BRAZIL – Brazilian pulp and paper company, Suzano is launching a global corporate venture capital initiative through which it will invest US$70 million in a range of businesses to address environmental challenges.

The global initiative, called Suzano Ventures, will focus on companies operating within at least one of four bioeconomy applications including improving the measurement and management of carbon sequestration.

The venture capital will also focus on accelerating and maximizing agroforestry yield, developing new technologies and applications for pulp biomass, and creating more efficient pulp packaging from renewable sources.

All investments will be aligned with Suzano’s ethos of ‘innovability’, the pursuit of sustainable solutions through innovation, which is at the core of all of Suzano’s operations.

Suzano Ventures will also have a structure of acceleration programs to leverage solutions that are in the laboratory phase or seeking commercial validation (pre-Seed).

We see increasing demand from consumers and wider stakeholders for high-quality and [environmentally] sustainably sourced and manufactured products,” said Julio Ramundo, Director of Carbon Businesses and Corporate Ventures at Suzano.

“Suzano has established Suzano Ventures to ensure support and finance for the fast-growing ecosystem of entrepreneurs who are bringing fresh thinking and ideas to the bioeconomy and the wider environmental challenges we are all facing.”

Suzano Ventures is focusing on two specific areas within renewable packaging to make this process as efficient and environmentally sustainable as possible.

The first of these is examining new pulp and paper packaging solutions featuring barrier technologies to improve the shelf life of materials. We are seeking to enhance product resistance to oxygen, water vapor and grease,” explains Ramundo.

In addition, we are seeking innovations to paper production and formulation which will improve tear-resistance, porosity and flexibility, making it more suitable for use in packaging.”

The second area is more related to the production and manufacturing process by using fewer raw materials and developing the best renewable feedstock to increase efficiency through the value chain.

Ramundo highlights that the primary challenges concerning the creation of pulp packaging are cost-competitiveness and scalability.

There are many innovative early-stage solutions still needing support to evolve in terms of technology and efficiency so they can reach the stage where they deliver the same or better performance than fossil-based solutions, which often have many decades of research behind them,” he says.

The company aims to meet increasing consumer demands by accelerating innovation in the sector through the growth of these pioneering companies and driving forward positive change.

Suzano has had a long history of backing new ideas and evolving throughout its 98-year history.

The company has invested in a number of start-ups in recent years as part of its efforts to identify new everyday sustainable uses for eucalyptus biomass.

Among its most recent successes is Spinnova, a Finnish company that has developed the technology to produce a highly sustainable textile fiber made from wood-based pulp fiber.

Liked this article? Subscribe to our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s packaging and printing industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE.