Ahlstrom has an un-paralleled track record of corporate responsibility extending over 160 years.




Antti Ahlström founds the company in 1851, and runs it with his wife Eva for 25 years until his death in 1896. He plays a key role in the development of Finnish public education: elementary schools are established wherever the company has a plant. He sets up Finland’s first co-educational school in Pori, and supports higher education. He is also an early and passionate pioneer of women’s rights, and after his death his wife Eva runs the company until 1903. 


Eva Ahlström funds the building of a hospital in Noormarkku in 1903. Employee housing is provided at the Ahlström plants in Kauttua, Varkaus, Noormarkku, and Karhula.


A new regional plan is developed for the Varkaus area.


Ahlström is by now the biggest company in Finland, with sawmills, pulp and paper mills, engineering and glass plants forming the core of the business. CEO Harry Gullichsen commissions Alvar Aalto to design detailed new town plans for Varkaus, Karhula, Kauttua and Sunila, incorporating better infrastructure, transport, schools and houses. As a result of this work, and the house he designs for the Gullichsens in Noormarkku, Aalto becomes one of the most celebrated architects of the period.


During the Second World War two thirds of the workers were women. The amount was the highest in 1943.


Further support for employee housing as part of the post-war reconstruction effort.


The acquisition of Cartiere Bosso S.p.A. in Italy in 1963 makes Ahlström a pioneer in international expansion among Finnish companies.


Ahlström is recognized for its environmental protection program, including Finland’s first flotation plant for wastewater treatment.


Path breaking environmentally beneficial technologies were developed in the 1980s

  • Pyroflow boilers enjoyed global success thanks to their particularly low SO2 and NOx emissions.
  • MC (medium consistency) pumps were saving both energy and the environment due to less water and discharges in the process.
  • The Dispro web-forming method was both resource efficient and improved the quality of the web at the same time.


In 1985 Ahlström received recognition for its unique contributions to preserving cultural heritage with 7 museums established for industrial history.


Expansion in Asia starts with the establishment of a filter paper mill in South Korea in 1987 as a joint venture between Ahlström and On Yang Pulp Co.Ltd.


Ahlström completes construction of a new manufacturing plant for release liner production in Mathi, Italy designed by architects Gabetti & Isola and Franco Fusari. The design was widely recognized as a great example of modern industrial architecture aimed for low visual impact and harmony with the local residential architecture.


The company starts using innovative recycled fiber technologies in Germany. Comprehensive environmental monitoring and protection programs are put in place. Ahlström Osnabrück receives FSC™ Chain-of-Custody certification in 1998.


Ahlstrom is entirely focused on specialty papers and nonwovens, with 40 plants in 14 countries. Sustainability awareness grows worldwide.


EUR 500,000 donated to Aalto University in Finland. The company’s support to Eva Ahlström foundation is channeled to a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project in India as part of its continuing commitment to educational and humanitarian causes.

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