UPM – Sustainable Innovations Stem From The Forest

The quest for a better, more sustainable future requires committed efforts to drive sustainability forward in business as much as in everyday life. UN’s Sustainable Development Goals function as a blueprint. Among the goals where we can really make a difference at UPM are SDG 9: industry, innovation and infrastructure, and SDG 15: life on land. 

Forests cover 30% of the Earth’s surface. They are essential to life – the lungs of our planet. While deforestation poses a threat to the planet’s health, well-maintained commercial forests are the most effective and sustainable way to use land. Forests act as a carbon sink that helps mitigate the effects of climate change and provide renewable raw material. 

The lifecycle of the majority of our products starts in the forest. Our business is based on a renewable forest biomass and it is sustainable to the core. We actively develop new ways to improve the quality of life by expanding and accelerating the use of renewable raw materials to replace fossil materials as well as by advancing bio-innovations. 

100% certified wood supply chain 

We are a front runner in sustainable forest management and conservation. Our forest strategy safeguards high-quality wood raw material while protecting water systems and biodiversity, mitigating climate change and supporting local societies. 

We never use wood from protected areas, tropical rainforests or plantations established by destroying rainforests. All our raw material is sourced from sustainably-managed forests with legal logging operations, and the share of certified fibre used by us is today 85%. Furthermore, harvested areas are replanted – 100 trees every minute – to uphold biodiversity and carbon sequestration. 

Industry leading biodiversity programme  

Diverse flora and fauna make forests healthier and more resilient, supporting the forest ecosystems. Biodiversity also has a direct effect on air quality, water purification, pollination and prevention of erosion. This is why promoting biodiversity has been our main environmental driver and a key part of our everyday operations for many years already. 

We systematically develop methods to support, maintain and increase biodiversity on UPM’s own forestland and promote sustainable practices in our wood sourcing operations. While maintaining biodiversity throughout all vegetation zones is the end goal, our global biodiversity programme accounts for the different requirements for sustainable forestry in semi-natural forests and plantations, as well as historical land use and local legislation. .

 Bio-innovations from wood fibre 

Innovative use of fibre opens up exciting new opportunities for value creation as we innovate renewable and recyclable alternatives for fossil-based materials. 

UPM’s GrowDex is an excellent example of a biomedical innovation. Derived from birch, a renewable natural resource growing in responsibly-managed forests, the biocompatible hydrogel supports cell growth and differentiation. It has vast application potential across industries, from personalised medicine to pharmaceutical R&D through to organ-on-a-chip models and 3D printing. We believe that by utilising the limitless potential of bioeconomy, we can take the planet towards a future beyond fossils.