Orkla’s R&D activities seek to generate results through an inter-disciplinary focus that cuts across the entire organisation. This improves transfers of expertise and ensures greater flexibility in R&D projects. Sapa has consolidated its central R&D function in Sapa Technology (ST). The ST units in Shanghai and Finspång have been merged into a single entity, under common management, in order to utilise resources more effectively to the benefit of the entire Group. Cooperation in the ST unit in North America was also strengthened. Borregaard has a joint research centre with a staff of close to 70 people. The company also collaborates extensively with institutes and universities in several countries. At Orkla Brands, consumer and market insight is combined with technological expertise to develop popular, innovative products.
Research and development are crucial for the further development of the businesses’ market positions. At Sapa, a great deal of R&D work is still related to the long-term strategy of creating added value for customers. However, much of the work is also concentrated on practical objectives, such as productivity and costs. Borregaard has established a special business development unit, which primarily focuses on feasibility studies and business and technology development in the fields of biofuels, biochemicals and biomaterials. In 2011, work began on the construction of a NOK 130 million pilot plant for the development of second-generation biofuel and biochemicals. Work is also in progress on the construction of a pilot plant for microfibrillar cellulose, a product area currently under development which has several potential markets. At Orkla Brands, innovation is extensively incorporated into every stage of the value chain through the purposeful, systematic use of normative tools, while deep consumer and customer insight increases the quality of the innovation process.