Partnership with Treesearch is a peerless opportunity to develop the future of packaging
We are convinced that working together with other companies, universities and research institutes is the best way to tap into new thinking concerning improved packaging materials, solutions and a circular approach.
One way to achieve this is the initiative Treesearch, a Swedish collaboration platform for fundamental research, knowledge and competence-building in the field of new and improved materials and speciality chemicals from forest raw material. The initiative involves the academic community, industry, private foundations and the Swedish government, with the aim of converting fundamental and pioneering research into hi-tech innovations to meet the challenges posed by climate change.
Billerud has been involved in Treesearch since the start back in 2017.
Treesearch was established based on a desire among the largest forest companies in Sweden to invest on a national scale in future solutions based on raw material from Swedish forests, and to secure a solid supply of skilled young professionals and research results to support the competitiveness of the forest industry. More companies joined in as the programme progressed and a vision was created for long-term and cohesive investment in bio-based materials and chemicals from forest raw material.
“Billerud's involvement was imperative in developing the collaboration platform, and that useful synergies could be established within the industry. A good deal of research simply cannot be started without a firm connection to industrial challenges. The industry has a key role to play in Treesearch; it is the reason why Treesearch was set up in the first place, and it is driving the work forward,” says Daniel Söderberg, Director of Treesearch.
“By joining forces, we create a platform where various partners can work together, and it is this working relationship that boosts efficiency, making it possible to achieve new developments more quickly. Running projects with different universities opens up the opportunity to work in environments where the researchers are already active, enabling the industry to pick up the results at an earlier stage. And it is here that Billerud has proved to be an excellent partner,” he continues.
Billerud contributes with competence, project partnerships, and raw material
“Treesearch brings together most players and also supports the Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC), both through direct industrial cofounding of the research together with the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and involved universities, but also by extending the nationwide reach of research results, ensuring that they benefit many more people than would otherwise be the case. Billerud contributes with competence, project partnerships, and raw material. All contributions of knowledge regarding how we can close material flows and make greater use of renewable raw materials have the potential to be relevant in the context of climate issues,” explains Eva Malmström, Director of WWSC.
Since 2017, Billerud has run several projects for which we have been able to find funding through our membership in Treesearch. An example is the collaboration with researchers at Lund University to develop applications for FibreForm®. The researchers have characterized the fiber structure in our commercial product to understand what its performance (in terms of stretchability) is based on, using advanced 3D microscopy.
Through Treesearch training platform, we have also provided training and enhanced the skills of a large number of employees. With easy access to advanced research infrastructure, we have been able to accelerate the development of new products.
“Treesearch is important to Billerud. The packaging industry faces significant challenges in the transition to sustainable and fully recyclable packaging. We believe that material from the forests plays a pivotal role in the various solutions, and to achieve our goals in this regard, we need pioneering research outcomes and innovative thinking to develop our products and processes. We also need highly skilled people and a strong partnership between the industrial and academic sectors, united by a common desire to see the forest industry as vital to the future of the bioeconomy," says Mikael Nilsson, Senior Director Innovation, Product & Application Development at Billerud.
"Treesearch is all about achieving that shared desire and creating a common pool of knowledge, backed by skilled people, to support our journey into the future,” he continues.
We at Billerud believe that co-creating the future of packaging is crucial to opening new doors and helping to improve everyday life. That is why Treesearch is such an important partnership programme for us.