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24. juni 2022

Annica Bresky, President & CEO for Stora Enso, er en global rollemodel for sustainable change og var en af hovedtalerne på VL Døgnet i slutningen af maj. Annica Bresky repræsenterede hvordan en globalt førende virksomhed også kan blive førende indenfor reel transformation. Og på den måde være en rollemodel for mange andre virksomheder.

Mange VL-medlemmer var begejstrede for Annica Breskys oplæg – og blev nysgerrige efter mere konkrete anvisninger på, hvad man kan gøre for at få tempo på sin transformation. Det spurgte vi derfor Annica Bresky om efterfølgende.


Af Anders Monrad Rendtorff

What are the key focus areas in leading Stora Enso’s sustainable transformation?

We believe in doing what is right and right now, which is finding a way for humanity to continue living on this planet beyond 2050.  This drives us to develop and implement renewable and circular solutions that will meet our future needs in a sustainable way. We have come a long way in our transformation and most of our business today is in growth areas for renewable materials. One of the biggest and most important challenges now is to increase the pace of our innovation work. We continuously work on developing new materials from wood fiber that can replace fossil-based products. But innovation alone is not enough if we are to meet our customers’, and their customers’ demand for sustainable materials. To seriously compete with existing solutions, we need to bring these new products to market and successfully commercialize them. Here, it’s a lot about focus, which product areas should we invest in and allocate resources to, and which products and segments should we stay away from. Through a clear focus, we can also increase the growth rate. This became evident during the pandemic, when we learned that by focusing on the things, we can actually influence, we can maintain or even increase efficiency.


How do you work specifically to create change?

You set the example with your own behaviors, your actions and mindset.  We are in constant contact and discussion with our design and innovation centers to help make ideas practical. It starts and ends with people.  If you want to achieve change from the ground up, you must start with your most important asset; your employees and the organization in which they operate. To further accelerate innovation and commercialization and get closer to our customers, we have implemented a new, more decentralized organizational model. Our divisions are given greater freedom but also increased responsibility to run the business in line with our strategy. We are already seeing results from this with faster and smoother decision-making processes. It also improves our ability to act on the many events we now see in the world. Open and regular communication is also extremely important. We are a relatively large company with operations in many countries and work hard to reach as many people as possible. We use the channels that are available and regularly arrange popular ‘all-employee calls’ and webcasts where employees can actively participate and ask questions to me and the management team. Everybody in the organization needs to feel that they have a voice and can play a part in our transformation journey.  


What are your best insights and advice for leading sustainable change?

Clarity and responsibility are central to successful change leadership. When employees understand where the company is going and why, as well as how they themselves can contribute to that goal, a lot can be achieved. This is about clearly communicating our strategy, our goals and our values. Because if all 22,000 employees are to be able to deliver on our goals, they must be given an opportunity to clearly understand how they are linked to our strategy. And even if I do not always have all the answers, it is my responsibility to lead the business in the right direction. Change also means that you sometimes must make difficult decisions. In the end it’s about doing what’s best for the company’s future growth. Here, of course, it is valuable to surround yourself with a strong and well-functioning team that can support, but also challenge important decisions. Moreover, when working with strategic change management, it is important to build a diverse and open corporate culture with good career opportunities. By offering a stimulating career in a sustainability-driven environment, we can retain and attract the young talents that will drive growth in the future.

Stora Enso

Part of the global bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper, and one of the largest private forest owners in the world. We believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Sustainability and responsible business practices are deeply embedded in our strategy. Our low-carbon, fiber-based products are renewable and recyclable. They offer solutions to climate change and promote positive impacts on the environment, thus enabling our customers to become more eco-friendly. We employ some 22,000 people and our sales in 2021 were EUR 10.2 billion.

Annica Bresky

Annica Bresky

President and CEO of Stora Enso


Annica Bresky a global role model

Annica Bresky is the President and CEO of Stora Enso since December 2019, and member of the Group Leadership Team since joining the company in 2017. Before assuming the CEO position, Annica was Executive Vice President of Stora Enso’s Consumer Board Division. During her career, she has held various management positions, including President and CEO of Iggesund Paperboard AB from 2013-2017 and Managing Director at BillerudKorsnäs AB from 2010-2013. Annica Bresky is a board member of Fagerhult AB, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the Swedish Forest Industries Federation (Skogsindustrierna). She is also a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) and the Executive Committee of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Annica holds an Executive MBA and a M.Sc. in Aquatic and Environmental Engineering

See the session with Annica Bresky speaking at the VL Summit