On March 5th we staged a festive event to celebrate the recent opening of the UPM Lappeenranta biorefinery. The event was graced by the presence of the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and First Lady Jenni Haukio, and the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.
The true significance of the event for me was further heightened by the fact that once again Finnish industrial history was made on the shore of Lake Saimaa.
Finnish wood has been the renewable raw material used at the Kaukas factory already in 1892 when the UPM Kaukas plant saw the start of industrial-scale production of sewing spools.
Five years later began the manufacture of sulfite pulp using the birchwood residues from the lathing process. Already then the guiding thread was resource efficiency – maximising the utilisation of the raw material.
Resource efficiency is a core element of UPM’s Biofore strategy and it guides our operations everywhere. We aim to find innovative ways to utilise every fibre of the renewable wood biomass in a sustainable manner.
It has been extremely rewarding to have been a part of this development: Today the new biorefinery produces renewable, low-emission diesel from crude tall oil, a residue of the pulp making process.
The unique UPM BioVerno diesel has won international awards already before its industrial scale production started. UPM not only wants to be the frontrunner in its field – it really is the frontrunner!
I’m also delighted that in addition to promoting sustainability our innovation also promotes the economy and well-being of the local community. The new biorefinery employs directly 50 people and up to 150 people indirectly.
I feel priviledged to be part of the developments currently taking place in our industry. I am convinced that our Biofore strategy will help us write many new chapters to this success story of innovations.