Taking the lead in responsibility

Taking the lead in responsibility

Our well-being depends on our resources to protect the natural environment. Corporate responsibility is an integral part of all UPM operations, and also seen as a source of competitive advantage. In the label and packaging industry, responsibility means new innovations, and a continuous effort to provide more with less.

Currently, we humans use the resources of 1.6 globes – and if this trend continues, the equivalent of three globes is reached by 2050. We take the lead in responsibility: UPM plants 95 trees every minute, 24/7. “In label and packaging material production, the wood fibres come only from sustainably managed forests,” says Harri Hiltunen, Manager, Responsibility and Safety, who took the lead on sustainability issues last year.

Environmental issues, such as emissions, have been in our customers’ focus for a long period of time. But an increasing number of queries received today deal with product safety and recycling. Product safety is a current topic since the first ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Certifications were just recently achieved.

Promoting material efficiency and circular economy is part of UPM’s new responsibility targets. This means that there should be no waste to landfills or incineration without energy recovery by 2030. “We are always looking for better environmental performance,” Hiltunen says.

Lighter and biodegradable products

Sustainability goes way beyond resourcing. It covers the production, the end product itself, and social and economic responsibility. From the responsibility point of view, our R&D keeps a close eye on the market needs in order to be able to create even thinner products with better performance.

“Our products are designed with special consideration for the environmental impact during the entire product lifecycle. We aim to develop thin papers that outperform currently used materials,” Hiltunen explains. Thinness means less raw material which leads to a smaller carbon footprint. Less water, less energy, less everything. But as a result, more innovative products.

Best available technology for safe production

Sustainability requires continuous work, and UPM has a long history of setting environment-related targets for production. The best available technology, BAT, is used in all of our three mills, Jämsänkoski and Tervasaari mills in Finland, and Changshu in China.

All mills have remarkably improved their performance over the past ten years in all environmental parameters. As to occupational health and safety, the results of these mills are also world-class.