Collaboration and partnerships: Circular economy in action


​UPM actively develops new solutions to speed up the transition to circular economy and sustainable use of renewable materials. But we are not doing everything on our own. We are especially looking for partners to develop solutions in circular economy, customer friendly digital solutions, utilisation of non-core patents and industrial internet.



Partnerships add value and bring flexibility

Partnerships enable us to develop new business models and solutions. They also get us to the market faster. We work together with a wide network of universities and research institutes as well as start-ups and technology suppliers. UPM is seeking business development and innovation in various projects through collaboration. The special focus areas are development of circular economy, utilisation of residues and resource efficiency.

UPM is a shareholder in the Finnish CLIC Innovation, which focuses on bioeconomy and cleantech research. The Cluster’s research programmes focus on bioeconomy as well as energy and environmental research, thus supporting UPM’s internal R&D activities. Furthermore, we are one of the founding members of the industrial consortium part of the European Joint Undertaking on Bio-based Industries (BBI). This Public Private Partnership (PPP) aims to trigger investments and create a competitive market for bio-based products and materials that are sourced locally.


JUN 5 2017

The time is ripe for an industrial-scale recycled fertiliser

As part its commitment to sending zero waste to landfills by 2030, UPM is working with crop nutrition expert Yara to develop a fertiliser made from recycled forest industry side streams.

UPM and Yara Suomi Oy share a common goal. We aim to develop an efficient, industrial-scale nutrient solution including recycled fertiliser that can be used in producing clean domestic food profitably and with minimum environmental emissions.

The joint project of UPM and the fertiliser and crop nutrition expert Yara Suomi Oy is partly funded by a Nutrient Recycling Programme under the Finnish Ministry of the Environment (Raki2).

Our project is looking for possibilities for the agricultural reuse of nutrients retrieved from the sludge originating from the pulp and paper mill's effluent treatment plants and the ash from the incineration process. The team is aiming to develop a nutrient solution that contains the correct ratio of recycled and mineral nutrients.

The Raki Programme promotes the Finnish Government’s aim to increase the profitability of food production without compromising environmental protection and to make Finland a model state of nutrient recycling. The second phase of the programme (Raki2) was launched as part of Government's key project which aims to utilise circular economy to promote the good ecological state of the Baltic Sea and to improve nutrient recycling. Read more in Finnish.

Read more:
UPM Press release: UPM and Yara to co-develop recycled fertilisers »

Zero Solid Waste project

UPM’s Zero Solid Waste project develops smart and sustainable solutions, where excess materials circulate and generate value. It focuses on implementing best practices for the use of ash, sludge, dregs, wood and mixed waste at all production units in Finland.

UPM aims to reach a Zero Solid Waste to Landfill operational status by 2030. This target has already been reached in Austria and seven UPM mills in Germany. The goal is not too far in Finland either.

Read more:
UPM's Zero Solid Waste to Landfill initiative wins the Midwest Regional Sustainability Award in the US »    

The best way of disposing mixed waste is minimising its production
JAN 10 2017

The best way of disposing mixed waste is minimising its production

Mixed waste is one of the least common forms of waste in the forest industry as waste sorting has become highly efficient in the last decade.
Enhancing the utilisation degree of sludge by improving fuel value and mapping out new applications
NOV 10 2016

Enhancing the utilisation degree of sludge by improving fuel value and mapping out new applications

UPM’s Zero Solid Waste to Landfill project focuses on the five side stream fractions in the paper and pulp industry that are the most difficult ones to recycle and utilise.
The moist green liquor dregs are a recycling challenge
DEC 04 2016

The moist green liquor dregs are a recycling challenge

UPM aims to reach a Zero Solid Waste to Landfill operational status by 2030. This means giving up on landfill waste, at first in Finland and then globally.
Wood-based side streams efficiently utilised in energy production at UPM
SEP 23 2016

Wood-based side streams efficiently utilised in energy production at UPM

The different wood-based waste side streams from UPM mills are already well utilised in energy production in the mills’ own boilers. The recycling of wood to energy presents a challenge only when the wood waste is moist and contains particles of metal or stone.
Ash is a major waste fraction with many possibilities for utilisation
SEP 07 2016

Ash is a major waste fraction with many possibilities for utilisation

UPM aims for zero waste to landfill by the year 2030 globally and in a matter of years in Finland. After this, no waste will end up in landfills or be burned without energy recovery. Ash is a major form of waste – but there are already many uses available for it.
PM pursues Zero Solid Waste to landfill status by 2030
MAY 31 2016

UPM pursues Zero Solid Waste to landfill status by 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.

JUN 8 2017

Trash becomes treasure through nutrient recycling

Instead of polluting the Baltic Sea, nutrients could be put to work in biological effluent treatment. UPM is among the frontrunners switching to recycled nutrients in its wastewater processing.

Close co-operation with Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG)

​UPM has committed that by the year 2030 we will use only recycled nutrients at our biological waste water treatment plants. With this commitment, we participate in the work of Baltic Sea Action Group. By recycling nutrients we enhance the wellbeing and preservation of both the Baltic Sea and other watercourses.

Baltic Sea Action GroupOur target is to find recycled nutrients from local sources. This helps reducing local eutrophication in the best case and in any case it promotes circular economy. In order to achieve the target, we have worked to find possible local sources, that are mainly agricultural and industrial biogas plant operators and municipal wastewater treatment plants. The first results are now at hand. This summer the first tests are being performed at UPM Kaukas mill in Lappeenranta, Finland, and later also at other UPM mills in Finland.

Read more:
Towards a healthier Baltic Sea by nutrient cycling »
More information about our Commitments can be found from BSAG commitment bank »


More with Biofore in China - aiming for even more efficient paper mill

The More with Biofore in China programme seeks to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of mills through new innovative technologies. UPM Changshu paper mill is a pilot in a 2-3-year research programme to improve the energy and water efficiency at the mill.

The goal of the More with Biofore in China programme is to reduce emissions in China, but at the same time the company is looking for new solutions that can also be applied at other UPM mills around the world.

One of the processes aims at reducing the water consumption of the three paper machines and the other aims at reducing carbon dioxide and particle emissions from our power boilers.In the latter UPM co-operates with both the power boiler supplier and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. 

We are also looking into supplying the sludge resulting from water treatment as raw material for a nearby factory.

The programme also attempts to improve the efficiency of energy use. Optimising electricity consumption also involves decreasing air emissions resulting from energy generation.

Commercialising innovations with Green Campus Innovations

Green Campus Innovations (GCI) is an investment company established in 2012 by Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). It is one of UPM’s partners in commercialising innovations that are not directly connected to UPM’s core business areas. The collaboration between the university, the investment company and UPM enables the partners to combine their competencies in bioeconomy, industrial engineering and management, business administration, and marketing.

In 2015, UPM and LUT signed a license contract concerning the Biokenno technology developed by UPM. GCI will play an important role in commercialising the Biokenno technology and in developing the business around it.

UPM and GCI are jointly evaluating potential for industrial symbioses and utilisation of sidestreams. The project is one of various UPM development projects that aim to find new end uses for the side streams of the Kaukas mill site and new partners to commercialise these streams. The goal is to create new business and develop an Industrial Symbiosis concept for UPM.

Read more:
Commercialising innovations through business and research collaboration »
Get to know Green Campus Innovation »