Resource efficiency is at the core of our Biofore strategy. We use renewable forest biomass responsibly and efficiently. A circular economy creates new business opportunities for us, as it links together environmental targets and economic goals.
Our Biofore strategy is based on the sustainable use of renewable and recyclable raw materials. We consume raw materials, water and energy responsibly, and we strive to optimise our energy, production and cost efficiency. We aim to use our precious raw materials as efficiently as possible in our producion processes and minimize the waste. Whenever side streams are generated, we aim to utilise them in various end use applications.
Our environmental 2030 targets promote resource efficiency
We aim to become a Zero Solid Waste to Landfill company globally by 2030. This means that UPM will not deposit any process waste at landfill sites, and no process waste will be incinerated without energy recovery.
Ash originating from bioenergy production forms the most significant proportion of our solid waste, with 92% currently being recycled. Our mills generate energy from nearly all organic production residues, including bark and wood residues and fibre-containing solids from deinking and effluent treatment. Most of the fibrous residues that are not incinerated are composted or used in soil construction.
Wherever possible, we avoid landfilling. Over the past few years, we have significantly reduced the volume of solid waste we deposit at landfill sites thanks to increased reuse and higher efficiency in our production processes. We are constantly developing new reuse ideas. Today, 89% of our production waste is reused or recycled.
If there is no re-use option, we dispose of residual solid waste responsibly at landfills operated by our mills or by trusted external operators. The environmental impact of UPM landfill sites is monitored for compliance with permits and regulations issued by the local environmental authorities. We forward hazardous waste, such as oil or oil-contaminated equipment, to licensed hazardous waste treatment facilities in compliance with relevant statutory requirements.
We aim to increase our energy efficiency by 1 % annually. As an example, our pulp mills produce more energy than they use, and they provide CO2-neutral electricity to the Nordic and Uruguayan markets. Our recovery boilers produce energy by burning black liquor, a side stream from the chemical pulping process. The black liquor consists of cooking chemicals and dissolved wood materials that are left over after the cooking of wood chips. In the causticising phase following the recovery boiler, the cooking chemicals are recovered for reuse.
We are targeting to reduce our effluent load (COD) by 40% and our wastewater volume by 30% by 2030. The water circulation of our paper machines is controlled, meaning that the water is circulated multiple times during the process. Only a small portion of this water leaves the process as effluent. Our most water-intensive production plants are in areas where there is plenty of water available. In Finland, all fresh water we need is sourced from natural lakes and rivers. We also aim to use only recycled nutrients in our own effluent treatment plants by 2030.
In a nutshell, resource efficiency means:
- Using natural resources as efficiently and productively as possible – creating more with less
- Transitioning from non-renewable to renewable resources
- Incorporating environmental goals early in the product design phase
- Reducing the environmental footprint of our products
- Increasing the recyclability of products and raw materials