Making Sustainability a Priority in Manufacturing

Case Study

Ahlstrom, a global manufacturer of fiber-based specialty materials that makes everything from sustainable food packaging to high-tech filtration solutions cleaning the air and water, commits to “Purify and Protect, with every fiber, for a sustainable world.”

The company lives this purpose every day thanks to a comprehensive new ESG strategy developed in 2021. After Bain Capital partnered with Ahlstrom to take the business private that same year, our Private Equity team delivered support to guide the Ahlstrom team through a diagnostic review of its environmental approach. The result? More than 300 refreshed initiatives designed to reduce emissions and apply resources more efficiently.

As part of these efforts, Ahlstrom pledged to decrease its scope 1 and 2 emissions 38% by 2030 and achieve net zero status by 2050—a goal that aligns with the SBTi. In 2021, it achieved an emissions intensity reduction of 4% for year-end 2022 compared to the prior year. For these efforts and more, Ahlstrom was awarded a Platinum medal by Ecovadis.

Smart resource usage has also been a priority for Ahlstrom. Reducing water intensity in production, as well as eliminating waste to landfill by 2030, are key priorities in becoming a more circular company.

Ahlstrom conducted an in-depth analysis on how its products protect and purify by evaluating sustainability metrics (e.g., carbon footprint, plastic and chemical substitution, and product end-of-life). More than 80% of its products have sustainability strengths and live up to the company’s purpose. Ahlstrom continues to take actions to improve its products’ sustainability performance across the board, and views sustainability as a key ingredient for innovation.