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Södra to invest in bark-based tanning agent production at Varo mill in Sweden

SWEDEN (News release) -- Södra is investing in a production line at Värö which will create a vegetable tanning agent from bark. This new tannin can be used to process leather in a more environmentally friendly way. Scheduled to be commissioned in 2026, the plant will have the capacity to produce tannins for millions of square metres of leather.

Södra's Board of Directors has approved the project which will be an integral part of the Värö mill and is expected to be able to produce tanning material equivalent to millions of square metres of leather.

"This investment decision fits well with our overall ambition to increase the added value from every tree and thus contribute to the profitability of our members' forest estates," explains Lotta Lyrå, CEO of Södra. Developing more environmentally friendly alternatives by making additional products from the forest is an excellent example of how we use our experience, knowledge and innovation expertise to make the most of the forest's resources.

Since 2006, Södra Innovation, a business area within the member-owned forest group, Södra, has been exploring how tannins found in the bark of trees can be efficiently processed and used as tanning agents. Using bark for tanning is not new, but Södra is now industrialising the process in which the tanning substance is leached from the bark and turned into a product for tanning leather.

"With this new patented process, we can now make a product from an, until now, unused resource. A product that can be used in a completely different industry and support the leather industry in its transition to more sustainable tanning methods," says Catrin Gustavsson, Business Area Manager at Södra Innovation.

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