UPM has published a new Forest Action Programme, which will run until 2030. The global programme steers UPM’s global wood sourcing operations and covers its own forests in Finland and the United States as well as its plantations in Uruguay. The programme goes beyond current standard requirements and its measures have a positive impact on the fundamental aspects of sustainable forestry: climate, biodiversity, soil, water and societal contribution.
“Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are among the greatest challenges of our time,” said Jussi Pesonen, President and CEO of UPM. “For decades, we have been developing forest management based on the latest knowledge and best practices, and we have learned much along the way. Our Forest Action Programme spurs us further. We want to be a pioneer in sustainable forest management and support responsible management of our own forests but also support other forest owners in their sustainability goals. Through co-operation and concrete actions, we can make the 2020s a decade of sustainable growth,” said Pesonen.
UPM has been a frontrunner in the development of responsible forest management. The biodiversity programme, launched in 1998, was the first in the industry. UPM was also among the first to commit to the UN’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C climate target and climate-positive forest management and to increase biodiversity in the company’s forests in Finland. The new programme extends the net positive biodiversity target to the Uruguayan plantations, where biodiversity indicators have been developed to reflect local conditions and context. In plantations, the net positive target can be achieved through the protection of natural habitats, nature management and monitoring of the effectiveness of conservation measures.
The development of forest biodiversity is also directly linked to management remuneration: a positive impact on forest biodiversity in the company’s own forests in Finland is included in UPM’s long-term incentive plan.
The programme also includes new co-operation projects such as developing nesting territories for large birds of prey, including the endangered buzzard (Buteo buteo) and honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus) with the Finnish Osprey Foundation. The population of these species has been declining, and with the project we aim to promote the coexistence of forestry and breeding territories and support population recovery.
“These actions – the company claims – will also reduce emissions from forestry, maintain forests as carbon sinks and adapt forests to climate change. For example, we have measured the carbon balance of Uruguay’s plantations in co-operation with the Natural Resources Institute of Finland. In Finland, we have calculated the climate emissions from wood procurement operations to monitor the progress. We are developing forest management methods to adapt forests to climate change. We are also committed to ensuring that our forests grow more than they are used everywhere we operate. As for soil, water and societal contribution, we will implement a number of projects and develop impact monitoring from 2022 onwards. Each wood sourcing area aims to secure soil productivity and good quality of water systems, and to ensure that we are a responsible actor throughout the supply chain.”