Stora Enso has become UNICEF’s first global corporate partner in basic education for all with a pledge to donate US$2.5m in money and initiatives over the next five years.

The partnership was sealed at a signing ceremony at Stationers’ Hall, London when Jukka Harmala, chief executive officer of Stora Enso, handed over the first cheque for US$250,000 to Carol Bellamy, UNICEF executive director.

Mr Harmala said the basic goals of UNICEF are similar to those of Stora Enso’s mission statement – focusing on the future and responsibility. He added that it is easy to donate money, but not so easy to ensure that almost every single pound or euro goes to the particular area it was meant.

Stora Enso chose to partner UNICEF, he said, because, like Stora Enso it is global and he believes education is a cause that the company’s 44,000 employees worldwide will embrace.

Ms Bellamy said it was not the first time UNICEF had engaged with the private sector but Stora Enso was the first ever global partner for education.

“There is no better return on investment than education”, she said, adding that Stora Enso was demonstrating the best kind of corporate social responsibility.

Stora Enso will donate US$250,000 a year for the next five years along with an equal amount through in-kind gifts and employee’s voluntary fund raising activities.