At the Climate Conference of Parties (COP21), delegates from 195 countries signed the new global Climate Agreement in December 2015. The agreement represents a major step towards low carbon economy and safeguarding the future of our planet. What makes the agreement so significant? In addition to the fact that it was signed by both the developed and developing countries, all countries presented their national commitment to reducing emissions before the conference. The agreement is legally binding and the countries have to report their progress transparently. In the agreement, the governments have agreed to limit global warming well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels. All in all, the current national commitments may not be sufficient enough to reach this target, but the agreement includes an important review mechanism to ramp up the national commitments every fifth year. In addition to having a common framework for the future, the agreement also establishes a strong relationship between governments, businesses and other non-state organizations, to work together towards a sustainable future and a clean economy. UPM has actively worked together with several stakeholder organisations in the context of the Paris conference. Our main contribution is the Biofore strategy, the core of which is replacing fossil materials with renewables, maintaining and enhancing forests as carbon sinks and continuously increasing resource efficiency.Our Biofore strategy responds also to climate change in many ways. Below are a few examples of how our actions and products limit the negative effects on the climate and help societies and ecosystems to adapt to climate change:
The Forest Solutions Group (FSG) sent a firm message to the UN’s Climate Change Conference: Sustainable forestry and bioeconomic innovation are the best ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.
The majority of UPM’s airborne emissions result from energy generation. The choice of fuels, combustion technology and flue gas purification are ways to reduce these emissions.
The quantity and quality of air emissions depend on the amount of steam produced at power plants or boilers, on the operating rate of the machines and the fuels used.
Biomass-based fuels that are free from fossil CO2 emissions account for 67% (2015) of the fuels used by UPM. Boilers using biomass-based fuels, oil and coal are equipped with filter systems. Compliance with permit limits is continually measured at all power plants and the reliability of these measurements is verified by a third party.
Increasing energy efficiency creates a basis for lower energy consumption and for reducing the emissions caused by energy generation. Choosing the right fuels, combustion technology and flue gas purification methods is a way to reduce these emissions.
A carbon footprint is a method used to measure and communicate the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted both directly and indirectly in the production and delivery of goods and services.
Raw materials, energy consumed and transportation are the main elements used to calculate the carbon footprint of a product.
Every now and then I’m asked whether climate change is an opportunity or a threat for UPM. It is self-evident that global warming with unpredictable effects is a big challenge for mankind and that we need to monitor and control industrial development. It is equally self-evident that the only way to reach remarkable results is to mobilise as many nations as possible.