Nina Norjama, Director, Responsibility Development and Support, affirms that UPM is committed to continually deepening its corporate responsibility work in the long term. UPM promotes responsible practices across the whole value chain and is actively searching for new sustainable solutions in cooperation with its customers, suppliers and partners.
“We have adopted more ambitious targets in our updated Responsibility focus areas. The greatest change is that now we are looking at things from a broad term perspective up to the year 2030,” she adds.
The goal of UPM’s responsibility work is to create a competitive advantage and long-term value through the efficient use of resources and the input of high performing people. “We are using very accurate indicators to measure our responsibility performance. If we reach our targets earlier than we expected, we’ll keep on shooting even higher,” asserts Norjama.
Continuous improvement in safety and diversity at work
A safe, healthy working environment and the wellbeing of personnel are among UPM’s main social responsibility focus areas. “We want to make safety a permanent part of UPM’s culture. A zero compromise culture is the only way to continuously lower accident rates both among our own personnel and among external contractors working at the company’s premises.”
Last year’s lost-time accident frequency was the lowest in the company’s history. At the end of the year, 12 production units achieved more than one year without any lost-time injuries. An inclusive, diverse working environment is among the new targets defined in UPM’s social responsibility agenda.
This year, UPM is launching an initiative aiming to promote diversity in the working environment and thereby improve its business results.
“Our target is for all UPM employees to feel they are treated as individuals regardless of gender, age, race or nationality by 2030. These targets will be monitored through the Employee Engagement Survey, which already looks at the diversity question. In the 2015 survey 77% of the respondents said they had not experienced discrimination within UPM,” she adds.
In the field of economic responsibility, UPM’s target is to create added value through responsible sourcing in cooperation with suppliers. For example, UPM is conducting supplier audits that are helping to improve its suppliers’ performance in everything from product quality to occupational health and safety as well as environmental responsibility issues.
Synergy with UN goals
In the process of updating its responsibility targets, UPM initiated comprehensive discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals ratified by the UN General Assembly in autumn 2015.
Workshops were organised in different management teams to discuss all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, the target being to identify the issues of greatest relevance to UPM. “We found a link between every UN goal and UPM’s operations. In the end, we selected 11 that we regarded as the most relevant to UPM. These targets either relate to promoting a desired outcome or thwarting an undesired one. Slowing down climate change is one such example.”
Forests and biodiversity were, as to be expected, top of UPM’s discussion agenda. “This has been our focus area for a very long time. UPM also has an excellent opportunity to influence this field in the future. In wood sourcing and forestry we are carrying out very detailed operations to achieve our targets,” notes Norjama.
Active voice in global forums
UPM is active in many international forums as a key participant in dialogue with other companies. “For example, we took part in the Sustainability Salon forum organised in China. There we introduced listeners to UPM’s Biofore strategy and how UN Sustainable Development Goals are linked to our operations. We want to encourage companies to take on an important role in related efforts,” she adds.
Compared to the previous UN Millennium Development Goals, the new goals have a wider, global scope. As sustainability problems are global, the solutions must also embrace a global perspective, which is why the new UN Goals highlight cooperation and human rights. “Making the world a better place for everyone requires the cooperation of countries, companies, non-governmental organisations and individuals as well. This is a puzzle that the whole world must solve together,” concludes Norjama.
Photos: Janne Lehtinen, UPM
Text: Vesa Puoskari