Apple chief executive Tim Cook re-lived some student memories when he visited the Iggesund Paperboard paper mill and forest in Sweden earlier this month.
Iggesund’s Invercote premium quality board was personally selected by the late Steve Jobs for Apple’s packaging, after employees scoured the world for suitable materials and presented him with a number of options.
Apple packaging has since become iconic for the attention to detail involved in the design and the enthusiasm for the ‘unboxing’ experience among the firm’s customers.
Cook’s visit was instigated by Apple, and followed on from a delegation of Apple buyers and packaging development team members the previous week. However, the CEO’s papermaking know-how came as something of a surprise to his team.
“He had actually worked in a paper mill in Alabama when he was a student, so when he saw our 270m-long paperboard machine he started to climb up to take a closer look!” said public relations manager Staffan Sjöberg.
Cook also planted a tree in the forest, which he described as “breathtaking”, and quipped that he would revisit the site to check on the tree’s progress in 80 years.
Iggesund has sales of more than €500m (£446m) and is part of the SEK15.5bn turnover Holmen Group, which manages 1m hectares of productive forest in Sweden. Holmen chief executive Henrik Sjölund used Cook’s visit as an opportunity to highlight the benefits of sustainable forestry and long-term investments.
“We have been harvesting and maintaining Swedish forests in a traditional and sustainable way for the past 400 years. Everything starts with long-term sustainable forestry. For us it is natural to work in a climate-compensating way and based on a value chain where all stages are important,” he stated.
“Iggesund is a good example of a climate-smart combine where we feed in forest raw materials and produce bioenergy, paper pulp and paperboard.”
Cook met with Sjölund and Iggesund Paperboard CEO Daniel Peltonen during the trip.
The Holmen Group produces more than 30m tree seedlings annually, which meets Sweden’s legislated requirements for replanting after felling. Trees for its timber products are typically felled after 90 years, and the group has a felling plan that looks 100 years into the future.
Iggesund also has an integrated pulp and paper mill at Workington in Cumbria, which makes its Incada grade.