In the ever-evolving world of packaging, the cartonboard and carton industry plays a pivotal role in shaping the way products are presented and perceived. It is a dynamic field where innovation meets sustainability, and talented individuals are making a significant impact.  A new series of interviews by Pro Carton celebrates the talented people who shape innovation and sustainability in packaging, colleagues who live sustainability and who make this workspace fun and exciting.

Today, we explore the inspiring career of Elisabeth Salajka, a dedicated professional in the carton and cartonboard industry. Currently serving as the central contact point for all Energy Management-related matters at MM Board & Paper, Elisabeth shares her experiences and insights into a field where energy efficiency, sustainability, and innovation are at the forefront.

Elisabeth Salajka is the central contact point for all Energy Management-related matters at MM Board & Paper.

Background and introduction

Q: Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your current role in the carton and cartonboard industry? How did you first become interested in this field and what led you to your current career path?

A: I currently hold the role of being the central contact point for all energy management related topics at MM Board & Paper. My journey into this field began with my studies in Process Engineering, focusing on fuels and energy technologies at the Technical University of Vienna. In today’s context, where reducing energy intensity and CO2 emissions is of paramount importance, I found myself drawn to MM Board & Paper. The company was actively building dedicated resources at its headquarters to address these critical issues in collaboration with the production sites.

Your career journey

Q: Can you describe the key milestones and experiences that have played a significant role in shaping your career in this industry?

A: In my role at MM Board & Paper, energy management is an integral part of the Technology Department. This has provided me with opportunities to work closely with our Fibre Technologists and Production Experts. I’ve also had the privilege of gaining familiarity with Pulp & Paper Processes by visiting our mills regularly and working alongside production colleagues on-site. Another significant milestone has been my involvement as a Business Process Manager for production execution and quality management since MM Board & Paper decided to implement SAP.

Q: Were there any challenges or turning points that stand out in your professional journey?

A: The most substantial challenge in this industry is adapting to the flexibility that the Pulp & Paper market demands. We frequently encounter periods where high production rates are required, followed by a need for low production rates. Simultaneously, we manage substantial rebuilds at our machines on-site while collaborating with our suppliers. Every new project brings its unique set of challenges and necessitates a flexible mindset and an adaptable approach.

Daily Work and Responsibilities

Q: What does a typical day or week in your current role look like?

A: I serve as the initial point of contact for any energy-related queries. Additionally, I provide support to our mills by formulating strategies for future power plant layouts and exploring different fuel types through technology screening, which is a constant and long-term aspect of my work. Regularly, I engage in projects aimed at reducing energy consumption and costs, as well as lowering CO2 emissions. I also focus on fostering knowledge transfer and best practice among our mills, which is always rewarding when seeing it in effect.

Q: Are there any specific projects or initiatives you’ve been involved in recently that you find particularly exciting or innovative?

A: One area that has been quite new and exciting for me is energy sourcing and energy controlling. My education provided me with a theoretical knowledge of these financial aspects. However, at MM Board & Paper, as a large company, these aspects are part of our daily business. Collaborating with my colleagues and providing them with the energy information they require to progress in their work has been an eye-opening experience. It underscores how energy management is intertwined with various aspects of our industry, often leading to cross-departmental collaborations and a deeper understanding of our colleagues’ work.

Industry Impact

Q: How do you believe your work contributes to the sustainable and environmentally friendly aspects of cartonboard packaging?

A: A well-structured energy management infrastructure, which includes accurate energy reporting and making informed decisions regarding energy consumption and power plant developments, forms the foundation for sustainability. I firmly believe that our work positively affects the climate impact of MM Board & Paper, making our products more environmentally friendly.

Q: What industry trends or developments are you most excited about, and how do they influence your work?

A: I’m particularly excited about new packaging solutions, especially paper and board as substitutes for plastics. This is an area where innovation is crucial, especially in packaging with food contact, as it presents a sensitive topic in our industry.

Advice and Inspiration

Q: What advice do you have for individuals considering a career in the carton and cartonboard industry?

A: Stay curious and form your own opinions. The pulp and paper industry offers a multitude of diverse tasks and operational fields. You can truly tailor your work according to your interests. Furthermore, the additional knowledge and skills you acquire will contribute to your personal development and set you on a rewarding career path.

Q: Are there any personal or professional accomplishments that you are especially proud of and would like to share?

A: One aspect of my work that fills me with pride is the realisation that pulp and paper products, as well as the cartonboard industry, are omnipresent in our daily lives. It’s essential for me to understand the background of the goods we use so that I can make informed choices to reduce the negative impact on our planet’s limited resources. Being aware of this drives my passion for sustainability and innovation in our industry, and it’s a significant source of pride in my work.


Elisabeth’s journey is reflective of the wide range of opportunities the industry offers, and the colourful roles available to those who are interested. Her passion for the industry serves to inspire not only her colleagues, but the future generations of professionals who seek to make a difference and create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly cartonboard packaging solution.