Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing christina@wausaupilotandreview.com.

This week’s featured Wausau-area business has a long, storied history in the area and has been a significant force in the local economy. Borregaard USA, 100 Grand Ave., Rothschild, is part of Borregaard, a leading international producer of lignosulfonates, chemicals derived from lignin. Lignin is a major constituent of wood and is produced by modifying the co-products which result from the chemical production of pulp. These chemicals are primarily used in the construction, dispersing, agricultural and oil field industries. Borregaard has seven plants worldwide and sales in more than 70 countries. Locally, the company employs 98 workers, producing crucial elements used in products as binding or dispersing agents.

Longtime Wausau residents will immediately recognize some of the pioneers in lignin development and application. The world’s first investigations into this area were done by Marathon Corporation, which launched in 1909 with the commencement of the Rothschild pulp and paper operations in north central Wisconsin. Over the years the lignin business grew and prospered – and changed hands several times. Owners included the American Can Company, Reed International PCL and Daishowa Paper. Finally, in 1991, the Norwegian company Borregaard acquired Daishowa and created its present company, Borregaard USA – formerly known as LignoTechn USA. The company’s principal research and manufacturing facilities are in Rothschild with sales offices scattered throughout the country. Plant Manager Tony Young, President and CEO Paul Hendricks and Human Resources Manager Jennifer Rhode say the company’s most important strategic priorities are to capitalize on their momentum of biobased and green products, to seek long-term growth opportunities and create further specialization and value growth. 

Borregaard is a leader in corporate transparency and has been widely recognized for leadership and performance on climate change issues. Moreover, it’s a great place to work, with diverse opportunities, collaborative colleagues and world-wide networking. Here, learn more about Borregaard and its mission – and job opportunities that might work for you.


Give me a little more history of the business, starting with when Marathon Corporation was developing lignin applications.

In its early years, Marathon followed common practice in the industry in discharging spent pulping liquors directly to the rivers. In 1927, however, Marathon assigned a group of chemists and engineers to the task of developing commercial products from the organic solids in the spent sulfite liquor.

The first products to show promise were leather tanning agents. Later, the characteristics of lignin as dispersing agents and binders became evident. By the mid-1930s, with a considerable amount of the research groundwork accomplished, Marathon transferred operations from a research pilot plant to full-scale production, commencing operation of the world’s first commercial lignin plant in 1939.

Can you explain a little more about what lignin is, exactly?

Borregaard’s lignin-based biopolymers are renewable, wood-based alternatives to fossil-based chemicals and polymers used in a broad range of industries. Our products are tailor-made to obtain the optimal performance in your application.   

With over 90 years experience in lignin-based biopolymers, we are continuously developing our unique product offering. Our environmentally friendly products are used as:

These multi-functional properties are valuable in a vast range of applications. A global network of production facilities, sales offices and technical service centres assures the best local service and competence, where and when you need it.

What is the most unique thing about the company, and something you wish more people understood about its mission? 

Borregaard’s raw material is derived from wood. We produce environmentally-friendly biochemicals that can replace oil-based products. 

What role does Borregaard play in addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges such as climate change? 

Our sustainable products and solutions can play an important role in addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges: Population growth and climate change. High utilization of renewable raw materials, and products that replace oil-based alternatives result in low carbon footprints and make Borregaard a sustainable and innovative company with solutions the world needs.

Tell us a little more about sustainability and how it relates to Borregaard’s processes.

Sustainability is a key component of Borregaard’s business model and one of its three core values. Borregaard is recognized for its actions to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks and develop the low-carbon economy. The company received an A for tackling climate change. 18,700 companies reported on climate change in 2022, of which 283 companies (1,5%) made this year’s climate change A List. The company also received an A for deforestation (timber). In addition, Borregaard scored an A- for water security. With these results Borregaard is among the highest scoring companies on the list.

In which areas are you hiring right now:

Production operators and accounting clerk. You can find all of our job openings and details here: Vacant positions – Borregaard

Borregaard USA

Connect with Borregaard USA Inc.

  •  Human Resources
  • 100 Grand Avenue
  • Rothschild, WI  54474
  • Jennifer.rohde@borregaard.com
  • 715-355-3623