At Fibria, innovation is present in all business areas. The company invests in the development of technologies and innovations aligned with its strategy of generating maximum value from its planted forests. This involves developing products and services capable of maximizing productivity, optimizing costs and anticipating trends and clients’ expectations, while also offering opportunities to substitute fossil-based products in new markets. In this scenario, competitive innovation is a key company attribute.
Fibria’s innovation-governance process includes an Innovation Committee reporting directly to the Board of Directors, whose purpose is to ensure the strategic alignment of innovative initiatives and the resources needed to execute them.
In addition to promoting sustainable gains in forest productivity and continuous improvement in current processes and products (5th Investor Tour 2016; slides 84-86), Fibria has expanded its ownership interests in high-technology companies, such as CelluForce in Canada (Fibria Release), the world leader in nanocrystalline cellulose; U.S.-based Ensyn Corporation (Fibria release; “A vez das biorrefinarias“; “A nova energia do eucalipto”) , which specializes in renewable fuels; and Spinnova in Finland (Fibria release), a startup dedicated to the production of textile threads made from pulp fibers.
The Technology & Innovation Department is responsible for spearheading innovation in the fields of classic genetic improvement, biotechnology, forest management and protection, bioclimatology, pulp products, industrial processes and biorefinery, which is supported by annual investments corresponding to 0.7% of the company’s net sales. In addition to the comprehensive field testing networks at all of its operating units, Fibria also has three laboratories with advanced research and development infrastructure, which are located in Aracruz, Espírito Santo, in Jacareí, São Paulo and in Burnaby, Canada, which is called Fibria Innovations. The unit conducts cutting-edge research into applications for lignin, which accounts for some 30% of a eucalyptus tree and is currently used in the industrial process to generate electricity. The research conducted by Fibria Innovations seeks to develop new higher-value applications for this material.
More than just a new overseas company, Fibria Innovations is a center of excellence with a dedicated technical team of 12 scientists. It is a science hub that will give us the technology needed to potentially transform lignin into a new business opportunity for Fibria.
The innovation management model also includes teams dedicated to regulatory issues, intellectual property, competitive intelligence and technological prospecting, in order to ensure the adoption of best market practices and adequate support to the development of the area’s projects.
Thanks to a highly skilled and diversified team of professionals with master’s degrees and doctorates in the fields of knowledge related to the current business and to future demands, as well as partnerships with top universities and research institutes in Brazil and abroad (5th Investor Tour 2016, slide 88; “Fibria e Suécia fazem parceria para investir em biorrefinaria”), Fibria is one of the most innovative companies in its industry and the only pulp and paper producer to receive the ANPEI Seal of an Innovative Company from the National Association for Research, Development and Engineering by Innovative Companies (ANPEI).
Apart from the innovation conducted by Fibria and its partners, in 2017 August the company created the open innovation platform Fibria Insight, through which it poses challenges to prospect new partners, especially startups and entrepreneurs, in order to expand possibilities of development and apply technologies that are relevant for the business.
The innovations developed by Fibria have contributed significantly to the productivity and quality of its forests, while also mitigating the impacts of climate change. Moreover, highlights aligned with the attribute Focus on the Client include product differentiation and customization (“Tissue World Milan 2017”; “Tissue World São Paulo”; 5th Investor Tour 2016, slides 84-86), such as the pulp EucaStrong, which can potentially replace softwood pulp, and the chlorine-free pulp TCF that complies with the industry’s most rigorous environmental requirements.
On the new business front, Fibria invests in technologies to support the development of its biostrategy, which include disruptive innovation projects in bio-oil, lignin, microfiber pulp, crystalline nanocellulose and biocomposites. (5th Investor Tour 2016, screens 87-102; “A fórmula de crescimento da Fibria”; “O protagonismo da indústria florestal na sociedade”)
This entire process gives Fibria a competitive advantage, as demonstrated by, for example, the more than 300 patents it holds involving forestry and industrial technologies. These innovations also translate into economic, social and environmental benefits for the company and the country by enhancing industrial and forestry techniques, which are the foundation of the high-quality products Fibria exports to 35 countries.