Responsibility has grown in importance in recent years. Consumers have been paying attention to environmental performance for a while now, but lately they have also become more interested in social responsibility and the ethical conduct of companies. This has rippled through the business world.
It started with the environment, but now social responsibility is on the rise. At UPM, this growing interest can be seen among employees as well as customers, investors and other stakeholders.
“Many of our customers have committed to social responsibility through principles like the Ethical Trading Initiative, and they need to make sure they are working with suppliers who live by similar values,” says Nina Norjama, Director of Social Responsibility.
Similarly, investors, rating agencies, and indices are asking more and more in-depth questions from UPM about its social responsibility.
“When we take good care of our employees, lead according to our values and with integrity, good results will follow,” Riitta Savonlahti, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, highlights.
A lot is expected from UPM, but it requires just as much from its suppliers and partners. The Supplier and Third-Party Code defines the minimum requirements, but UPM wants its partners to do better.
“Through our own audits or from sustainability assessments, we can find areas where our suppliers need to improve their performance and we can focus our efforts where there is most potential,” Norjama says.
Consumers, employees, and the whole business community have higher expectations. One thing they all want is transparency. It is not enough to do the right thing; you need to show it to the world.
Making its Human Resources Rules public is the latest way to increase transparency at UPM.
“Transparency is particularly important to investors, as they expect to find our goals, principles, and performance data readily available. They usually follow so many companies that they can’t just simply call and ask us,” Norjama points out.
The content of the Rules states clearly UPM’s commitments to working conditions, labour practices, and decent work as well as employees’ responsibilities. Special attention has been paid to diversity and inclusion.
“We don’t want to do only the minimum required of us; we want to be a good and attractive employer,” Savonlahti notes.The same applies to other aspects of social responsibility – the bar is set high, UPM keeps aiming higher.
Text: Anne Hänninen