A match made in forest

Niko Kilkki

From forest to consumer. Softness, cleanliness, strength, absorbency, ecology, sustainability. All key properties of tissue and all decided along the value chain from forest to paper mill. But how to ensure you get just the right qualities for your product? UPM has solved this dilemma by offering a complete package including responsibly sourced raw materials, operations at state-of-the-art mills based on sustainable practices, a diverse product range and advanced technical customer service. “



 The past four years have been a gradual shift from almost exclusively supplying our own mills to becoming a major actor in the markets. At the same time, we have been able to bring out all the things we have learned throughout our history in the forest industry,” Tomas Wiklund, Vice President, Sales and Marketing of UPM’s Pulp business says.

UPM uses northern softwood and birch as well as eucalyptus to manufacture pulp with three mills in Finland and one in Uruguay.

UPM’s annual production capacity is 3.4 million tonnes.



UPM has been strongly developing its sales and technical organizations in Europe and China to provide local support. Now that the “honeymoon” period is over, UPM is delivering what it has promised.

Tomas Wiklund says that building trust is a long journey.

“We are committed to grow and serve the markets. Period. UPM’s own needs won’t be prioritised over our market pulp customers.” Trust is earned in several stages. It starts with a reliable supply of consistently high quality fibres and continues with timely deliveries as well as advanced service. Paolo Sergi, UPM’s Pulp Sales Manager, says that especially tissue producers appreciate close cooperation.

“Tissue is one of the few markets still growing rapidly. Our customers want support and we are happy to provide it. They desire a partner, not just a pulp supplier.”

“In addition to reliability and ability to deliver, I think one of the key factors of trust is our responsibility across all operations. UPM is called the Biofore Company for a reason,” Tomas Wiklund says, referring to their company-wide concept and way of doing things. Introduced in 2009, the Biofore strategy integrates the bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future.



“Our customers put more and more emphasis on ethical and environmental responsibility. They want to uphold good reputation and do business only with companies with good environmental track records,” Paolo Sergi explains.

UPM has created a transparent measurement indicator that they call the Sustainability Scorecard. It ranks four areas: wood raw material, mill operations, stakeholder engagement and third party verified proof of performance on a scale ranging from poor to outstanding. With the Scorecard, UPM has made it easy for customers to demand – and get – the confirmation of sustainability.

“It has given our customers the tool to promote their own responsibility downstream to retailers, NGOs and, eventually, to consumers. Pulp has become much more than a commodity,” Sergi says.

More importantly, UPM has understood that sustainability must be reality – not mere words. The areas rated on the Scorecard are realised in their everyday way of working. This includes legal and certified wood sourcing maintaining biodiversity, world class mills operated by skilled and motivated employees, as well as a high level of work safety and environmental efficiency. UPM’s wood sourcing operations and pulp mills are also big employers and responsible members of their local communities.

And UPM’s approach really works. As testimony, they have been selected two years in a row to be listed in the Dow Jones European and World Sustainability Indices. UPM has been assessed as the industry leader in environmental sustainability within the Paper and Forest Products sector with top scores.

“When you think about it, tissue producers and their final consumers are in a unique position. They are the ones who can make the most out of UPM’s comprehensive sustainability offer. This is because tissue contains a large amount of pure fibre and few additives. Tissue has a short value chain from producer to consumer, which brings the benefits directly to the consumers,” Wiklund says.



With modern nurseries producing quality seedlings – one in Finland and two in Uruguay – UPM plants millions of trees every year. Building a steady, sustainable source of wood takes a lot of planning, expertise, effort and care.In Finland UPM has its own wood procurement and forest service organisation that sources pulp wood mainly from domestic private forests and company-owned forests. All of UPM’s own forests are certified to PEFC and some also to FSC standards.

UPM’s plantation forestry company in Uruguay, UPM Forestal Oriental, owns 230,000 hectares of land, of which about 60% is planted with eucalyptus. The rest of the land is used for cattle grazing and forestry-related infrastructure or is protected. All of UPM’s plantations are FSC and PEFC-certified.

UPM has over 20 years’ experience in eucalyptus plantations development in Uruguay. Over the years, the company has developed highly-productive, locally-adapted eucalyptus varieties through its tree improvement program, and these varieties are propagated within their own nurseries.

About two thirds of the wood raw material used in UPM’s Fray Bentos pulp mill is harvested from the company plantations. The rest is purchased from independent suppliers who have been working in close cooperation with UPM Forestal Oriental for several years. UPM also has a program to encourage local landowners to diversify their land use with sustainable plantation forestry.



Since pulp has a big effect on the final product, the more choice the better. UPM produces six pulp grades especially designed for tissue, board and speciality paper end-uses.

To further broaden the range of pulp grades, UPM Pulp entered into a sales cooperation with Canada-based Canfor Pulp. From 2014, UPM Pulp’s sales network represents and co-markets Canfor Pulp in Europe and China while Canfor Pulp’s sales network does the same for UPM’s pulps in North America and Japan.

“It was a wise strategic business move considering the current market situation, but I genuinely think that our clients around the world will benefit the most from the cooperation,” Wiklund says.

Initially the new arrangement will include one million tonnes of pulp sales. The collaboration on such a scale between two pulp manufacturers - without any ownership ties - is quite unique.

“UPM Pulp and Canfor Pulp share the same environmental values and our portfolios are highly complementary. We can provide our customers even more variety and new opportunities for production optimization,” Wiklund concludes.


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Tuovi Similä

Sustainable forestry is one of UPM’s key environmental responsibility areas, alongside water, climate, waste and sustainable products. For many years, biodiversity has been UPM’s main environmental driver when developing sustainable forest management practices. This means promoting biodiversity is part of the everyday forestry and wood sourcing operations as defined in the company’s unique Global Biodiversity Programme. Biodiversity means the variety of life around us – it includes diversity within species, between species and among ecosystems. People and businesses are dependent on natural resources and safeguarding biodiversity gives us future options for as yet unknown, unutilized resources.

Preserving biodiversity is also important in maintaining the health and strength of wildlife populations and it will help adaptation to the potential impacts of climate change.

The content and implementation of UPM’s Global Biodiversity Programme has been developed in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN has evaluated the content and implementation of the program and made recommendations for further development. The collaboration continues with the goal of developing forestry by integrating biodiversity into UPM’s business and customer collaboration activities.


Biodiversity program in practice: Conserving the Yatay Palm in Uruguay

UPM’s conservation program for the palm trees growing on UPM Forestal Oriental’s lands is a prime example of how the Group’s international biodiversity program can be applied locally.

Butia yatay, a palm tree species native to Uruguay, was protected by law in 1939 as its habitat was endangered by intensive grazing. Aside from Uruguay, the tree grows in northeast Argentina and southern Brazil. The largest concentrations of Yatay Palm can be found in savannas scattered along the Uruguay River, in the provinces of Entre Rios (Argentina) and Paysandú and Rio Negro (Uruguay).

UPM Forestal Oriental manages a number of forest units in the natural distribution area of the Yatay Palm. For these areas, the company has developed a special conservation program with ecological audits and the development of a Yatay Palm database using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). At the same time, the program provides new plantation design guidelines for protection of adult palm trees and connection of palm patches through biological corridors. Another objective of the program is to promote local involvement in its implementation.


Fruits benefit people and animals

The Uruguay palm scheme generates a range of biodiversity benefits. It protects the native tree species and habitat by connecting isolated patches of palms. At the same time, the palm forest units serve as a source of food for mammals, birds and insects that eat the fruits of the tree.

Also, the program adds diversity to forest plantations by introducing structural variation.

Protecting the palms gives local people the opportunity to continue using the fruits and exploiting them commercially.

Learn more about the key elements and targets of the UPM’s Global Biodiversity Programme at www.upm.com > Responsibility > Forests > Biodiversity

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