Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA)



Four years ago I visited this integrated paper company ($4 billion in revenues and over 32,000 employees) on four separate occasions over four days and each time I was shooed away saying they were too busy. Headquarters for Europe's largest collector and user of recycled paper is a good-looking, five-story structure built in 1919. The building anchors Stureplan plaza, a prestigious downtown square with lots of restaurants and high-end boutiques nearby.

Considering the company's size, there's no big signs on the building only a small discreet plaque near the front entrance doors. I'm pretty sure SCA just rents space as there are other tenants. Several unfriendly security/reception personnel screen visitors to the building.

SCA's reception area is typical Swedish: wood floors and the ever-present bowl of fresh fruit on the reception counter (bananas, apples and pears). I spot issues of Fortune, Eurobusiness and Business Week magazines along with the International Herald Tribune newspaper on a coffee table. After explaining who I am to the receptionist I ask if she could call up the secretary to CEO Sverker Martin-Lof to find out who ended up with the introductory material sent a month earlier. For some reason I'm not surprised when the receptionist says it isn't possible because "everyone's busy now". I return the next day and (surprise) it's the same old recycled answer.