WWF and UPM Raflatac cooperate to rescue the Oder River in Poland

Archive 2.4.2012 11:45 EEST

(UPM, Helsinki, 2 April 2012)  – WWF and UPM Raflatac have started cooperation to protect the Oder River Valley in Poland. UPM Raflatac supports WWF’s valuable work in the Rivers for Life project that aims at protecting the river’s wildlife and improving safety of the people living in the valley. UPM Raflatac’s labelstock factory is located in the Oder River Valley in Poland and UPM’s paper mill downstream in Schwedt, Germany.

The Oder, one of the most important ecological corridors in Central Europe, is currently threatened by anti-flood infrastructure.

“The natural function of rivers and their valleys is often disturbed by inappropriate development, such as hydrotechnical structures, regulation of rivers and streams, barrages and felling of riverside forests”, says Piotr Nieznański, head of Conservation Department in WWF Poland. “For example, in the Oder River Valley only approximately 27% of the original floodplains have been preserved. The remaining areas were cut off from inundation by embankments or progressive infrastructure development. This unique and sensitive environment is exposed to the most damaging partitioning of rivers, destruction of riparian habitat and floodplain buildings”, adds Nieznański.

With the support of UPM Raflatac, WWF will continue its work on restoring the natural character of the riparian areas. Among the planned activities for 2012 is the review of the "Atlas of the Oder River floodplains". It aims to identify the most valuable natural areas in the Oder River Valley. The preservation of these areas is crucial both for nature as well as for the inhabitants by the river. In addition, WWF Poland will work on restoring the connectivity of the Oder River for migratory species by modernizing the barrage in Wały Śląskie.

UPM and WWF have a long history of co-operation. The two organisations work together in a number of both national and international projects to promote the responsible and sustainable use of natural resources.

“UPM Raflatac has been developing initiatives to reduce its impact on the environment for many years. Now we’ve found a partner, WWF, whose goals fit well with our responsibility principles and UPM’s Biofore thinking”, says Jani Konkarikoski, General Manager of UPM Raflatac Poland. “The Rivers for Life project brings clear benefits both to the nature and people in the Oder River Valley. In addition, our partnership encourages exchange of environmental knowhow and drives environmental awareness through the planned events for staff and customers.”

For further information please contact:
Mr Paweł Średziński, WWF Polska, tel. +48 604 631 633, psredzinski@wwf.pl
Mr Jani Konkarikoski, General Manager, UPM Raflatac Poland, tel. +48 605 430 332

UPM, Corporate Communications
a Desk, tel. +358 40 588 3284

This press release will be available in other languages (French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian & Spanish) under ‘News & Publications’ on our website: www.upmraflatac.com.

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

UPM Raflatac , part of UPM’s Engineered Materials business group, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of self-adhesive label materials. UPM Raflatac has a global service network consisting of 12 factories on six continents and a broad network of sales offices and slitting and distribution terminals worldwide. UPM Raflatac employs 2,400 people and made sales of over EUR 1.1 billion (USD 1.6 billion) in 2011. Further information is available at www.upmraflatac.com  

UPM leads the integration of bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. UPM consists of three Business Groups: Energy and pulp, Paper, and Engineered materials. The Group employs around 24,000 people and it has production plants in 16 countries. UPM's annual sales exceed EUR 10 billion. UPM's shares are listed on the Helsinki stock exchange. UPM – The Biofore Company – www.upm.com

UPM´s Biofore thinking entails a long term commitment to environmental responsibility through the whole lifecycle of our products and operations. Our key areas in environmental responsibility are sustainable products, climate, water, forest and waste. The company is focusing on the continuous development of its performance, aiming towards achieving long term targets set for 2020. www.upm.com/responsibility