Designing products sustainably

Our overarching ambition is to ensure that our products create value for our stakeholders during their lifecycle and beyond. To offer a truly sustainable alternative accompanied by validated data, we consider all sustainability parameters from the very earliest stages of product development.


Our Sustainable Product Design concept

Our Sustainable Product Design concept supports and steers our product development projects, promoting a sustainable product lifecycle approach and ensuring that every new product and service we design has a proven sustainability value proposition. Our concept also guarantees that we support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We focus on identifying the customer’s or consumer’s problem and solving it. To find the optimal solution to every sustainability challenge of products lifecycle – both environmental and social – the collaboration with the customer is to be initiated early in the design phase.

Our concept is based on the British Design Council’s ‘double diamond’ framework. It is a result of a deep dive into different design thinking approaches. To us this framework provides a lens to look holistically at the whole product lifecycle. 



In this stage, our focus is directed outwards, for example on trends, markets, and regulatory development. All the above are taken into account as inputs helping us understand customer needs and eventually enabling us to develop sustainable solutions that bring value to stakeholders and society.


This stage focuses on analysing and combining the information we have collected – it is a form of synthesis. The outcome of the ‘Define’ step is a preliminary sustainable value proposition through which we define a target for upcoming product development work.


This stage focuses on development of ideas for possible solutions as well as on prototyping and mock-up test solutions. This is also the stage where we analyse data to support the defined sustainability value proposition and steer the next steps of the process. 


This is the stage where we produce, scale up and test the final solution. At the end of the process, we deliver a proven solution complete with a validated sustainability value proposition and credentials to the customer.

A close relationship with the customer is essential throughout the whole process. By listening to our customers’ motivations, goals and drivers, we help them transform sustainability ambitions into concrete solutions and products that respond to global trends and consumer behaviours.


Six steps of sustainable product lifecycle

The main drivers for designing sustainable products and services are regulation, trends and markets, but also impacts on people – specifically from a usability and wellbeing point of view. We listen to our customers’ goals and drivers, closely follow markets, trends and regulatory development, and combine these insights with our know-how about sustainable raw materials and production technologies. Based on what we learn from each other, we formulate common sustainability goals and a vision towards a future beyond fossils.

Our approach is divided into six lifecycle steps. We strive to exclusively utilise safe and responsibly sourced raw materials, improve production efficiency, optimise distribution, as well as support sustainable consumption, recyclability and circularity. We have several tools to help us evaluate sustainability factors of each lifecycle steps throughout the design process. 

Each step comprises a variety of elements that guide our product development process. Our products have diverse applications, and our customers are engaged in different parts of the value chain. This means the relevance of different lifecycle steps and their specific elements may vary from business to business.


Our commitments by 2030

Development of new products and services with contribution to the UN SDGs

UPM raw material spend covered by UPM Supplier and Third-Party Code
fibre certified
reduction of CO2 emissions from materials and logistics (from 2018 level)
reduction of fossil CO2 emissions from own combustion and purchased electricity (from 2015 level)
fatalities or serious accidents
total recordable injury frequency (TRIF) including contractors
process waste sent to landfills
applicable products eligible for ecolabelling

Our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals


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