R&D accelerates UPM's renewal

Fibre-based businesses continue to form the foundation of UPM's strategy. Our businesses are united by a single purpose: to create value from renewable and recyclable materials by combining expertise and technologies.The aim of UPM’s research and development programmes and business development is to create new technologies and products, provide support to and ensure the competitiveness of its businesses.

UPM's development expenditure

 The share of R&D work has increased steadily in new technologies and new businesses such as developing biofuels, biocomposites and biochemicals. UPM has also several research projects in existing businesses such as in pulp and paper businesses.

Versatile use of wood biomass

UPM’s Biofore strategy is based on the versatile use of renewable wood biomass, combined with innovation, resource efficiency and sustainability. The purpose is to replace non-renewable materials with renewable, recyclable and low-impact alternatives – the main drivers for the bioeconomy.

Improvements in material efficiency make it possible to consume fewer resources and raw materials in production processes. We already reuse or recycle most of our production waste, and we are constantly striving to develop innovative new solutions.  Therefore, UPM’s R&D work has expanded its focus to the more efficient use and reuse of side streams. 

UPM’s side stream efficiency research is looking for solutions to better utilise the side streams of UPM’s integrated pulp and paper mills; sludge, ash, various rejects and waste heat. The aim is to reduce costs and increase the value of side streams by finding new business opportunities in industrial symbioses.

Fertilizer development and nutrient recirculation is also part of UPM’s circular economy solutions. Other studies relate to new end uses for ash  in costruction applications. Also good saving ideas have been found in mills’ heat efficiency.

We take product safety always very seriously and do our utmost to offer our customers products that are safe to use and environmentally sound.

R&D's role in different businesses

UPM has a global network of research centres to support the businesses and their business development goals. All of UPM’s businesses and R&D centres have adopted ecodesign in their product development processes. This means that environmental aspects are systematically integrated into product design at an early stage. 

Business area

R&D's role

UPM Biorefining
  • ​Pulp and plantations optimisation for various needs
  • Biofuels
​UPM Energy
  • ​​Energy conversion technologies for a wide range of biomass and fuel mixtures
  • CO2-neutral energy sources
  • Opportunities arising from the evolution of the electricity market
​UPM Raflatac
  • ​Expansion of product range and market support
​UPM Specialty Papers
  • ​Effective support for paper businesses in growth markets and new products
​UPM Communication Papers
  • ​Cost competitive and resource efficient solutions and new products
​UPM Plywood
  • ​Products with special customer value
  • Process efficiency
​New businesses
  • ​Supporting the development of new opportunities building on synergies
  • Developing competences and a common infrastructure