We are a capital-intensive company that continuously invests in a pipeline of ideas to boost fiber-to-fiber solutions. There are many possibilities for using eucalyptus pulp beyond the segments in which its use is already established. Suzano looks at this portfolio diversification and asks itself with intense curiosity: What could be new application segments for our eucalyptus pulp? These limitless opportunities are what motivates our teams around the world in our search for more innovative and sustainable solutions.

We work in partnership with Brazilian and international universities, research institutes and external consultants. We also have technology centers within Suzano that add value, such as the one located in Canada and our Innovability Hub, in the Zhangjiang Science City, in Shanghai, China. The latter was inaugurated a year ago with the purpose of creating an open and transformative innovation platform. In Asia, as in other markets, we are attuned to growing customer demand for materials and applications developed from pulp and new biomaterials.

            All our efforts aim to drive sustainable development through innovability, that is, the search for solutions that combine innovation with sustainability. We rely on a broad network that forms an innovative technical ecosystem of startups that are involved in development and benefit from meetings and mentoring focused on boosting the bioeconomy. And in a broader sense, we are continuously working to identify open innovation opportunities, in tune with creative environments globally. Through our open innovation initiatives, we have already evaluated 457 startups, scaling up 88 of them, and included 40 projects in our portfolio. Our work is guided by our culture of innovation, which is based on three pillars: innovative technology, solving complex problems and supporting innovation processes.

Thinking about the viability of the business and establishing criteria for managing so many projects require a sharp focus on confidence, in several ways: First to ensure that our teams can research new solutions, and then to support an investment policy that aligns with the responsibility of those who plant the future without failing to protect their legacy. This ability to preserve the strength of the business while also advancing bold new ideas and goals has helped us turn 100 years old with the mindset of a startup.

Eucafluff® is a good example of Suzano’s innovative and entrepreneurial DNA. Our 100% eucalyptus fluff, the first and only in the world, arrived on the market eight years ago to change the status quo, and has continually set trends. Thinking about the future of the first 100% eucalyptus fluff from the perspective of its development journey is a great opportunity to understand how we view innovation at Suzano.

We believed in the opportunity to replace softwood fiber in this market segment, but we knew that we would have to overcome many technical barriers. The challenge went beyond production. We needed to find answers and solutions for the production chain: How could we adapt our customers’ equipment and production processes to use short fiber? How could we deal with the challenges of using eucalyptus fiber in new product categories during a transition phase?

Obviously, the market would like nothing more than a plug & play solution that it could simply place into a diaper/pad machine and run. However, from an engineering standpoint, we knew that thinking about the entire process would be essential, especially during the initial stages of adopting a raw material that had different characteristics from long fiber. Having a holistic view reduced the stress of focusing exclusively on high performance as the first indicator of success, allowing us to prioritize the use of strategic intelligence that could use partnerships to achieve mutual objectives. This is a change in culture that can anticipate critical demand for businesses that are aligned with innovation and sustainability. This is how we experience innovation at Suzano.

In the case of our 100% eucalyptus fluff, the first changes took place in-house. We revised our structure, internal processes and even the production process, to ensure the success of our minimum viable product, creating conditions for the business to mature and prove to be viable and scalable. All the lessons learned from adapting, creating solutions within the company—since there were no answers in the market for the technological challenges we were facing—and seeking partnerships in the market to co-create these solutions gave us unique know-how and showed the market, once again, that Suzano is the world’s largest expert in eucalyptus pulp.

The experience with Eucafluff® also enables us to move forward with other projects. Its maturity journey inspires us to replicate best practices in different initiatives within Suzano. One example that stands out is our ability to “co-work” with our customers to first understand their needs and aspirations, and then to technically advise them as they adapt their production processes to use short fiber and generate value. We believe that, through partnerships, we can create unique and more sustainable products for a market that increasingly appreciates this type of strategy. We created a technical consultancy structure to support the replacement of long fibers with our short eucalyptus fiber. From start to finish in the change process, we want to look at and understand the needs and competitive advantages that unite us in the creation of solutions to the challenges of the market and society in pursuit of a more sustainable future.

Looking at Eucafluff’s journey over the last eight years, we consider 2023 an extremely important milestone. The announcement that Suzano will quadruple the production of Eucafluff® in the coming years sends a very clear message to the market. This expansion shows how much the company believes in the viability of this business, which is fully aligned with current sustainability standards in mature markets and the movement in this direction in emerging markets. As part of our business strategy, we will persist in searching for innovative and sustainable solutions for different market segments, in line with our purpose of “Renewing life inspired by trees.”