World's agenda for sustainable development

The UN Global Compact Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) address the global economic, social and environmental challenges we are facing by 2030. SDGs consist of 17 goals which are composed of 169 targets.

Businesses play a crucial role in achieving the goals. It is important that every company identifies a true link between the impacts of their operations, products and solutions and the SDGs. More importantly companies need to set ambitious targets that contribute to the goals positively, either directly or indirectly.


Our commitment to the SDGs


Our commitment

We at UPM are committed to support the SDGs and have identified the goals and respective targets where we can have the biggest positive impact through our operations, products and solutions, or where we aim to minimise our negative impact. We put strong emphasis on strategic connections between our current operations and the SDG targets, and understand the business risks if the issues addressed by the SDGs are left unsolved. Sustainable and safe products play also a key role in our approach.

The GRI & UN Global Compact guideline helped us in our SDG evaluation.

Read more about our evaluation process.

Our focus goals


Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

We aim to use water responsibly and to minimise the impact of our operations on water resources.

One priority for us is SDG 6, Clean water and sanitation. Find out more about this focus goal and our efforts towards reaching it in this video.


Our focus target

UN SDG Target 6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.

Measuring our contribution:

  • We aim to reduce our effluent load (COD) by 40% by 2030. In 2023, the reduction achieved since 2008 was 39% for the UPM average product.
  • We aim to reduce wastewater volume by 30% by 2030. In 2023, the reduction achieved since 2008 was 7% for the UPM average product.
  • We aim to use only recycled nutrients in our effluent treatment by 2030. In 2023, 33% of our nutrients come from recycled sources.

Our other contributions to Goal 6

UN SDG Target 6.1 (Safe drinking water) and UN SDG target 6.2 (Access to sanitation):

We are globally compliant with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s WASH Pledge for Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in all premises under our direct control.


Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

We aim to increase efficient use and share of renewable and low emission energy.

SDG 7, Affordable and clean energy, is an important priority for us. Find out more about this focus goal and our efforts towards reaching it in this video.


Our focus targets

UN SDG Target 7.2 By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Measuring our contribution:

  • We aim to have a continuous share of 70% of renewable fuel. In 2023, the share of renewable fuels was 76%.
  • UPM Biorefining produces biofuel and UPM Energy aims to generate more of CO2 free electricity. In 2023, 99% of UPM Energy's production was free of CO2 emissions.

Read more about our low carbon energy sources.


UN SDG Target 7.3 By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

Measuring our contribution:

  • We aim to improve our energy efficiency by 1% annually. In 2023, the energy efficiency target was not achieved.

Read more about our energy efficiency.


Towards efficient and sustainable energy use


Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

We aim to increase growth with focus on bioeconomy, and improve safe and rewarding working environment for employees.

SDG 8, Decent work and economic growth, is one important focus goal for us. Find out more about this goal and our efforts towards reaching it in this video.


Our focus targets

UN SDG Target 8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors.

Measuring our contribution:

  • We aim to have comparable EBIT growth through focused top-line growth and margin expansion. In 2023, our comparable EBIT decreased by 52% to EUR 1,013 million.
  • Our aim is to have comparable ROE 10%. In 2023, it was 6.2%.
  • Our net debt/EBITDA was 1.55 times in 2023. Our aim is to have it around 2 times or less.


UN SDG Target 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.

Measuring our contribution:

  • We want people to feel that UPM values and promotes diversity, and that people are treated fairly in their work environment and can advance regardless of personal background or characteristics. We aim to have UPM among the top 10% of companies on employees’ sense of belonging by 2030 and target for continuous improvement in the female representation in professional and managerial roles, 40% by 2030. Currently the sense of belonging of UPMers is 12 points below the benchmark of top 10% companies. In 2022, UPM had 32.3% female representation in professional and managerial roles.
  • We want employees to perceive good opportunities for learning and development at UPM and secure future employability.  Currently, responses to Employee Engagement Survey’s question regarding learning and development were 64% favourable. We aim to have 100% completion rate of goal setting discussions, and development plans created for all employees by 2030. In 2023, 85% of employees had completed individual goal setting or annual discussion, and 81% had a development plan documented.
  • We want to ensure fair, equitable and competitive rewarding for all employees. UPM is committed to safeguard that employees’ pay meets at least local living wage by implementing a yearly review and ensure gender pay equity for all employees by implementing a yearly review process to identify and close unexplained pay gaps.
  • Our aim is to have employee engagement clearly above benchmark by 2030. Currently,  our employee engagement average score is 70. This is 5 points below the global average benchmark.

Read more about our commitment to fair rewarding, enabling performance and engaging people.


UN SDG Target 8.8 Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

Measuring our contribution:

  • Our aim is no fatalities or serious accidents in UPM operations. We had zero fatal accidents and five serious accidents in 2023.
  • We aim to have total recordable injury frequency (TRIF) <2 which was 6.1 for UPM workforce and 5.2 including contractors in 2023.
  • Currently our absenteeism rate is 4.3% which we aim to have <2% in all organisations by 2030. 
  • We aim to have process safety development programme implemented at all UPM sites and businesses by 2030. In 2023, trainings for the new UPM process safety standard were carried out and gap analysis at the mills were conducted.
  • Our target is to be among top 10% companies on employees’ sense of worklife balance by 2030. In 2023, the average score in the Employee Engagement Survey for these topics was 72. That is below the top 10% benchmark companies by 7 points.

Read more about safety and well-being in our organizational culture and how we are respecting and protecting human rights across our businesses.


Our other contributions to Goal 8 

UN SDG Target 8.7 (No child labour and forced labour):

We have zero tolerance to child and forced labour in our operations as well as in the supply chain.

Read more about our commitment to respecting and promoting human rights.


Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

With focus on circular economy, we are developing renewable and recyclable materials from wood-based biomass, and we aim to continuously improve resource-efficiency in our production.

SDG 12, Responsible consumption and production, is one of our focus goals. Find out more about this goal and our efforts towards reaching it in this video.


Our focus targets

UN SDG Target 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.

Measuring our contribution:

  • We aim to develop new products and services with contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. By our new Sustainable Product design concept we support and steer our product development projects, promoting a sustainable product lifecycle approach and ensuring that every new product has a proven sustainability value proposition and it supports the UN SDGs.  
  • All production sites have a certified ISO 14001 environmental management system, except the new pulp mill in Uruguay which started production in 2023 and two Raflatac sites in Germany which were acquired at the end of 2022. Certification is expected during 2024.

Read more about our Sustainable Product Design concept.


UN SDG Target 12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

Measuring our contribution:

  • We aim to reduce our acidifying flue gases (NOX/SO2) 20% by 2030 from the 2015 levels. In 2023, we had achieved a 17% reduction from the 2015 levels for the UPM average product.

Read more about how we are managing our impacts on the environment.


UN SDG Target 12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

Measuring our contribution:

    • In 2023, 87% of UPM's total process waste was recovered or recycled. The total amount of waste to landfills increased by 50% compared to 2022. We aim to have no process waste sent to landfills or to incineration without energy recovery by 2030.

Read more about our resource efficiency.


Our other contributions to Goal 12

  • UN SDG target 12.8 (Provide relevant information and awareness related to sustainability):
    • Currently, we have Environmental Product Declarations for most of our products, and we aim to have for all applicable products eligible for ecolabelling by 2030. In 2023, share of products eligible for ecolabelling was 89%.

Read more about our Environmental Product Declarations.


Goal 13: Climate action

Moving from fossils to bioeconomy – Forests, wood-based products and low-carbon electricity all play a role in climate change mitigation.

SDG 13, Climate action, is one of the most important focus goals for us. Find out more about this goal and our efforts towards reaching it in this video.


Our focus target

UN SDG Target 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

  • We aim to reduce fossil CO2 emissions from our own combustion (scope 1) and purchased electricity (scope 2) by 65% by 2030 from the 2015 levels. In 2023, we reduced fossil CO2 emissions by 45% compared to 2015 and 17% compared to 2022.
  • By 2030, we aim to reduce CO2 emissions from materials and logistics (scope 3) by 30% from the 2018 levels. In 2023, we reduced our scope 3 by 23% from 2018 levels.
  • We aim to a climate-positive product portfolio (continuous). In 2023, we participated in GHG protocol pilot project for land-use guidance.
  • In 2021, we launched a new target of no coal and peat usage in on-site energy generation by 2030. In 2023, the use of coal and peat usage decreased by 13% compared to 2022.
  • Additionally, we have analysed impacts of climate change to UPM that helps us in our risk evaluation. 

Read more about our climate actions.


Goal 15: Life on land

Our aim is to ensure sustainable land use and keep forests full of life.

SDG 15, Life on land, is one of the most important focus goals for us. Find out more about this goal and our efforts towards reaching it in this video.


Our focus targets

UN SDG Target 15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

Measuring our contribution

  • Currently, 87% of all wood used by UPM is sourced from certified forests, and we aim to have all fibre certified by 2030.

  • We have 100% coverage of chain of custody.

Read more about our responsible wood sourcing and climate positive forestry.


UN SDG Target 15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.

Measuring our contribution

  • We aim to continuous positive impact on biodiversity, implement biodiversity programme and develop a monitoring system in our own forests in Finland. In 2023, we measured overall positive development in both Finland and Uruguay. Read more about our biodiversity indicators.
  • We aim to have 500 km of obstacle free streams in Finland by 2030. In 2023, we reached 186 km.

Read more about our commitment to safeguarding biodiversity.


Biofore in action

These Biofore case stories demonstrate how global challenges become opportunities by innovating renewable and responsible solutions that create value to our stakeholders.


Want to learn more about SDGs?

All of the Sustainable Development Goals are relevant to our business, not only the ones defined. The remaining 11 concern us either indirectly or to a smaller extent. However, if we want to achieve the set goals, everyone's participation is needed. This includes governments, civil society, general public and the private sector. Find out how you can contribute to the SDGs and learn more about the 17 goals!


Global Compact helps companies thrive responsibly


Three years of Biofore Site: UPM Raflatac aims higher in sustainable manufacturing