Reshaping the forest-based bioeconomy through innovation

Project description

In May 2018, Metsä Group established an innovation company, Metsä Spring Ltd. Its mission is to identify and develop new business opportunities for the larger Metsä Group ecosystem, i.e. within the sustainable circular bioeconomy. Having a separate company was expected to significantly increase innovation efficiency and improve Metsä Group’s ability to support the development of technologies that take us towards a low-carbon economy.

Metsä Spring wants to find early-stage business ideas and take them to the ‘proof-of-concept’ phase, together with innovators, co-investors, industrial actors and other partners. If
proof of concept is achieved, industrial actors such as Metsä Group can take the idea to a larger scale. The new ideas can vary from manufacturing businesses to digital applications.
The most important criterion is that they offer sustainable, low-carbon solutions based on renewable wood. The first potential business idea in Metsä Spring’s portfolio is a new method for making textile fibres from wood. It is based on a novel concept with significantly lower environmental impact than conventional production.

Project purpose

Metsä Spring is essentially a new tool for accelerating the discovery of innovations. Broad collaboration with a variety of partners is essential for this purpose.

EU funding plays an important role in facilitating early-stage R&D, and financing is also available for more mature concepts. However, the ‘valley of death’ between these two phases, i.e. where the ideas are tested and further developed for market uptake readiness, often lacks proper financing resources. Metsä Spring helps its projects to cross this valley, and thus accelerates the EU’s innovation engine.


Niklas Von Weymarn

CEO Metsä Spring

It is important to develop new bioproducts to expand the portfolio of the forest industry. Wood-based textile fibres is a very promising area due to growing demand for sustainable fibres. Today, the production of cotton and oil-based textiles has notable environmental impacts.

Together with Japan’s Itochu Corporation, Metsä Spring is investing €40 million in building a demo plant with an annual capacity of 500 tonnes of textile fibre made from softwood pulp. The plant will be integrated with Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, Finland. If proof of concept is reached in the demo plant stage, Metsä Group could proceed to developing the idea on an industrial scale. This is a natural first project for Metsä Spring.


Main features:


Companies, research and financing institutions.