UPM awarded “Best Innovator” prize for sustainable innovation management in Germany

(UPM, Helsinki, 5 February 2010, 10:30 EET) – UPM has been awarded the “Sustainable Innovation Management” prize at the “Best Innovator 2010” awards in Germany. The annual competition, organised by the international management consultancy A.T. Kearney together with the German top weekly business publication WirtschaftsWoche, awards companies that excel in outstanding innovation management.

According to the jury of the competition, one of UPM’s strengths is the company’s readiness for innovative thinking and continuous change. The jury consists of representatives from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, a non-profit organisation supporting R&D in diverse industries, A.T. Kearney and WirtschaftsWoche.

“One of our main innovation drivers is Total Lifecycle Approach from sourcing the raw material to their primary use and recycled applications. With UPM ProFi, we successfully turned residues of labelstock production, which previously was burnt or disposed in landfills, into a versatile new raw material,” says UPM Executive Vice President Hartmut Wurster.

In the sustainable product innovation category, UPM convinced the jury with its outdoor flooring material UPM ProFi Deck, which presents an environmentally friendly alternative for decks, terraces and boardwalks. “UPM ProFi is a truly innovative material, which is suitable for several end-use applications and is attractive in terms of both performance properties and visual appearance,” says Markku Koivisto, Director, UPM ProFi Business Area.

Designers have already found UPM ProFi, for example, the German artist Tobias Rehberger used UPM ProFi Deck as the terrace flooring material for the design that won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2009. This year, visitors of the World Expo in Shanghai will be able to see the Finnish Pavilion clad in UPM ProFi.

“Only companies that approach innovation systematically, and include not just the R&D and production units but also the marketing and market research, can realise continuous extraordinary success. Hence, a central criterion in assessing the 100 participating companies has been to what extent their innovation strategy was co-developed and implemented by the top management,” says Kai Engel, Partner at A.T. Kearney and member of the jury.

UPM stands out within the forest industry through its pioneering role as the Biofore Company, merging bioeconomy and forest industry activities into a new and sustainable forest industry. Biofore is a new word and category that we have invented specifically. It combines the words bio and forest. The word represents not only forest but also foresight, being a front-runner and of course - sustainability. Biofore tells about UPM's vision to be the front-runner in the new forest industry. The company creates value from renewable and recyclable raw materials by combining expertise and technology from the bio and forest industries.

The “Best Innovator” Award Ceremony took place on 4 February at the Ministry of Economics and Technology in Berlin. Beside UPM, BMW, the chip manufacturer Intel, and the utility company EWE were also awarded the sustainable innovation management prize.

For further information please contact:
Dr. Hartmut Wurster, Executive Vice President, Technology, tel. +49 821 3109 264
Markku Koivisto, Director, UPM ProFi, Business Area, tel.: +358 40 861 2852