Gift Cards are renowned in the world of card production. It is the material we use for our cards and the certification that the cards come with. It is also the compelling environmental story (we urge you to watch the video) that is behind all of our cards and the fact that, once finished with, our cards are compostable and can be recycled in normal household waste streams. Oh and we’ll say it again – being environmentally-friendly doesn’t mean they are more expensive. In fact they offer great value compared to plastic cards.

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