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SB meets… Suvi Reinikkala, Anora Group

Anora Group’s marketing director of spirits discusses why sustainability is crucial to the company’s long-term success.

Suvi Reinikkala, marketing director of spirits, Anora Group

What targets has Anora Group set to improve its carbon footprint?

We have high ambitions that our own production is carbon neutral by 2030, and our Koskenkorva Distillery is carbon neutral by 2026 – both without compensations. We support regenerative farming, and we aim to increase the share of regeneratively farmed barley to 30% of our grain spirits products by 2030. We enhance the circular economy by reducing wastewater by 20%, increasing the recycling rate of waste to 90%, and reducing landfill waste to zero by 2030. And by 2030 all our packages will be light in weight, 100% recyclable, and made of materials from certified sources or from recycled origin. The CO₂ footprint of Anora packaging is well below the industry average.

Why did Anora Group buy 3.5m kg of regeneratively farmed barley this year?

A lot of farming is done in a way that’s called monoculture. It forces farmers to use a lot of pesticides and fertilisers that end up in waterbodies, and essentially make them toxic to wildlife. The soil gets worse and produces fewer crops. Regenerative farming makes the soil richer, increases biodiversity, helps it retain more water and nutrients, and produces more crops. And at the same time, it draws carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in the ground. But it requires a big shift in thinking. You need to rotate crops. Instead of simply taking resources from nature, regenerative farming is a part of nature’s natural cycle. If everyone in the world farmed regeneratively, we might be able to remove as much as 322 billion tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere.

Does it affect the flavour of the spirit?

To be honest we were surprised that it actually does slightly. The flavour of regeneratively farmed barley-produced vodka is fuller and deeper in a very pleasant way, which also makes it even more smooth on the palate.

How has Anora Group worked to improve the sustainability of its spirits packaging?

Over the past few years, Anora has increasingly shifted from glass bottles to alternative packaging materials, such as fully recyclable PET plastic bottles. With a 60%–90% lower carbon footprint than glass bottles, our innovative PET bottles and recyclable bag-in-boxes offer better options for the environment, and are at the core of Anora’s packaging strategy. With rPET (where ‘r’ stands for recycled), the carbon footprint is even smaller. We aim to increase the share of rPET to 50% by the year 2025 and to a full 100% by 2030.

Is it more expensive to work with sustainable products and use more eco-friendly processes?

Sustainable products and processes often require initial investments in research, development, and infrastructure. Implementing renewable energy systems or upgrading manufacturing equipment to reduce emissions can come with higher upfront costs. While sustainable products may have a higher initial cost, they often lead to long-term savings.

What was the response to the launch of Koskenkorva Vodka Climate Action?

Amazing. The fact that we do real things as a company that then translate into benefits for the planet, is something consumers have really embraced.

Is Anora Group on track to achieve the targets outlined in the company’s Sustainability Roadmap?

Yes, we are on track with our key initiatives and have been able to increase our ESG rating systematically. However, sustainability is a journey and we are an open book about our journey.

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