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UPM sets renewed biodiversity commitment for its forests


December 3, 2018
By P&PC Staff

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December 3, 2018 – UPM, the renewable resource solutions company, has published a new biodiversity commitment for its forests as one of its responsibility targets for 2030.

The aim of the commitment is to continue to improve the diversity of UPM’s own forests in Finland. The company owns 570,000 hectares of forest, and managing these forests sustainably is essential to ensure the supply of wood.

UPM’s own forests are strategically significant for wood supply, forest research, development of industry’s best practices and training of employees. Improving biodiversity is part of the company’s sustainable forest management. This protects water resources, promotes multiple use of forests and ensures the growth of forests that act as carbon sinks to mitigate climate change.

“Preserving biodiversity has been the key focus area in developing modern forestry,” says Timo Lehesvirta, sustainable forestry lead for forest global, UPM. “Now is the right time to announce this target, which upgrades our approach to very practical collaboration and develops monitoring and verification methods. With this target and our actions, we want to open up new opportunities for different land uses that are guaranteed not to endanger natural resources or habitats. This is the only safe and sustainable way of moving from a fossil-based economy to bioeconomy.”

UPM has carried out its biodiversity protection programme in company forests for over 20 years. The programme is based on an analysis of the essential differences between natural forests and commercial forests. Thanks to the programme, the ratios of tree species have diversified and the amount of deadwood, which is valuable to many forest species, is increasing. Some species are specialized to grow in conditions that differ from the surrounding forest environment.

There are 38,000 protected habitats in UPM forests. Additionally, the programme develops new forest regeneration methods and collaborates with stakeholders in order to, for example, restore mires and small waterways.

The implementation of the biodiversity target and related actions are monitored by an independent group of researchers in the field. The researchers focus on the suitability of the actions taken and the use and development of measurement methods.

“Stopping the deterioration of natural diversity and turning the direction is one of the most important targets of our lifetime,” says Liisa Rohweder, the secretary general of WWF Finland. “To achieve this target, we need everyone’s efforts. UPM’s commitment is a bold and necessary step. It is important that the indicators used by UPM are strongly aligned with the UN’s Aichi-biodiversity targets. We will closely monitor the implementation of UPM’s biodiversity program.”