Normandy is once again leading the way in energy transition and decarbonisation – and the Seine Valley is underlining its attractiveness for industrial investment – with DS Smith, the British packaging giant, deciding to invest in an innovate biomass boiler at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, close to the Rouen Normandy metropolis.

With sites in more than 30 countries and a history dating back to 1940, DS Smith is demonstrating its commitment to sustainable packaging solutions and responsible resource management.

This large-scale investment of 90 million euros, which includes 15 million euros financed by the French Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe) with the support of the Rouen Normandy Metropolis, underlines the importance of this project in the overarching strategy of reducing carbon emissions. It also demonstrates that industry is a key part of the Normandy economy, with industry in Normandy providing one of the highest shares of regional GDP in France, on a scale comparable to some German regions.

The aim of this investment by DS Smith is to prevent the emission of 99,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, a key policy driver for industrial support across the whole of Normandy. There are a number of similar projects coming on-stream across the Normandy industrial sector.

The biomass boiler, due to come into operation in the first quarter of 2025, will replace the old coal-fired boiler. It will be powered by 70% wood and 30% waste from the factory, offering an innovative solution for waste management. This transition to biomass is not limited to a simple substitution of fuel; it represents a commitment to more sustainable management of resources and a significant reduction in the carbon footprint.

DS Smith are undertaking this investment – developed in collaboration with Engie – as part of their global strategy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2020, the company has reduced its emissions by 15% and it is targeting an additional reduction of 46% by 2030. The investment in the Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray plant, the largest of the group’s French factories, plays a strategic role in this process.

The commitment of the regional and local authorities across Normandy to reducing carbon emissions, while still driving forward the regional economy, demonstrates that investing in Normandy is a sustainable and financially sound decision.

Energy and transition

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