We develop actively new solutions to speed up the circular transition and promote the sustainable use of renewable materials. But we cannot do it all on our own. We are always looking for partners to co-create circular innovations, develop customer-friendly digital solutions, and find new ways of utilising non-core patents and the industrial internet.
Collaboration and partnerships
Partnerships add value and flexibility
We are a shareholder in Finnish CLIC Innovation, a cluster focusing on bioeconomy and cleantech research. Its research programmes focus on bioeconomy, energy and circular economy research, thus supporting UPM’s internal R&D.
The Circular Economy Platform Project is one of the key projects in which we are involved as part of the CLIC Innovation cluster. Our common target is to build a ‘One Stop Service for CE Clusters and new businesses’ to improve side stream and waste utilization and develop a circular-based business economy.
We are among the founding members of the European Joint Undertaking on Bio-based Industries (BBI JU). This Public Private Partnership (PPP) aims to spur investment and create a competitive market for bio-based products and materials that are sourced locally.
UPM-Yara recycled fertilizer
Early 2019 UPM and Yara completed a joint nutrient recycling project. The Finnish Ministry of the Environment granted funding for this project under the Raki 2 nutrient recycling programme to investigate the possibility of developing a functional and cost-efficient recycled fertilizer for industrial-scale production.
UPM & Yara – A great example of industrial teamwork
In 2017-2018 UPM and the fertiliser and crop nutrition expert Yara Suomi Oy worked together on a nutrient recycling project co-funded by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment. Together the companies investigated the possibility of developing a functional and cost-efficient recycled fertiliser for industrial-scale production.
As part of the project, the sludge generated from pulp and paper manufacturing processes was dried and supplemented with mineral nutrients that are easy for plants to utilise. Finally, the product was pelletised to facilitate transport, storage and spreading. As a result, the companies developed an organomineral fertiliser with moderately good yield results.
As the production process turned out to be both technically and financially challenging, no profitable business could be generated from the project. The collaboration between our two companies is continuing, and we are applying the results of the fertiliser project to develop further end-uses for sludge.
The project was part of the Raki2, a nutrient recycling programme launched by the Finnish Government. The programme aims to promote the circular model, improve the ecological status of the Baltic Sea and to step up nutrient recycling.
Trash becomes treasure through nutrient recycling
Instead of polluting the Baltic Sea, nutrients can be put to work in biological effluent treatment. UPM is among the frontrunners switching to recycled nutrients in its wastewater processing.
Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG)
As a supporter of the Baltic Sea Action Group, UPM has pledged to use only recycled nutrients at our biological wastewater treatment plants by 2030. By recycling nutrients we contribute to preserving and improving the condition of both the Baltic Sea and other bodies of water.
Our target is to source recycled nutrients locally. This helps to reduce local eutrophication while also promoting the circular economy. To achieve our target, we collaborate with agricultural and industrial biogas plant operators and municipal wastewater treatment plants. So far, we have made good progress: in 2020, already 28 per cent of all nutrients used by UPM were recycled.
- UPM supports the Baltic Sea Action Group’s operations to prevent eutrophication
- More information about our Commitments can be found from BSAG commitment bank
Our mill sites are full of great circular economy stories which benefit the society at a larger scale
A new way of collaboration with our suppliers in UPM Supplier Challenge event
Responsible sourcing is high on UPM’s agenda. In 2018 we launched a new way of collaboration with our suppliers in our UPM Supplier Challenge event. UPM Communication Papers challenged 13 raw material suppliers from different sourcing categories to discuss circular economy. UPM sees circular-economy thinking as the business model of the future and work towards it guided by our responsibility targets. To successfully meet our ambitions, we want to encourage our partners to work with us.
The innovation event included open information sharing and discussion day during which participants were challenged to ideate ways to improve raw material efficiency, waste reduction and water treatment. The target was and is to find concrete actions and solutions to promote circular economy principles, how can we help each other to reach circular economy targets.
After the open innovation event suppliers were invited to come back to us with circular solutions, proposals and ideas. One-on-one discussions were organised between selected suppliers and UPM experts regarding future collaboration. Majority of the suppliers provided collaboration ideas and based on those we have several circular economy initiatives on-going.
Encouraged by the successful pilot we are planning further events between our key suppliers and different UPM business areas.