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Tobias Eriksson, Vice-President and Forest & Packaging Global leader at EFESO Consulting, had the pleasure to chair the C-Level panel discussions during the 2021 Dornbirn Global Fibre Congress. The discussions were centered on “Cross-industry and value chain collaboration on innovation for sustainability”. Six business leaders from different parts of the fibre industry and one non-governmental organization (NGO) spent an hour together sharing their thoughts, their responsibilities as leaders, and outlining ways forward.

We started the dialogue with the results of the short survey completed by the business leaders

dornbirn gfc ceo panel discussion key enablers

Here are EFESO’s key conclusions and quotes from the C-level panel discussion:

There is still 30-50% of potential to improve within company internal processes

  • “Continuous improvement is crucial – internal efficiency improvements”
  • “For example, we have a target to reduce wastewater by 30%”
  • “I am also an old-school person because I think about continuous improvement every day”
  • “Target setting in itself ignites creativity – especially when they are set at the grassroots level by our own people”
  • “The challenge is to detect where sustainability losses occur!”

Cross-industry and value chain collaboration is a must to prevent and eradicate sustainability losses

  • “Scope 3: This is where it becomes really interesting but also very complex -> we really need collaboration on a large scale in order to succeed”
  • Collaboration also to include politicians and all other stakeholders -> not only companies”

In order to become circular, recycling opportunities must be exploited across industries

  • “We need to focus on how our products are going to live cycle after cycle to ensure that the scarcity of raw materials is turned around so that one day we will start talking about actually restoring and regenerating resources”

Design for sustainability and cross value chain innovation are essential for achieving defined goals

  • “Design for sustainability is also very important (textile design etc.) -> we need to, for example, understand if we can fulfill the functionality specifications with monomaterial design"
  • “Another widely used mantra in the discussions today is that of circular design principles – how well do we really understand and use circular design principles in practice? Currently we are only taking baby steps on this”

Leaders need to act fast – we are already running out of time – and include all stakeholders in the process

  • “The only problem is that we are running out of time”
  • “Time is truly of the essence – the ambition level we need to tackle cannot be high enough”

We have to put the consumer experience at the center of the development throughout the whole value chain for the sustainability work to pay off

  • “The fiber industry is a multi-stage process far (5-6 steps) away from the consumer – and the good steps that the industry are doing are not reaching the consumer and that’s why we are not getting the premium for the value created”
  • “Putting the consumer experience in the center of development will be increasingly important – consumers are cruel, they will pick/choose what they really like”

New business models for economic growth need to be developed that are not volume growth based

  • “We have to balance the purpose and the profit – nothing will succeed if it’s not profitable, though”
  • “Experience over stuff”
  • “We cannot reduce consumption – it is out of the table”


Based on the insights from these discussions we see that involving all people within organizations to work systematically to eradicate losses with World Class Operations Management (WCOM™) models (or similar) is a powerful way to operationalize the sustainability agenda and make companies come closer to ultimate circular flows. You can start today, and you will get results today – and tomorrow.

Sustainable solutions are needed. Now. Consumers are willing to pay for them. How do we introduce new products with truly sustainable end-to-end value – all the way to the consumer? We reduce the struggles, unnecessary losses and assure success with our Early Product Management (EPM) methodology.

Many solutions are already available as seen at Dornbirn Global Fibre Congress. Future economic growth needs to be based on these sustainable solutions. How can we effectively feed the growth? We can support vertical start up (on time, in full and at budget) of new investments with less losses with our Early Equipment Management (EEM) methodology.

Innovation is not created alone – we need collaboration and cooperation along the full value chain. Supported by EFESO’s Concurrent Digital Value Chain (CDVC) model we turn supply chains digitally transparent, allowing concurrent interaction to avoid losses and promote collaboration – at the right moment.

Dornbirn GFC sets a great platform for future collaboration and networking, and we left the event inspired and filled with hope! Let us now together act and make a difference.

Legend / abbreviations

  • WCOM™ – involving all to systematically work with continuous improvements, increase efficiency and reduce sustainability losses
  • EEM – early equipment management – ensure vertical start-up of new sustainable solutions – to meet the consumer demand
  • EPD – loss understanding as input for the Early Product Management – design the products sustainable from the beginning – make sure you comply with all requirements from the beginning
  • CDVC – Concurrent Digital Value Chain – increase the transparency and collaboration throughout the value chain – boost innovation and reduce losses
  • Act now, act fast, act sustainable through a systematic approach!