Joint venture with Suzano - A win-win combination

At the end of February, we had the huge joy of announcing that we are building a joint venture factory for our sustainable fibre production with Suzano, our long-term, strategic partner. As many great ventures that surface in public, this too has been in the making for a long time. Although this is just the beginning, it's good to celebrate the moment and briefly stop to recap how we got here.

What made the world's largest wood pulp producer from Brazil take an interest in a Finnish innovation startup in 2017? The big picture here is that the pulp and paper industry has for long been on the lookout for new, value-added application areas for the wood raw material. Wood-based innovation is much needed and not just for profit, but for the planet. Being one of nature's most versatile, renewable building materials, cellulose can help mitigate climate change by replacing fossil fuel-based materials like plastic.

In this search for the innovations of the future, Suzano first approached Spinnova as part of its effort to develop applications for its micro fibrillated cellulose (MFC) in 2017. At the time, Suzano was advancing its MFC development. One of the first places to look for new, cellulose knowhow-based innovation was naturally Finland, the Silicon Valley of most things related to pulp and paper. In Spinnova's hometown Jyväskylä only, we have Spinnova's first home, the VTT, whose research and development in this area is unparalleled on a global level, and one of the largest paper technology companies, Valmet.

Consequently, Spinnova was on the lookout for a pulp producer to start developing MFC to ideally suit the sustainable fibre process, so this was a great match and timing. Suzano evaluated Spinnova's business model and understood this was a tremendous opportunity ahead, to diversify markets for their fibre, while providing the society with a disruptively sustainable solution in the textile industry.

We then started working together, first on a joint development agreement that entailed optimizing Suzano's MFC to make good quality textile fibre with our disruptive technology. Next big step for Spinnova was completing and ramping up an industrial scale pilot production line in 2018. Today, the pilot has been running for two years, and focusing on getting consistently good results with Suzano's MFC. And now, here we are: We have proof of concept from our technology, consistently good fibre properties with this raw material, and are in full speed building our first commercial facility together.

What's also great about this collaboration is that this factory, first of its kind in the world, will be located in Finland. Ground-breaking in itself, the innovation could also be a start of a new ecosystem in the Finnish textile industry that once bloomed but was then moved to low-cost countries. We hope our commitment speeds developments in this supply chain, creating jobs and growth for our country that helped bring our disruptive innovation to life in the first place.

When brave, passionate individuals and teams work together across continents, the outcome is industrial innovation history in the making.