Ambitiously towards a future beyond fossils

Our aspiration is high when we look at the opportunities to respond to the global climate challenge. We are among the first global forest industry companies who are committed to the UN’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C to take tangible actions to mitigate climate change. As part of this commitment we have set a 2030 responsibility target to decrease our own emissions by 65% and this target is approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi).

We are also the only forest industry company who has joined
The Climate Pledge by Amazon and the Global Optimism, 
a cross-sector community of world-class companies working together 
to crack the climate crisis and to decarbonise our economy. 

While mitigating climate change, we create long term value for UPM.

 
 

Our commitments by 2030

1.5°C
Limiting global temperature rise
-65%
Reduction of CO2 emissions
-30%
Reduction of CO2 emissions of our supply chain
+
Climate-positive land-use and product portfolio
 

About managing the climate issues

Our Biofore strategy guides us in achieving our responsibility targets for 2030 and in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the UN 2030 Sustainability Agenda.  The Group Executive Team, headed by the President and CEO, is in charge of the management of corporate responsibility, determining courses of action and guiding development work. In practice, corporate responsibility efforts take place in businesses and functions. The management of climate change related issues was further strengthened in 2019 with specific topics, such as UPM's resilience in different climate scenarios, reported directly to the executive management.

Since the beginning of 2022, responsibility-related measures have been included in UPM's management remuneration. The distinct responsibility measures comprise the reduction of fossil CO2 emissions from our on-site combustion and purchased energy, the achievement of a net positive impact on biodiversity in the UPM’s own forests in Finland and the achievement of gender pay equity globally.  

Regarding climate change, UPM has been committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) since 2017. In November 2020 we received the validation for our 2030 responsibility target to decrease our CO2 emissions by 65%. This proves that our target is aligned with the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

 

Consistent work towards net-zero emissions

We work consistently towards net-zero emissions in line with our UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the Climate Pledge commitments. As part of this work we are constantly developing the methodology to calculate our climate impacts where our own forests and plantations, our operations and our products play a role. Also the currently evolving Land Sector and Removals Guidance by the GHG Protocol steers our work, and we have been actively involved by piloting the Guidance. As a result of this pilot, we already discovered valuable insights about the challenging role of biogenic carbon removals and emissions in the carbon accounting. All these activities will contribute to our work towards our net-zero emission approach.

Our carbon accounting in 2022

 

We act through forests

Forests and forest biodiversity are critical for mitigating the effects of climate change. We ensure that our forests continue to act as carbon sinks, remain resilient and diverse in changing climate conditions, and grow well for future generations. In 2022, the annual carbon sink from own forests in Finland and in the US and own and leased plantations in Uruguay has averaged 2.3 (3.8 in 2021) million tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the past five years. The main reason for the decrease was the development of calculation methodologies both in Finland and in Uruguay. Our aim is to constantly improve our understanding of carbon. In 2022 we initiated a project with the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) to improve the soil carbon models for Uruguay with actual measurements on the ground. The project gathers detailed information on the local conditions and enhances the science-based approach of soil carbon modelling. We expect to have an improved model in use for our 2023 carbon calculations.

We act though emission reductions

On Group level we calculate and monitor the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our businesses – either directly or indirectly. To calculate these emissions we apply the widely-known Principles of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol which categorises emissions into three Scopes based on where in the value chain they originate.

  • Scope 1 emissions are directly linked to our own activities: Energy generation at our sites and facilities by burning fossil fuels, such as natural gas.
  • Scope 2 emissions relate to electricity and heat that we buy from energy providers. The emissions are related to our energy usage, but generated elsewhere, eg. at power plants of our energy providers.
  • Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions caused by our business but generated elsewhere. For example, the emissions related to producing rawmaterials for our production. The accuracy of Scope 3 emission data varies. Also, the level we can influence on them varies, and therefore the ways to manage the data varies case by case. However, our aim is to manage the most relevant Scope 3 data in a reliable and transparent way and have established a -30by30 programme to ensure that we will reach our -30% Scope 3 emission reduction target related to materials and logistics by 2030. Read more about this programme here: Emissions | UPM.COM

We act through products

Our wood-based products and our CO2 free energy can replace fossil-based alternatives. At the same time wood-based products store carbon during their lifecycle.

We calculate the temporary carbon storage and the substitution effects of our wood-based products based on a scientific report “Fossil carbon emission substitution and carbon storage effects of wood-based products” published in early 2022 by The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the German Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg (IFEU).

In addition, we report the substitution effects originated from replacing fossil-based energy. These are calculated based on our sales of CO2 free energy in Finland and its Guarantees of Origin.

 

Evaluating the impacts of climate change

We have evaluated the impacts of climate change in many ways. For example, we conducted a study with the Finnish meteorological Institute (FMI) about the physical impacts of climate change in different scenarios. Internal analysis was used to evaluate impacts of transition scenarios and TCFD recommendations were used to report findings (disclosure in Annual Report 2022, pages 140-141). 

At the end of 2020, we started a study on climate-related substitution and the carbon storage effects of our products with two research insitutes, the German IFEU and the Finnish Environment institute (SYKE). The study was published in April 2022. Read more on our press release.

 
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