A really “green” company: UPM. A model for other companies!

The visit to UPM, in questions and answers!

We would like to express our gratitude and thanks to Cristina Ioana Stăicuţ, General Manager UPM Romania, Cristina Maria Torică şi Ramona Bica – specialists in Customer Service, Daniel Siegel, Senior Manager Technical Sales for Central Europe, UPM-Kymmene Austria GmbH and Peter Resch, Technical Sales Manager, UPM AG Zürich, Switzerland, for giving us such attention and time, for the precious information and valuable discussions, for the friendship and professionalism!

1.         Why UPM has, as logo, the Griffin sign?

a.         The Griffin sign is a historical logo. The Finnish designer, Hugo Simberg designed it in 1899. For more details, check the history of company logo: http://www.upm.com/EN/ABOUT-UPM/Our-Company/History/Pages/default.aspx

2.         As UPM site shows our entire preoccupation, in all activities and actions, of nature, environment, personnel & economy, how are the employees guided to act in order to achieve all these?

a.         UPM’s corporate responsibility principles include the environmental, financial and social aspects. How the company behaves in these areas is also related to how employees behave, for instance, regarding honesty and transparency in business operations. One of our corporate values is “trust and be trusted”.

b.         In addition, there is a Code of Conduct which all employees must follow. The UPM Code of Conduct sets out the standards of responsible behaviour for each individual employee.

c.         Check more about the Code of Conduct in: http://www.upm.com/EN/ABOUT-UPM/Our-Company/Code-of-Conduct/Pages/default.aspx

d.         Almost all of UPM’s production sites, as well as wood-sourcing and forestry operations, have a verified environmental management (ISO 14001) system in place. Also the forest certification and chain of custody systems require extensive and continuous training and knowledge sharing of best practices within the UPM mills.

e.         More about the principles in here: http://www.upm.com/EN/RESPONSIBILITY/Principles-and-Performance/Pages/default.aspx  

3.         Are individual employees initiative encouraged in this respect and how?

a.         Individual responsibility is expected from each employee since all employees are aware of UPM’s values and Code of Conduct and what it entails. Initiatives regarding corporate responsibility (environment, social and financial) are encouraged in daily work. There is also an internal tool called “idea factory” where employees can communicate their ideas regarding UPM’s processes and other areas of opportunity.

b.         A good case example of an employee initiative are the water bottles – ref. the blog: http://www.upm.com/EN/MEDIA/upm-blog/Pages/UPM-removes-plastic-water-bottles-from-head-office.aspx

4.         How is this transmitted to the customers in order for the customers to appreciate UPM efforts and to act in similar manner?

a.         The customers are aware of UPM’s values and that is why we consider ourselves a reliable company.

b.         For us at UPM responsible business conduct means focusing not only on our own operations but on the whole publication value chain and finding sustainable business solutions in active dialogue with our customers, suppliers and partners. The customers and end-users of paper products are today very interested in environmental issues. At UPM we have developed a range of environmental services to ensure that our customers have all the information and understanding they need in order to support their environmental ambitions. Please visit http://www.upmpaper.com/en/services/environmental-services/Pages/default.aspx

c.         Also, certified quality and environmental management systems, environmental reporting, Paper Profile declarations, eco-labels, and certified chain of custody systems for responsible fibre sourcing are among the tools that UPM is using to promote sustainable business practices and products.

5.         Apart of UPM Certifications are there any other means of promoting both the quality of the products and all environment actions to the customers (media campaigns, events, labelling, etc.)?

a.         The quality of our product should speak for itself, but of course marketing communications are aimed at explaining the virtues of our products.

b.         Labelling is a good way of communicating sustainability; however, it is not the only one. There are other ways that our customers can get familiar with UPM’s sustainability; trainings, environmental consultancy, customer service, guidance.

c.         Transparent and timely reporting is and important way of communicating. UPM follows the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) framework in responsibility reporting. 

d.         Joint projects with partners, suppliers and other stakeholders are also important. A good example is the Oder River case (please see the blog: http://www.upm.com/EN/MEDIA/upm-blog/Pages/sustainability-journey-in-poland.aspx

6.         Has UPM always had this eco-responsibility behaviour?

a.         UPM, the Biofore Company is proud of its evolution. The company is the result of a long evolution in paper production. For example, the Docelles paper mill exists since the XV century. The way paper is produced now is definitely different, as is the approach to the environment. Nowadays, UPM permanently seeks to improve paper making either through new innovations (bio-fibrils is one example) or through process improvement.

b.         The forest-based industries occupy a significant role in promoting sustainable development. Commitment to continuous improvement in economic, environmental and social performance is an essential part of the business strategy. 

c.         Since 2003, UPM has been a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact initiative, a global network of businesses and other stakeholders from around the world committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. The core values of the Global Compact are presented as ten principles, which cover human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption.

7.         Were there any accidents during production processes (and not only) that could have harmed the environment, nature and / or persons?

a.         Occupational Health and Safety is a top priority. At the moment UPM is running a corporate-wide initiative “Step change in safety 2012-2014”. In 2011 there were no fatal work-related accidents at UPM (see also Annual Report 2011, page 61).

b.         UPM’s target is to reduce the environmental footprint of its operations and products throughout the lifecycle; from raw material sourcing, production, delivery and product use, to the recycling and reuse of the products. Environmental performance is continuously monitored. Any deviation from permit conditions is immediately reported to the relevant authorities, and corrective and preventive measures taken.

c.         Environmental performance is reported in here: http://www.upm.com/EN/RESPONSIBILITY/Principles-and-Performance/environmental-performance/Pages/default.aspx

8.         How can we visit UPM Production sites and / or forest area?

a.         The local UPM representative/office could organize a visit together with the UPM mills closest by and the forest department.

9.         Are there any summer trainee programs available for Romanian citizens in order to observe company’s activity (mainly pulp and paper) that affects the environment (in an eco-friendly company)?

a.         All summer jobs can be applied through http://www.upm.com/EN/CAREERS/Pages/default.aspx

10.        Which are main aspects and elements under consideration & that are fully respected in every production cycle?

a.         Biomass sourcing (pulp from certified forests) is a key sustainability aspect that must always be respected.

b.         Energy and material efficiency, modern technologies and responsible sourcing play a key role in reducing our impact on the environment. Environmental impact assessments are carried out at each site. An overview of the key environmental aspects, environmental impact and UPM’s measures can be seen in the table on the web: http://www.upm.com/EN/RESPONSIBILITY/Principles-and-Performance/environmental-performance/environmental-impact/Pages/default.aspx

11.        Would UPM allow us to write about company activity and implication in all environment aspects?

a.         Sure

Kiitos, UPM!

Photo sources:

http://www.uusisuomi.fi/kotimaa/110920-paperialan-lakko-alkaa-huomenna

http://www.uusisuomi.fi/raha/118610-valtiolle-1594-milj-%E2%82%ACn-tappio-kolmikko-sopi-hinnoista

Despre autor
Conferențiar Dr. la Facultatea de Geografie - Universitatea din Bucuresti
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