The world around us is changing rapidly and the future will bring both opportunities and challenges that we have never before experienced. Global demand for resources is surging, driven by global population growth, urbanisation and expanding middle classes. Climate change is a major challenge for the world. In the coming years, it is likely to have an increasing impact on businesses, both directly as well as through various policy responses. Both regulation and demand for transparency are increasing.
Our Biofore strategy is based on the versatile use of renewable wood biomass, combined with innovation, resource efficiency and responsibility. The strategy enables us to respond to some of the biggest global challenges, including scarcity of raw materials, climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the availability of clean water, and to also capture emerging opportunities.
Addressing global challenges requires much more than taking care of the environment. We believe that responsibility together with a holistic approach to environmental issues is the key to responsible business operations and product development. Our target is sustainable operations that will bring us competitive advantages and future growth in various businesses.
A requirement for compliance and transparency strongly reflects a company's role as an employer, business partner and contributor in society. Companies are expected to demonstrate responsible and ethical practices that are closely integrated in their daily operations, supply chains and co-operation with various stakeholders. Our Biofore strategy responds to this responsibility because we want to develop good business, but in a way which is socially and environmentally responsible.
UPM shares the widespread concern regarding global climate change. Biodiversity loss, more frequent extreme weather events, and rising sea levels are just some examples of the serious impact of global climate change.
Our target is to reduce the environmental footprint of our operations and products throughout the entire value chain; from raw material sourcing, production, delivery and product use, to the recycling and reuse of products.
Creating more with less is UPM’s means for better material efficiency, in all its operations. Sustainable and efficient use of resources brings with it advantages with regard to energy, production and cost efficiency.
This means consuming less resources and generating less waste, as well as giving products more economic and environmental value. In fact, resource efficiency has been the cornerstone of our businesses for years:
UPM’s focus on resource efficiency has produced innovations, where non-renewable materials can be replaced with renewable, recyclable and low-impact alternatives.
UPM BioVerno, UPM ProFi and UPM Formi are just a few examples of such resource-efficient innovations for the future. Similar developments have also been made in production technologies and logistics.
UPM is committed to respecting human rights based on its Code of Conduct, which covers all UPM operations, including all subsidiaries.
We do not tolerate child labour or discrimination based on race, age, nationality, gender or sexual orientation. Furthermore, the human rights of children, minorities, migrant workers and indigenous people are especially taken into account.
We consider salient human rights issues in our sphere of influence to include environmental pollution, product safety, occupational health and safety (OHS), working conditions, discrimination, child labour, forced labour and corruption.
We have a mechanism in place so that any cases relating to human rights will be reported through the UPM Report Misconduct channel. During 2016 there were no cases reported related to human rights. In cases where violations are verified, preventive measures are determined and remediation actioned on a case-by-case basis.
UPM carried out a high-level human rights risk assessment through Maplecroft in 2013 in accordance with UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Based on its findings and recommendations, the focus has been on occupational health and safety in UPM operations and ensuring respect for human rights in our supply chain.
Regarding OHS, several programmes related to improving employee health have been implemented. For example, during the period 2015–2017, we are implementing the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's (WBCSD) WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programme to monitor conditions in all operations and make necessary improvements (read more: Staying healthy with WASH). For several decades, we have focused on reducing environmental impact, thus promoting the right of the surrounding communities to clean water and air. The 2030 responsibility targets launched in 2015 drive this good development further. Through a continuous focus on product safety, UPM also supports mitigation of packaging-related risk to food safety for end consumers.
We have renewed our Supplier and Third-Party Code in 2016 to meet the challenges and needs of a rapidly changing world. The new Code is closely aligned with UPM's Code of Conduct and determines the minimum level of performance that we require from everyone working with and for UPM (read more). In our own and in our suppliers' operations, migrant workers have been identified as a potentially vulnerable group whom we must ensure are not at risk from unfair working terms and conditions or from forced or bonded labour. There are no indigenous people in the areas where UPM operates, but where relevant their rights are taken into account.
In 2016 we established a process for assessing human rights and initiated a global assessment of human rights at UPM site level, including community relations and local sourcing. The initial assessment will be completed during 2017 and thereafter action plans will be determined for all sites where improvement is required, and ongoing monitoring will be established.
Our strategy forms the foundation of UPM’s stakeholder dialogue to identify the core sustainability issues. The key focus areas and activities vary locally and according to stakeholder needs.
Financial success, stability, future outlook and growth are fundamental themes for most stakeholders. In addition, UPM’s environmental performance and social responsibility play a significant role in UPM’s ability to operate and affect the long-term success of its businesses.
To address these different needs, and in recognising the differing emphases of different stakeholders, UPM aims to provide a balanced view of the economic, environmental and social aspects of its business activities.
UPM’s materiality analysis highlights the most important issues for UPM and its stakeholders. The analysis uses feedback from different stakeholder enquiries and the company’s risk mapping, based on which the importance and potential impact of different issues or activities on UPM’s operations are assessed.
By definition, the materiality analysis includes those topics that have a direct or indirect impact on an organisation’s ability to create, preserve or erode economic, environmental and social value for itself, its stakeholders and society at large.
Guided by the materiality assessment we have set a series of responsibility focus areas and determined targets as well as performance indicators to monitor how these focus areas are translated into action. They cover all three areas of responsibility; economic, social and environmental.
The materiality analysis provides a good platform for our systematic development work with responsibility issues.
UPM applies management systems to both manage and continuously improve its performance in the areas of environment and health and safety, as well as quality.
UPM updated its responsibility focus areas, adopting ambitious new targets and performance indicators up to the year 2030.
Companies and consumers alike are looking for options to depositing waste in landfills – new ways of using and recycling existing products and raw materials as effectively as possible. The megatrends of global economy: resource efficiency and circular economy, are a concrete part of UPM’s sustainable development targets for the year 2030.